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Free course

Surface water

Free statement of participation on completion
Surface water


Please note: This is course is due to be archived on Monday 13th March 2023. You can study the course up until this date. For learners who have completed the course, the Statement of Participation will remain in your learner records in your OpenLearn profile.


Water is arguably the most important physical resource as it is the one that is essential to human survival. Understanding the global water cycle and how we use water is essential to planning a sustainable source of water for the future. In the UK there are areas where water supplies are limited, as shown by recent droughts. Globally, there are many areas that do not have enough water to support the current population adequately. Decisions will have to be made on the best way to use water in a world that's experiencing climate change. This free course, Surface water, helps you examine the options.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • list the types of springs, and how each type relates to a different geological setting
  • use hydrographs to distinguish overland flow and interflow from baseflow, and make inferences about the climate of an area
  • expain how various changes in land use in a river catchment will change the hydrograph of a river
  • distinguish the different types of reservoir construction, and decide whether a particular area would be suitable for a reservoir, suggest the most suitable type of dam for a site, and summarise the side effects of constructing reservoirs.

First Published: 09/08/2012

Updated: 21/03/2016

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