Provision of adequate, safe and appealing water supplies for urban and rural communities has long been a key role for civil engineers. Similarly the need for sustainable and increased food supplies to meet the needs of a growing global population is well established, and civil engineers again play a major role in achieving this by designing and constructing irrigation and land drainage systems. Accordingly, this unit of study aims to give students a basic understanding, problem solving and design skills in the areas of water supply and irrigation / drainage engineering. Students are required as part of the unit to undertake a site visit and inspection of relevant infrastructure, and write a report on same.

Key topics include:
Urban Water Supply Schemes: Demand assessment and management, supply sources, dam types/spillways/outlet works/construction and safety issues, groundwater development works, water quality requirements and various types of treatment to satisfy these, service storage, pumping stations, reticulation system arrangements/layout and manual/computer analysis, pipeline design and construction.
Irrigation and drainage: Purpose and principles of irrigation, irrigation water quality, channel design and structures, flood, furrow, sprinkler and trickle irrigation layout and design principles, need for, principles and design of appropriate land drainage systems.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


NEC2203 - Hydraulics

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Identify typical levels of demand in terms of both quantity and quality for urban water supply and irrigation schemes, and the factors which influence them;  
  2. Identify, describe, locate information, solve relevant numerical problems, and carry out basic design of key elements for water source development schemes including dams, groundwater bores, pump stations, transfer conduits and service storages;  
  3. Identify and explain key water quality parameters and supply standards, and describe, solve relevant numerical problems, and carry out design of key elements for basic water treatment plants;  
  4. Determine appropriate elements and layouts of town water reticulation systems, and design basic systems using manual and computer methods;  
  5. Identify, describe, solve relevant numerical problems, determine layouts and carry out basic design of key elements in irrigation and drainage schemes including supply channels, flood, sprinkler and drip systems, and both surface and subsurface drainage systems;  
  6. Work effectively as a member and/or leader of a small team; and  
  7. Demonstrate good communication skills, based on technical reports and team discussion.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test In-class test (30 minutes) 10%
Assignment Assignment 1: Team-based problem solving / design exercise and report (may be in 2 parts) 20%
Assignment Assignment 2: Team-based site visit and report 10%
Examination End-of-semester exam (3 hours) 60%
The examination focuses upon the individual student's ability to demonstrate his or her in-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline and apply established engineering methods to complex engineering problems, as defined in Engineers Australia competencies 1.3, 2.1 and 2.2. As the examination is the one clear way by which these competencies can be assessed on an individual basis, students must achieve a minimum mark of 50% in the examination (and 50% in the overall unit assessment). In order to be eligible for a supplementary assessment, students must normally achieve an overall mark between 45-49% for the unit.

Required reading

The below texts are recommended only.

Introduction to Environmental Engineering 3rd (SI) edn
Vesilind, P., Morgan, S. and Heine, L.G. (2010)

Handbook of Dam Engineering
Alfred R. Golzé (1977)
New York : Van Nostrand Reinhold Co

Water resources engineering 2nd ed.
Mays, Larry W. (2010)
Hoboken, NJ : John Wiley

NEC3201 Hydraulic Engineering - Course Notes and Tutorial Problem
Lechte, P., Shipton, R. (2017)

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