Study Guide – Rivers


Key questions that will be answered…..


Hydrology Theory

What is a Drainage Basin (catchment)?

What is Hydrology?

What is the Hydrological System and how does it fit into the Hydrological Cycle?

What is Water Balance and how does the quantity of water stay in equilibrium within each catchment?

What is a Storm Hydrograph and what does it show?

What is the annual Regime of a river?

What is the difference between Flood Frequencies and Flood Recurrence?

What is the Long Profile of a River and how it is linked with the ‘stages of maturity’ of a river?

What is the Bradshaw Model and how do the parameters in the model change downstream?


Hydrological Processes

What is the difference between Turbulent, Laminar and Helicoidal Flow?

Where do you find the different types of flow in a river?

What are the three major types of River Processes?

What is abrasion and hydraulic action?

What are solution, suspension and saltation?

How does sediment get deposited along the river channel and delta and what features does it create?


Causes of Flooding within the Drainage Basin

What is a flood?

What are the ‘physical geography’ causes of flooding?

How do factors such as geology, soil type and vegetation affect flooding within a drainage basin?

What are the ‘anthropogenic’ (human) causes of flooding?

Suggested case studies include, the River Rhône, the San GabrielRiver or the River Lyn.


The Impacts of Flooding

What are the short term and long term effects of flooding?

What are the social, economic and demographic effects of flooding?

What is the difference between tangible and intangible effects of flooding?

Perceptions of flooding by different groups in the drainage basin.

Strategies and effectiveness of flood management schemes.


Some key terms you should be familiar with…..



Tributary Streams       Interception                 Percolation                  Baseflow                     Recharge

Regimes                      Deficit                          Lag Time                     Rising Limb                 Discharge

Flood Duration            Middle Course             Flood Magnitude          Competence               Capacity

Upper Course             Lower Course             Hydraulic Radius         Wetted Perimeter       Braiding

Inter-basin Transfer    Abstraction                  Irrigation                      Impoundments            Flooding                     




Books – Waugh

Geofactsheets – No. 83, No. 127, No. 71, No. 42

Websites – Environment Agency. Met Office

Others -