GEO314 River Hydrology and Geomorphology (8)


In this subject students gain in-depth knowledge about flow hydrology, hydraulic behaviour, landforms and sedimentary deposits of rivers. Emphasis is given to flood hydrology, the mechanics of river flow, floodplain formation by meandering rivers, the effects of post-European settlement on the flow regime of rivers in the Murray-Darling Basin and the management of degraded rivers. On completion, students will be able to critically apply the conceptual frameworks that underpin the principles of river management .

+ Subject Availability Modes and Location

Session 1
DistanceAlbury-Wodonga Campus
Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: GEO314
Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject information

Duration Grading System School:
One sessionHD/FLSchool of Environmental Sciences

Assumed Knowledge

A university level understanding of landscape processes (e.g. GEO164 or equivalent) and/or a high-school level understanding of physics and/or mathematics will be useful.

Enrolment restrictions

Students who have completed GEO313 or GEO513 may not enrol in this subject
Incompatible subject(s)
GEO313 GEO513

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to recognise and describe the distinctive landforms and sediments associated with rivers
  • have an in-depth understanding of the principles of flow hydrology and channel hydraulics
  • be able to apply specialised skills they have developed in the interpretation of hydrologic data
  • be able to critically apply the conceptual frameworks that underpin the principles of river management with particular reference to channel change in Eastern Australia


The subject will cover the following topics:
  1. Measurement of stream discharge;
  2. The flood hydrograph - a case study of the Murrumbidgee River;
  3. Flood magnitude - frequency analysis - a case study of flow regime change on the Murrumbidgee River since reservoir construction;
  4. The mechanics of stream flow - viscosity, laminar and turbulent flow, Bernoulli Equation, upper and lower flow regimes;
  5. Shear stress and resistance - the Manning Equation;
  6. Stream sediment load;
  7. River pollution - dissolved oxygen and eutrophication, salinity;
  8. Scour and fill during floods;
  9. Channel plan form - braided, meandering, anastomosing and straight;
  10. Meanders - their formation and maintenance;
  11. The floodplain - mechanisms of formation, sedimentology;
  12. Channel behaviour - equilibrium, threshold and disequilibrium models - open and closed systems;
  13. Channel response to long and short term climatic change;
  14. Channel change in the period of European settlement in eastern Australia;
  15. River management practices - erosion control, sediment movement, the role of the riparian zone and the use of environmental flows.


The information contained in the 2016 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: 06 September 2016. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.