Surface Water Quality Modeling

Lecturer (assistant)
Duration2 SWS
TermSommersemester 2024
Language of instructionEnglish
Position within curriculaSee TUMonline
DatesSee TUMonline

Admission information


After the completion of the module, the students are able to: • understand the background, mechanisms and control strategies of water quality problems • quantify the point and non-point pollution loadings • understand the basic surface water quality processes • master the fundamentals of surface water quality models and apply the models to different environmental problems • analyze and evaluate the control measures to mitigate given surface water quality modeling problems


The following contents will be covered in the module: • Introduction to the background of the surface water quality problems • Identifying pollution loadings and describing boundary conditions • Introduction to dissolved oxygen balance • Introduction to eutrophication processes • Introduction to toxicant transport and transformations • Fundamental equations for water quality modeling • Process mathematical descriptions in water quality models Integrated exercises: • Introduction to WASP8 Model Graphic User Interface (GUI) • Pre-processing and post-processing of water quality modelling, including the input data preparation, boundary conditions set-up, model parameter configuration, the model performance evaluation • Modelling case of dissolved oxygen depletion problem • Modelling case of eutrophication problem • Modelling case of toxicant pollution problem • Proposing control measures with scenario analysis

Teaching and learning methods

The module consists of lectures with integrated exercises. The background, mechanisms and control strategies of water quality problems are introduced by presentation with various real-world cases. With a brief introduction to water quality monitoring and measurement, the methods of describing the pollution source loadings as the driven conditions of the model are presented. The different instream processes will be introduced by presentations with various case studies. The principles and fundamental equations for water quality modelling are presented discussed. An open-source water quality model is presented to help understand how the mathematical descriptions of the processes are translated and implemented in the water quality modelling software. Model graphic user interface (GUI) introduction to the water quality model (Water Quality Analysis Simulation Program, WASP) is presented by demonstrating their functions. Pre-processing and post-processing of water quality modelling are demonstrated with 3 real-world cases using Excel template and optionally Matlab codes. Case studies for the exercise are introduced with concrete background information, modelling objectives, and needed data for the model set-ups. The water quality model is set up and run by the students. Different control measures are discussed and presented with the tested prediction scenarios by the students.


The exam consists of a project report that is submitted by a group of students (up to 3, 80% of the grade, 30 pages) and its oral presentation (20% of the grade, individual group member evaluation, 60 minutes). The students demonstrate their ability to model surface water quality problems and evaluate the effectiveness of control strategies for mitigating the problems with scenario analysis. The report will include the water quality problem statement, theoretical understanding of the water quality models and how they prepare the input data, set boundary conditions, configure model parameters, evaluate the model performance, and implement scenario analysis with the methods and tools learned in this course. In the project report, it should be possible to identify the specific contribution of each group member clearly. The final grade depends on the quality of the report and its presentation.

Recommended literature

- Surface Water-Quality Modeling by Steven C. Chapra, 2008, Waveland Pr Inc, ISBN-10:1577666054, ISBN-13: 978-1577666059 - Environmental Modeling by Jerry L. Schnoor, 1996, John Wiley, New York - Principles of Surface Water Quality Modeling and Control by Robert V. Thomann and John A.Mueller, 1987, HarperCollins, New York.