73265 - Hydrological Modelling M

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Clean water and sanitation Affordable and clean energy Sustainable cities Climate Action

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

The course aims at dealing with concepts that underlie the development of mathematical models for simulating the hydrological processes that control the formation and routing of river streamflows. The main objective of the course is providing the tools for choosing the most suitable model relative to the water problem at hand.

Course contents

The course focuses on the following general issues:

  1. basic definitions and objectives of modelling and classification of hydrological models (recall of fundamental concepts) and their practical appliaction;
  2. hydrological GIS-tools for a geo-morphologic characterisation of river basins;
  3. hydrological processes that control the formation and routing of river stream-flows and their mathematical representation;
  4. statistical models for design-flood estimation and associated uncertainty.

Hands-on experiments will enable students to deepen their understanding of theoretical concepts.


- Moisello, Idrologia Tecnica, La Goliardica Pavese
- Greppi, Idrologia, Hoepli editore
- Brutsaert, Hydrology An introduction, Cambridge University Press
- Material supplied by the professor

Teaching methods

Lectures and PC exercises (which will be implemented under the Professor's supervision in a PC-Lab) designed to prepare students to the utilisation of: common GIS-tools for performing hydrological analysis on digital elevation models; rainfall-runoff models; flood-wave routing models.

Assessment methods

The learning assessment aims at verifying the achievement of learning objectives, i.e. to know the basic concepts required for

  • carrying out the main hydrological analysis in a GIS environment for the characterization of river basins;
  • identifying the most suitable model in relation to the water problem to be solved;
  • developing mathematical models for simulating the main hydrological processes that control the rainfall-runoff transformation.

The final exam consists of an oral examination focusing on

  • theoretical topics covered during classes and
  • a discussion on the report illustrating the practical exercises developed during the course.

This verification consists of a question related to one of the theoretical topics addressed during the course and in a discussion, stimulated by the teacher, concerning the report prepared by the candidate to present the exercises carried out during the course; this discussion is aimed at verifying in-depth the theoretical-practical level of the candidate's preparation on the different topics addressed during the exercises that were proposed during the course.

Candidates who demonstrate knowledge and mastery of the fundamental concepts illustrated in the teaching will pass the exam, and a higher score will be given to those who demonstrate a thorough knowledge of all the contents provided in class, both from a theoretical and practical viewpoint, and who will be able to illustrate these contents accurately and with correct technical language.

(registration to the test at https://almaesami.unibo.it).

Teaching tools

The theory illustrated during classes is supported by practical activities (i.e. computer programming and use of specific software) to be set up in the PC-lab under the supervision of Professor and completed independently. All applications will use cross-platform Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS), that can be installed on all major operating systems.

Handouts on the topics covered in the course, exercises and their draft solutions in R scripts (The R Project for Statistical Computing), or GIS tutorial (QGIS) are accessible for registered students and during the classes from the repository Insegnamenti OnLine - AlmaDL University of Bologna.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Attilio Castellarin