ENS5330 - Water security and environmental pollution - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

School of Chemistry


Dr Perran Cook

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


This unit will give students the knowledge and perspectives to manage water resources for human consumption, recreation and ecological values. The unit will commence by covering the basics of the hydrological cycle necessary to understand the factors controlling groundwater and surface water availability.

Fundamentals of water quality and pollutants and their behaviour including, metals, organic contaminants, nutrients and algal blooms, pathogens and acidification (within the context of acid sulfate soils, mine drainage and ocean acidification) will also be addressed. Application of this knowledge will then be undertaken with case studies of contaminated systems, their assessment and remediation approaches.

Finally the unit will cover the policy approaches used to manage water resources around the world including local and international examples of the development of water quality guidelines and frameworks. Current approaches used to balance the needs of ecological values and human water needs, will also be discussed with global and local examples.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Articulate the key aspects of the hydrological cycle that control surface and groundwater availability and evaluate approaches used to quantify and predict this.
  2. Describe and understand the key physical, chemical and biological threats to water quality, including the key classes and behaviour of pollutants such as metals, organic contaminants, nutrients and acidity.
  3. Understand, apply and design water quality guidelines to protect different water uses and purposes.
  4. Design management strategies to maintain, improve and remediate water availability and quality in surface groundwater and marine systems.
  5. Effectively communicate the key issues associated with water quantity and quality to the public and policy makers.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

  • Contact hours, within the seminar component, equate to 4 hours per week + Additional requirements include at least 8-hours of independent pre and post class work.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


This is a specialist core unit for the Environmental Security specialisation. Non-cognate students in this specialisation must complete preparatory studies (Part B) prior to undertaking this specialist unit. Students undertaking this unit as an elective within other specialisations must consult with the unit coordinator about assumed foundational knowledge and preparatory material. Approval from the unit co-ordinator is required.