GEOG 431
Geography of Water Resources



The emphasis on precipitation and surface flows in Lesson 2 is necessary to gain familiarity with how these sources are generated and how they become essential resources for both aquatic ecosystems and human use. The lesson and readings will present information about precipitation and surface flows, especially for rivers, as two of the three major water sources. The lesson will also help you become familiar with basic hydrologic terms, so you can explain the movement of water through the hydrologic cycle, and as the driver of dynamism in rivers, including floods and droughts.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • define and explain several terms related to freshwater sources;
  • explain the importance of climate variability and extremes on the water cycle;
  • explain the importance of climate variability and extremes on the provisioning of freshwater to society;
  • describe and diagram the main hydrologic pathways from land surfaces into rivers and lakes;
  • describe and diagram the dynamic aspects of undammed rivers and streams, floodplain formation, and processes of flooding.

Lesson Roadmap

This lesson is one week in length. Please refer to the Course Calendar in Canvas for specific time frames and due dates. To finish this lesson, you must complete the activities listed below.

Lesson 2: Activities
Requirements Assignment Details Access/Directions
To Watch

Watch/Read through the following PowerPoint files.

  • Lesson 2.1 – Surface Water & Precipitation
  • Lesson 2.2 – Floods & Droughts

Registered students can access the Microsoft PowerPoint files under Lesson 2 in Canvas.

To Read
  • Chapter 2 – The changing water cycle (p.23-52)
  • Chapter 3 – Surface water hydrology (p.61-94)
  • Skim Chapter 4 – Surface water quality (p.99-142)
  • RP Brooks and DH Wardrop (eds.) Mid-Atlantic Freshwater Wetlands: Advances in science, management, policy, and practice. Springer Science+Business Media. (2013) – Brooks, RP, C Snyder, MM Brinson. 2013. Chapter 1 –Aquatic Landscapes: the importance of integrating waters. (p. 1-37)
  • The readings come directly from the course textbook (Holden 2014).
  • The Brooks, Snyder, Brinson reading is available through Google Scholar. Search for "Aquatic Landscapes: the importance of integrating waters." Registered students can access this reading in Canvas.
To Do
  • Disucssion #1 - Physical Impacts of Water Resources
  • Submit your post and replies under Discussion #1 in Canvas


If you have any questions, please post them to our Questions? discussion forum located under Orientation and Resources on Canvas. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help out a classmate!