Water Risks


Course Objective

The objective of this course is to provide students with a thorough
understanding of concepts, datasets, methods, and applications in the
field of water and climate risk, with a focus on flood and drought risk.
By the end of the course, students should be able to:
1. Define the main concepts relating to disaster risk assessment and
reduction, according to the terminology of the UNISDR
2. Explain the main indicators that can be used to express flood and
drought risk
3. Explain the main drivers of flood and drought risk
4. Describe the main datasets and methods (e.g. conceptual, statistical,
computer simulation models) used to represent hazard, exposure, and
vulnerability, and explain their pros and cons
5. Give examples of disaster risk reduction measures and strategies, and
explain their pros and cons
6. Apply the main datasets and methods used to assess hazard, exposure,
and vulnerability
7. Integrate data and information on hazard, exposure, and vulnerability
to analyse flood and/or drought risk
8. Review the scientific literature in order to examine a key problem in
current disaster risk science
9. Propose improvements to current disaster risk science that could
potentially strengthen risk reduction efforts

Course Content

Risk is defined as the probability of a natural hazard multiplied by its
consequences, and can be calculated as the product of the hazard,
exposure, and vulnerability. In this course, students will learn the
main concepts of natural disaster risk, and how these fit into
international agreements on disaster risk reduction and recovery. They
will also learn about different indicators that can be used to express
flood and drought risk, and how flood and drought risk have changed over
the past half century and are projected to change in the 21st century.
Students will learn about the main datasets and methods that can be used
to assess hazard, exposure, and vulnerability, and apply several of
these to assess flood and drought risk at different spatial scales.
Finally, students will learn about different measures that can be taken
to reduce flood and drought risk, and the pros and cons of these

Teaching Methods

In weeks 1-5, the course will be taught as a mixture of lectures,
practicals, discussions, and serious games. In weeks 6-7, students will
work individually on an essay. A written
examination will take place in week 8. Given the interdisciplinary
nature of the course, sessions will be taught by a variety of different

In order to participate in the course, students need to bring their own
laptop computers, running Windows, and will need to be able to install
and run the following programs: Matlab, Python 2.7, Microsoft Office,
HEC-RAS, QGIS, and RiverGIS (a QGIS plugin for HEC-RAS), and NetLogo
(open-source or licences freely available).

Method of Assessment

The course will be assessed through 3 components: a written examination
(35%), an essay (35%), and answering written exercise questions during
computer practicals (30%). The final grade is a weighted mean of the
grades for the 3 components, whereby students must achieve a grade of at
least 5.5 for each component. Resit opportunities will be provided in
the form of: a resit of the written examination; a new essay based on a
different topic for the essay; and improving the answers to the
questions for the written exercise questions during computer practicals.


A reading list will be provided on CANVAS.

General Information

Course Code AM_1210
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator prof. dr. P.J. Ward
Examiner prof. dr. P.J. Ward
Teaching Staff dr. H. de Moel
T.I.E. Veldkamp MSc

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: