Course Title: Water Resource System Optimisation

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Water Resource System Optimisation

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


120H Civil, Environmental & Chemical Engineering


Sem 2 2016

Course Coordinator: Dr Nira Jayasuriya

Course Coordinator Phone: 03 9925 3795

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 10.11.15

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Basic hydrology, hydraulics and water resources systems (assumed knowledge)  

Course Description

This course will introduce you to balancing and managing water supply and demand for urban communities, primary production, industry and water-dependent ecosystem services such as wetlands. The effects of climate change, increased climate variability and competing demand impact on local and global communities are also studied. Optimising the use of traditional sources such as surface water and groundwater as well as fit-for-purpose recycled water, including stormwater to meet the demand for water of acceptable quality will also be studied. Estimating urban, irrigation and ecological demand and available sustainable yield are key components of the course. Techniques learnt will include making complex trade off decisions to meet competing demands and multi-faceted outcomes.  Using authentic case studies you will examine relevant issues and investigate data, methods, models and strategies available to derive optimum solutions.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

 This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for:

MC254 – Master of Engineering (Environmental Engineering)


The course will address the following program learning outcomes

1. Needs, Context and Systems

1.1.Describe, investigate and analyse complex engineering systems and associated issues (using systems thinking and modelling techniques)

1.3. Identify and assess risks  as well as the economic, social and environmental impacts of engineering activities

2. Problem Solving and Design

2.1.Develop creative and innovative solutions to engineering problems

2.2.Anticipate the consequences of intended action or inaction and understand how the consequences are managed collectively by your organisation, project or team

3. Analysis

3.1.Comprehend and apply advanced theory-based understanding of engineering fundamentals and specialist bodies of knowledge in the selected discipline area to predict the effect of engineering activities

3.2 Apply underpinning natural, physical and engineering sciences, mathematics, statistics, computer and information sciences.


On completion of this course you should be able to:

  • Estimate water demand including requirements for protecting environmental assets and ecosystem services
  • Critically assess and apply optimisation techniques including behaviour analysis, linear and dynamic programming principles
  • Argue the importance of alternative local sources of water supply and compute their availability and ‘fit-for-purpose use’. Optimise the balance between demand, supply and reliability using traditional water sources such as surface and groundwater or their combination with manufactured water.
  • Identify the benefits and complexities of engaging project stakeholders and strategies options to overcome challenges.

Overview of Learning Activities

 Learning activities include lectures/tutorial sessions along with computer lab classes on simulation modelling and team-based activities.

Overview of Learning Resources

Learning material will include lecture notes, online material posted on the Learning Hub. Access to up-to-date international research journals, conference proceedings and e-books will be facilitated through RMIT’s library.    

Overview of Assessment


☒This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment will require the student to prepare a project report and class presentation to test the understanding of the theory underpinning  optimisation of water resources systems  and its application to problem solving related to balancing water supply and demand.

Case studies will cover a range of examples managing scarce water resources.

Assessment tasks

Assessment Task 1:  Feedback exercises 30%

Assessment Task 2: Class presentation on the project. Weighting 30%

Assessment 3: Final Report containing data analysis and project outcomes. Weighting 40%