University of Florida

AOM 4643
Principles & Issues in Environmental Hydrology

Semester Taught - Fall (on-line course)

Catalog Description

Credits: 3

This is a basic course in Environmental Hydrology intended for Agricultural and Natural Resource Managers. The first half of the course covers scientific principles of the hydrologic cycle while, the second half investigates case studies of current water quality and water management issues.


This course will use simple and intermediate algebraic equations and trigonometry to estimate water and energy flows in the hydrological cycle.   Sophomore level chemistry and physics as well as mathematics through Pre-Calculus are recommended.  Significant experience with Microsoft Excel or similar spreadsheets is required in this class for several homework assignments and for elements of the class project.  Students will be expected to use and develop spreadsheet pages to calculate hydrological flows, performance measures and simulated water demands for different water users in selected watersheds. Students are welcome to phone the instructor to get more details on the types of calculations and spreadsheets required.

Course Objectives

To introduce students to the basic principles and issues in hydrology, so that they may critically analyze current issues in environmental hydrology for their scientific, economic, political and social significance. This is an introductory course intended for upper-division agricultural and environmental science and management students, which will provide the appropriate background to take more advanced courses in hydrologic science.


Dr. Greg Kiker
Office Location: 291 Rogers
Phone: 392-1864 x291

Material/Supply Fees


Class Materials Required

There is no formal textbook for this course but all required readings will be posted on the online through Canvas.  Additional course notes, web links, text and diagrams are also provided on this site. Additional materials may be provided at the discretion of the instructor. 

General Description

This is an intermediate course in Environmental Hydrology intended for upper-division and graduate students in agriculture, environmental science and management.  
This course offers an introduction to river basin management and planning by providing a foundation of understanding of river basins as a system from biological, hydrological and geopolitical viewpoints.  Special emphasis will be focused basic hydrology as well on the planning and management of transboundary basins (interstate and among countries).  The class will have a special emphasis on ongoing management issues in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint basin, a local river basin in the southeast USA. The class is designed to introduce students to technical tools and concepts used to understand and manage river basins from a system wide context including negotiation and math simulation tools.  In addition, a basic hydrology section covers scientific principles of the hydrologic cycle including precipitation, evapotranspiration, infiltration, groundwater flow and surface runoff. 

Through the Course Management System (E-Learning/Canvas), students will be required to respond to questions on reading assignments posted by the instructor and to sometimes comment on the responses of other students.  In addition students are expected to participate in online discussions with both other students and with the instructor as are scheduled by the instructor.  Specified times for online, live or phone discussions with instructor which are mutually acceptable to both the students and the instructor can be provided with the mutual agreement of the instructor and the student.

Class Objectives

At the close of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Complete simple hydrological calculations concerning general water cycle including energy, storage, precipitation, evaporation, surface and sub-surface flows.
  2. Discuss basic legal principles relevant to transboundary river basin management,
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of fundamental concepts critical to transboundary river basin management from an ecological, economic and physical perspective by being able to:
  4. o Explain the underlying science behind processes and interactions commonly found in these disciplines, and
  5. o Demonstrate the modern usage of these fundamental concepts in the evaluation of alternative strategies for addressing specific problems related to transboundary water disputes.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of our (humans) capacity to manage and utilize river systems by being able to:
  7. o Explain how reservoir systems can be used to manage a watershed,
  8. o Explain the balance between human use and ecosystem protection, and
  9. o Demonstrate an understanding of how decisions are made in a socio-political context and the tools used to make such decisions. 

Course Outline

The course will follow this general schedule (dates are subject to some small changes as needed for course continuity)

  • Module 0:  Start Here: Introductions and Course Management System Basics (8/25-8/31)

SECTION: 1 Principles of Hydrology and Water Resources Management
Module 1: Introduction to the Hydrological Cycle and Water Budgets
Module 2: Solar Radiation as a fundamental input to the hydrological cycle
Module 3: Precipitation and Atmospheric Water- Expanded analysis of the hydrological cycle
Module 4: Evaporation and Transpiration- Expanded analysis of the hydrological cycle
Module 5: Infiltration and Runoff - Expanded analysis of the hydrological cycle (Note – this is a two week module)
Module 6: Subsurface and Groundwater - Expanded analysis of the hydrological cycle
Module 7: Challenges in Florida Hydrology

SECTION: 2 Issues in Hydrology and Water Resources Management
Module 8: Water Conflicts: real or imagined?  Transboundary water resources and uses
Module 9: Introduction to the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin
Module 10 The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin as a human-managed system
Module 11: Simple Water Resource Management Simulation Models and their use in the ACF River Basin
Module 12: Negotiation as understanding: Role Play and Water Allocation trade-offs in the ACF Basin   ACF Negotiation/Class Project


A term project will consist of a case study negotiation focusing on multi-disciplinary aspects of water use in the Apalachicola/Chattahoochee/Flint Basin.  Generally, the term project grade will be divided into three sections:  (1) Preparation for the negotiation through a strategy document and related spreadsheet calculations, (2) Actual performance in the negotiation period with other role players, and (3) Product of the negotiated settlement (or lack of one) along with an “after action review”/report.  This term project will have a spreadsheet tool developed for use in the negotiations. Students will use this spreadsheet to explore the ramifications of various flow and release scenarios to their associated constituencies.  Additional lectures and educational opportunities may be available for interested/qualifying students.   Each student will turn in individual written report (s) with referencing on each section.  


A C- will not be a qualifying grade for critical tracking courses.  In order to graduate, students must have an overall GPA and an upper-division GPA of 2.0 or better (C or better).  Note: a C- average is equivalent to a GPA of 1.67, and therefore, it does not satisfy this graduation requirement.  For more information on grades and grading policies, please visit:

Class participation through discussion and interactions is strongly encouraged
Additional academic work and class responsibilities may be assigned to those enrolled in the graduate version of this course (AOM6932)

  • Case studies with calculations are assigned for selected modules.  Students will have 6 days to complete the assignments.
  • On-line discussions (graded and ungraded) will be assigned in selected modules.
  • All module quizzes will be posted through the E-Learning/Canvas Course Management System.
  • Late assignments will not be accepted without prior arrangement or medical documentation.
  • There will be no make-up quizzes unless scheduled at least 48 hours in advance with the instructor.
  • Additional class interaction events may be organized by the instructor
  • Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation.
Grading Scale
A 93-100
A- 90-92
B+ 87-89
B 83-86
B- 80-82
C+ 77-79
C 73-76
C- 70-72
D+ 67-69
D 63-66
D- 60-62
E <60
Approximate Grading point Allocation
Case study calculation assignments (approximately 8) 30%
On-line Graded Discussions and surveys 5%
Module Quizzes (approximately 11) covering reading material/lectures 25%
Term Project on the Apalachicola/Flint/River 40%
Written strategy document, performance metrics and spreadsheet calculations (35% of term project grade)  
Performance in the role play (35% of term project grade)  
-------Assessment from your role play peers 30%  
-------Quality of your flow negotiations as proposed, accepted or rejected 35%  
-----Instructors’ assessment of your role play performance 35%  
Written report on the overall role play/negotiation process (30% of term project)  
Note:  additional lectures and  Term Project guidance will be given in class and on Canvas  

Academic Honesty

In 1995 the UF student body enacted an honor code and voluntarily committed itself to the highest standards of honesty and integrity. When students enroll at the university, they commit themselves to the standard drafted and enacted by students.

The Honor Pledge: We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.

On all work submitted for credit by students at the university, the following pledge is either required or implied: "On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment."

Students should report any condition that facilitates dishonesty to the instructor, department chair, college dean, Student Honor Council, or Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution in the Dean of Students Office.

(Source: 2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog)

It is assumed all work will be completed independently unless the assignment is defined as a group project, in writing by the instructor.

This policy will be vigorously upheld at all times in this course.

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities

The Disability Resource Center coordinates the needed accommodations of students with disabilities. This includes registering disabilities, recommending academic accommodations within the classroom, accessing special adaptive computer equipment, providing interpretation services and mediating faculty-student disability related issues.

0001 Reid Hall, 352-392-8565,  

Software Use

All faculty, staff and student of the University are required and expected to obey the laws and legal agreements governing software use. Failure to do so can lead to monetary damages and/or criminal penalties for the individual violator. Because such violations are also against University policies and rules, disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate. We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to uphold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.

Campus Helping Resources

Students experiencing crises or personal problems that interfere with their general well-being are encouraged to utilize the university’s counseling resources. The Counseling & Wellness Center provides confidential counseling services at no cost for currently enrolled students. Resources are available on campus for students having personal problems or lacking clear career or academic goals, which interfere with their academic performance.

  • University Counseling & Wellness Center, 3190 Radio Road, 352-392-1575,

    Counseling Services
    Groups and Workshops
    Outreach and Consultation
    Self-Help Library
    Training Programs
    Community Provider Database

  • Career Resource Center, First Floor JWRU, 392-1601,