CE 394K.2                                Final Exam                               Spring 2001

Surface Water Hydrology


There are four questions on this exam.   They are of equal credit.  Do all four questions.  For each question, prepare a 2-page typed theme paper.  Staple all four papers together in the order of the questions, and turn in the result to the EWRE secretary in ECJ 8.612 by 5PM on Thursday, May 10.   This is a take-home exam.  You are honor bound not to discuss this exam with your colleagues in the class.  Your answers should be the result of your work and thought alone.  Be assured that if essentially the same idea appears in answers from more than one person, it is fairly easy to recognize that when the grading is being done.  If that happens, it is not clear from whom the idea originated and who is just using somebody else’s knowledge.  So, keep your ideas to yourself!


The term papers that you choose to describe in answering Questions 1 and 2 should be mutually exclusive, that is, if you focus on a particular term paper in answering one of the questions, don’t focus on the same paper when answering the other question.   The term project listing can be found at:




What I am looking for in grading your answers is:


·       Knowledge of the facts.  Make sure you lay out the facts of what has actually been done before you start offering opinions about what could have or should have been done.  This particularly applies to the discussion of term papers.  Make sure you discuss what was actually done in the term paper not just about the general subject itself.

·       Thoughtful evaluation.   How do you evaluate the advantages and limitations of the principles, methods and data that have been used?   How does the knowledge you’ve learned in this class relate to the world around us?   I am looking for a sense of reflection here, of seeing you set individual situations and facts in a larger context in an intelligent way.




1.     Summarize and Critique a Hydrologic Modeling Application


Choose a single term paper (not your own!) that you think is interesting and effective.  Summarize the content of the paper, describing the nature of the problem examined by the author, how the investigation was carried out, and what results were achieved.  Explain why this paper appeals to you. Why is the problem it addresses important?  What insights or new knowledge does this paper contribute? What makes the investigation described by this paper an effective implementation of hydrologic modeling?   What makes the presentation of the paper effective in terms of communication?  How could the paper have been improved?  What are the advantages and limitations of the methods used in the paper?



2.     Compare and Contrast Two Applications Dealing with the same Theme


Choose two term papers that deal with the same or similar themes or topics.  These papers should be different than the paper you chose to answer Question 1, and neither of them should be your own term paper.  Briefly summarize the contents of the papers (the problem examined, the method of analysis, the results achieved).   Compare and contrast the approaches to the problem that the two papers took.  Which technical approach do you think was more effective?  Why?  Which paper does a more effective job of communicating its results?  Why?  Suppose you were undertaking a study of this same subject.  Having studied these two papers, what have you learned about how to go about your investigation effectively?  What would you do differently from what the authors of these papers did?


3.     Assess the State of Hydrologic Modeling of Rainfall-Runoff Processes


In the first part of the semester, we discussed land surface – atmospheric interaction and movement of water from land to streams.   The hydrologic models used for the term projects dealt with these subjects in various ways.    Describe the problem that is to be solved and select one hydrologic model which solves this problem.   Explain how this model transforms rainfall to runoff and moves the water to the stream system.   Assess how effective you think this model is in performing this function.   If GIS data support is used to develop model parameters, comment on how useful you think that function is, and what might be done to improve it.


4.     Assess the State of Hydrologic Modeling of Streamflow Processes


In the second part of the semester, we discussed movement of water through streams and rivers, and erosion and sediment transport.   Write the St Venant equations for flow in streams, and the equation for shear stress at a cross-section.   Describe how the HEC-RAS model solves these equations for the discharge, water surface elevation and shear stress at each cross-section.   Compare this to the solution of the unsteady flow equations by the SWMM model.   What are the main differences between SWMM and HEC-RAS?   When would you use one model as compared to the other?  What issues of erosion and sediment transport are not addressed by these models?