University of Saskatchewan Centre for Hydrology /
CWRA / Canadian Society for Hydrological Sciences
Kananaskis Short Course on Principles of Hydrology

Available for credit from the University of Saskatchewan as Geography 827

10-21 January, 2019 - Barrier Lake Field Station, Kananaskis Valley, Alberta

PoH 2016 course photo

2016 Principles of Hydrology course members

More pictures from 2016 here!

Course Objectives
This course aims to describe and explain -

  • The physical principles and processes that govern hydrology, with special reference to Canadian conditions.
  • Mass and energy balance calculations and their application in hydrology.

On completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Describe the principal hydrological processes active in Canadian contexts
  • Assess the effects of variable boundary conditions on hydrology
  • Apply coupled energy and mass balance equations to calculate hydrological fluxes including runoff and streamflow.

Course synopsis
The University of Saskatchewan Centre for Hydrology with the assistance of the Canadian Society for Hydrological Sciences is offering an intensive course on the physical principles of hydrology with particular relevance to Canadian conditions. Factors governing hydrological processes in Canadian landscapes will be discussed including precipitation, interception, energy balance, snow accumulation, snowmelt, glaciers, evaporation, evapotranspiration, infiltration, groundwater movement and streamflow routing and hydraulics. These processes will be framed within the context of distinctly Canadian landscape features such as high mountains, glaciers, peatlands, prairies, tundra, boreal forests, frozen rivers and seasonally frozen ground. Students will be exposed to an overview of each subject, with recent scientific findings and new cutting edge theories, tools and techniques. They will complete numerical and essay assignments to develop skills in problem solving and in synthesizing complex hydrological concepts. Field examinations in nearby environments and research basins will enhance the learning experience. Students will emerge from the course with a deeper understanding of physical hydrological processes and how they interact to produce catchment water budgets and streamflow response.

The course will take place at the University of Calgary’s Biogeoscience Institute’s Barrier Lake Station in the Kananaskis Valley from 10-21 January, 2019. The course will focus on classroom instruction, but will take advantage of the proximity to the Marmot Creek Research Basin and the Canadian Rockies Hydrological Observatory to expose students to cold regions hydrological phenomenon, state of the art field instrumentation and measurement techniques. Each day will start with lectures on the primary subject, and include time to work on assigned exercises. Certain days will include a field work component to examine the processes and measurement techniques relevant to the lectures.

The course is intended for hydrology and water resources graduate students and early to midlevel career water resource engineers, hydrologists, aquatic ecologists and technologists who are either working directly in hydrology and water resources or are looking to broaden their understanding of hydrological systems and processes. This physical science course is quantitative in nature and so a firm foundation in calculus and physics at the first year university level and some undergraduate hydrology or hydraulics training is strongly recommended.

Contact Hours and Schedule
Lectures will be held in an intensive 12 day period at the Biogeoscience Institute, Barrier Lake Field Station, Kananaskis Valley, Alberta starting on the morning of Thursday, 10 January 2019 (arrive 9 Jan). Lectures will be up to three 90 min. sessions per day. Lectures begin 0830h on 10 January and end 4:00 pm, 20 January. There is a break from 1000h to 1030h and lunch is at 1200h. Afternoon lectures resume at 1330h with completion generally by 1500h. Dr. Pomeroy will be available on site during the course and by email afterwards, individual instructors will be available for portions of the course corresponding to their lecture day and at least one other day. The final exam will take place on 21 January at 0900h at the Barrier Lake Field Station. There will be three outdoor laboratory sessions:

    i) a snow survey training session at the Barrier Lake Field Station, Kananaskis Valley on 12 January,
    ii) an instrumented site visit to Marmot Creek Research Basin, Kananaskis on 18 January,
    iii) a stream gauge site and hydroelectricity facility on the nearby Kananaskis River on 19 January.

These outdoor laboratories are in remote mountain locations but near to roads, they do not have avalanche risks and do not require more than normal physical fitness and outdoor awareness. The site at Marmot Creek Research Basin will be a 15 min walk in from the bus along a snowpacked trail at 1400 m elevation. The stream gauge site is 15 min walk from the Barrier Lake Field station. The forecast for these sites can be found here , and current weather conditions from our weather stations can be found here

Details of course content and the schedule of the 2019 course is shown in the table below:

Date Subject Instructor

Jan 10th

Fundamentals & Hydrological Cycle

Micrometeorology & Precipitation

Dr John Pomeroy

Jan 11th

Climate Change and Hydrology

Climate Change and Hydrological Modelling

Mr Robert Sandford

Dr Kabir Rasouli

Jan 12th

Interception & Evapotranspiration

- Snow Survey Training
- Assignment 1 & Essay Assignment

Dr Richard Petrone

Dr John Pomeroy

Jan 13th

Snow Accumulation & Redistribution

Changing Freshwater Availability as Viewed from Space

Dr John Pomeroy

Dr Jay Famiglietti

Jan 14th

Snowmelt and Snowcover Depletion

- Assignment 2

Flow through Snow

Dr John Pomeroy

Dr Nicolas Leroux

Jan 15th

Groundwater Hydrology

- Assignment 3

Dr Edwin Cey

Jan 16th


Jan 17th


Sensors at the Usask Coldwater Laboratory, Canmore

Mike Demuth PEng PGeo
Dr John Pomeroy

Jan 18th

Soil Hydrology

Instrumented Basin Visit - Marmot Creek

Dr Charles Maule
Dr Andrew Ireson

Dr John Pomeroy

Jan 19th

Hillslope and Catchment Hydrology

River Basin Hydrology

- Assignment 4
- Stream guage site visit

Dr Sean Carey

Dr Kevin Shook

Dr Alain Pietroniro

Jan 20th

River Ice,
Routing and Hydrographs

- Assignment 5

Dr Alain Pietroniro
Mike Demuth PEng PGeo
Dr Kevin Shook  

Dr John Pomeroy

Jan 21st

Final Exam (credit students only)

If you have medical issues that will affect you on these field trips please contact Professor Pomeroy to discuss beforehand.

The closed book final examination (2 hour) will be given on the last day of the course. Exercises and literature review are due two months after they are assigned and are submitted electronically to Dr. Pomeroy via the Blackboard system.

NOTE: you must work independently and originally in all assignments and examinations, cite appropriately in submitted essay material and follow the University of Saskatchewan Academic Dishonesty Rules. For suggestions this website is clear:

Marking and Evaluation
Marks will be:

  • 20% final exam, 0900-1100 21 January 2019
  • 30% literature review on a hydrological process seleted in consultation with Dr Pomeroy
  • 50% quantitative exercise

  • i) Micrometeorology and evapotranspiration; Assigned 12 Jan
    ii) Groundwater hydrology; Assigned 14 Jan
    iii) Snow accumulation, glaciers and melt; Assigned 15 Jan
    iv) Soil and hillslope hydrology; Assigned 19 Jan
    v) River basin hydrology and hydraulics; Assigned 20 Jan

Non-credit (audit) students must complete the quantitative exercises and attend all lectures and field excursions. Those taking the course for university credit must complete all assignments, the literature review and the final examination.

All students are required to enroll in Geography 827 at the University of Saskatchewan in either an audit or credit capacity. Options are available to switch between these for some time after the course. See below for more details.

All students attending will receive a certificate from CSHS recognizing their participation in the course. Those that attend and complete the assignments will receive a certificate from CSHS stating they have completed the course. All others will receive a certificate from CSHS stating that they attended the course.

Course Texts and Readings
Students are highly encouraged to purchase the following two texts for use at the course.

Physical Hydrology, 3rd Edition, S.L. Dingman, 2014:
Waveland Press, Long Grove, IL, ISBN 978-1-47861-118-9
(Available from November in the U of S Bookstore)

The Surface Climates of Canada, W.G. Bailey, T.R. Oke and W.R. Rouse, 1998:
Montreal: McGill-Queen's Univ Press
(Available on Amazon)

Handouts and readings will be distributed via PAWS (University of Saskatchewan student web services).



Please note that both logistics fees and tuition fees are payable by all course participants, whether they are students or professionals, and attending for audit or credit.

The logistics fees, which cover the use of the facilities, meals and accommodation, are payable to the CSHS: tuition fees are payable to the U of S. Both vary with your status (e.g., student or professional), and are detailed below.

There are thus two stages involved in registering for the course, as follows:

Stage 1: Registration With CSHS, and Payment of Logistics Fees.

Logistics fees, which cover the use of facilities, and meals and accommodation at the Biogeoscience Institute, are as follows:

Status CWRA Member? Fee
StudentYes $1000
StudentNo $1030
ProfessionalYes $2500
ProfessionalNo, But eligible for Young Professional membership $2565
ProfessionalNo $2630

To register with the CSHS for the course, and to pay these fees, please follow this link, then continue to Stage 2...

Registrants who cancel will be refunded 85% of these logistics fees, but only if their cancellation is received in writing by the organizers before 1st December, 2018. No refunds will be possible after this date, for any reason.


Stage 2: Registration With the U of S, and Payment of Tuition Fees.

All participants must apply for registration as a graduate student with the University of Saskatchewan, and must therefore satisfy the university's admission requirements, which are detailed here.

When registering, please use the following details:

  • Class GEOG 827.3 (02) (T2)
  • CRN 23158
  • Session 201901

Fees are payable by all participants, but vary with your status (student or professional, whether you are attending for audit or credit, and - if you are a student - the institution at which you are studying).

To see details of the appropriate process for registration and fee-payment,

  • If you are currently a student, and your institution is shown in the drop-down list below, selecting it will display the relevant information
  • If you are not a student, or your institution is not listed, please choose the Professional or Institution Not Listed option:


If you would like to request transfer of credit to your home institution, please order your transcript for the course directly through your PAWS account or this link.

Withdrawal from Course, or Switching from Credit to Audit
If after taking the course you decide to withdraw or switch from credit to audit, please contact U of S Student Central (e-mail, or phone 1-877-650-1212) for details. If you do so by 10th February 2019, you will receive a 50% reduction in the tuition fee. It is still possible to switch from credit to audit until 26th March 2019, but there will be no reduction in the tuition fee.

For further information...

  • For questions about course content - Prof. John Pomeroy (e-mail)
  • For CSHS-related matters - Amber Penner (e-mail)
  • For queries related to registration - Joni Onclin (e-mail)
  • For information related to switching from credit to audit - U of S Student Central (e-mail, or phone 1-877-650-1212)

Web Disclaimer
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Centre for Hydrology
University of Saskatchewan
e-mail webmaster

The following pictures were taken during the 2016 course: