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Water System Analysis

Water management is a key component of European and national policies. Climate change and pressure on fresh water resources urge us to manage and redesign our environment to provide a safe and ecologically sound water quality. To be able to take sustainable decisions on the water management it is important to understand thoroughly how the system is functioning: what are the abiotic factors and how are those influencing the biota? Measures to improve or regenerate ecological water quality can have negative impacts on other parts of the water system, when they are taken without understanding of the total water system. 

This minor focuses on the functioning of the water system. You will study possible future changes for a water system in the EU to be used as a preparation study for area redevelopment. In order to do this you will look into the geophysical features of the system and describe scenarios such as climate change, hydro morphological changes and land-use changes. Courses are presented on geology, geomorphology, soils and land use, climate and hydrology, water systems and (water dependent) flora and fauna communities. You will get training in geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing (RS) and on how to model a water balance. The minor is interesting for those aiming for a career in eco-hydrology, but also very valuable for aquatic ecologists or spatial (natural) planners wishing to gain broader insight in the in depth functioning of a water system.

The professional field is in need of graduates that have insight in the functioning of the water system and effects on ecological water quality. This has become more important since the EU works with the Water Framework Directive, which focuses on ecological water quality and sets the ecological goals for different water bodies in the EU.

For this reason Aeres Hogeschool Almere developed a full year programme named Aquatic Ecosystem Analysis, open to both Dutch and international students. It contains two minors, an integrated group-project abroad and a company placement coupled with a thesis. The presented minor Water System Analysis is embedded in this programme. It is very much recommended to follow the whole programme, however for Dutch students it is also possible to follow the minors separately.

For specific information about the full-year programme, please contact the coordinator Karin Blok at



The central task in the minor is to make a description of different scenarios for a water system and its (flora and fauna) communities based on geophysical features and possible future changes, which can be used as a preparational study for area redevelopment.

In order to fulfil the assessment you will be coached on the following steps (learning tasks):

  • Interpretation of assignment and final product and writing of area introduction
  • In depth description of water system by making use of water balance and GIS techniques
  • Scenario definition for specific case of area redevelopment, making use of water balance and maps.

This course prepares you for professional tasks of an eco-hydrologist. After completing the course you will be able to:

  • Analyse how land-use and geological, geo-morphological and soil formation processes influence shape and functioning of European water systems,
  • Produce comprehensive maps that serve water system analysis,
  • Evaluate current climatic changes in comparison to earlier climatic changes and analyse how current climate change will influence European water systems,
  • Apply knowledge of the water cycle and ecological key-factors to analyse the effect of changes within the water system on flora and fauna communities.


You can participate in this minor if you have:

  • Successfully completed two to three years of a related bachelor programme, such as Applied Biology in Almere or Den Bosch or an additional degree in a related course such as Water Management, Geo-hydrology, Physical geography or Aquatic ecology,


  • several years of relevant work experience either with or without an academic qualification,


  • English level of IELTS 6.0 or equivalent for EU students; a test can be taken at an intake session of the course, without extra costs. Overseas students need to provide authenticated proof in advance.


The programme will take place in autumn and close in January. The language of instruction is English.

The table below shows how different elements in the module are examined and the literature that will be used.

Module element: AAPH01
EC: 6
Name: Assessment and learning tasks
Exam: Assessment *

Module element: AAPH05
EC: 2
Name: Practice GIS and RS advanced
Exam: Practice

Module element: AAPH06
EC: 1
Name: Practice Modelling Water balance
Exam: Assignment

Module element: AAPH07
EC: 1
Name: Practice Field study
Exam: Practice

Module element: AAPH08
EC: 5
Name: Water System Theory
Exam: Written Exam

* Learning tasks are integral elements of the assessment and proof of proficiency. Students who did not complete or failed one or more learning tasks are not allowed to participate in examination of the assessment.


Holden, J. 2012. An introduction to physical geography and the environment. Harlow UK, Pearson Education Limited. ISBN 978-0-13-175304-4

Practical guides and additional documents will be provided on Canvas.


Minor days are Mondays and Thursdays, weekly (36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 44, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 1, 2).

  • Theory and project coaching takes place on both Mondays and Thursdays
  • Practical training takes place on Thursdays
  • One introductionary field week in Germany before the start of the semester in Week 36: Sept 3 – Sept 7: mind that this is an obligatory fieldweek.