This short course concentrates on the quantification of surface and groundwater hydrological processes.

An understanding of rainfall, evapotranspiration, runoff, groundwater recharge, groundwater storage, and groundwater movement is essential for those involved in the science, engineering or management of the water environment. This course provides a conceptual and quantitative understanding of hydrology and the basic principles of hydraulics as a basis for later applied studies of water quality, water engineering, and water management.

At a glance

  • Duration3 - 3.5 days (please enquire for options)
  • LocationCranfield campus
  • Cost£1,015 Concessions available

Course structure

This course is delivered via a mixture of lectures, workshops and practical sessions. During this short course, you will be joined by full-time and part-time students from our master's and PhD courses, creating a dynamic and interactive experience.

What you will learn

On successful completion of this short course you will be able to:

  • Understand the basic hydraulic principles of static and moving water,
  • Measure point and estimate areal rainfall,
  • Estimate potential evapotranspiration from weather data and understand the relationship between actual and potential evapotranspiration (more in-depth in 5-day course),
  • Differentiate between various runoff processes and identify the conditions under which each are important,
  • Choose the appropriate flow measurement technique for different types of watercourses,
  • Calculate the discharge of a watercourse by the velocity area method and by use of weirs and flumes,
  • Construct a rating curve for a watercourse,
  • Carry out flow gauging (only on 4 and 5-day course),
  • Describe and conceptualise the occurrence and movement of groundwater,
  • Apply Darcy’s Law to simple groundwater flow problems,
  • Design and carry out groundwater pumping tests, and analyse the resulting data (only on 4 and 5-day course),
  • Explain the mechanisms of groundwater recharge in different climatic environments.

Core content

  • The hydrological cycle and the influence of man,
  • Basics of hydraulics: SI Units, properties of fluids, basic mechanics,
  • Hydrostatics: Pressure, pressure measurement, pressure and forces on submerged surfaces,
  • Fluids in motion: Types of flow. Continuity, energy and momentum equations and their applications. Behaviour of a real fluid,
  • Precipitation, measurement of precipitation amount and intensity, spatial analysis. Interception and depression storage. Evapotranspiration, Penman approach, actual evapotranspiration. Runoff processes; overland flow, interflow, base flow,
  • Runoff measurement; velocity area methods. Structures; hydraulic principles of weirs and flumes. Stage measurement. Rating curves and other methods,
  • Groundwater occurrence: porosity, permeability, water holding formations, aquifers, aquicludes, aquifer types, aquifer boundaries, springs and streams in relation to groundwater,
  • Aquifer properties: transmissivity, storage coefficient, significance and typical magnitudes of these properties,
  • Groundwater movement: flow lines and equipotentials, natural flow, recharge, flow to wells, drawdown, cone of influence, radius of influence, interference,
  • Pumping tests: aquifer and well tests, conduct, measurement of variables, precautions,
  • Pumping test analysis: Theis and Jacob approaches, well efficiency. Dupuit-Forchheimer and Theis assumptions, deviations from these, and alternative methods,
  • Groundwater recharge: processes, main methods of estimation.




20% discount for Cranfield alumni, 10% discount for colleagues of alumni.

Accommodation options and prices

This is a non-residential course. If you would like to book accommodation on campus, please contact Mitchell Hall or Cranfield Management Development Centre directly. Further information regarding our accommodation on campus can be found here.

Alternatively you may wish to make your own arrangements at a nearby hotel.

Location and travel

Cranfield University is situated in Bedfordshire close to the border with Buckinghamshire. The University is located almost midway between the towns of Bedford and Milton Keynes and is conveniently situated between junctions 13 and 14 of the M1.

London Luton, Stansted and Heathrow airports are 30, 90 and 90 minutes respectively by car, offering superb connections to and from just about anywhere in the world.

Further location and travel details

Location address

Cranfield University
College Road
MK43 0AL

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.