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The objectives of this modules are to provide an understanding of the distribution, movement and quality of water on and below the surface of the earth.
This module focuses on the basic principles of hydrology, which is the study of the occurrence, distribution, movement and quality of water on and below the earth’s surface. Focusing on the river catchment, the different flow pathways are defined, to explain how rainfall is transferred from hillslopes to river channels. Each catchment has a unique response to rainfall, influenced by climatic factors and catchment characteristics (e.g. size, topography, land-use). These are explored, with each student carrying out basic hydrological analysis for a different catchment in Ireland using rainfall and river flow data that are available from Met Éireann and the Environmental Protection Agency. Leading on from this, floods and flood management are considered to examine the appropriateness of a range of management strategies in different contexts. The module also considers water below the surface (soil moisture and aquifers), the environmental consequences of groundwater pollution and over-extraction, and water supply in Ireland.