Nine hydrological PhD theses now available online

Eight recent and one older hydrological PhD theses are now available in the PhD theses section. The promovendi are from Wageningen University, VU University Amsterdam, Delft University of Technology, the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education and Utrecht University.

acrobat_icon Dynamics in groundwater and surface water quality – From field-scale processes to catchment-scale models
     Ype van der Velde (2011); PhD thesis, Wageningen University, Wageningen, 176 pp.

acrobat_icon Present & Future – Visualising ideas of water infrastructure design
     Martine Poolman (2010); PhD thesis, Delft University of Technology, Delft, 256 pp.
In redevelopment and redesign of small water structures local water governing institutions are increasingly required to and requesting that the planning processes are set up in a participatory manner. Decision making processes that are set-up to be participatory require stakeholders with different backgrounds, ideas, experiences and expertise to come together. Ideally they work collectively towards finding a solution to a problem situation. Because of their differences stakeholders often have different ideas about the problem situation and about the ways to solve it. Discussions take place and ideas are expressed in words or text as each stakeholder tries to explain his view of the situation and possible solution. Horace, however, wrote that »the mind is more slowly stirred by the ear than by the eye«. Visuals could provide a better understanding of a subject than words alone could. This PhD research looks at enabling stakeholders to make and use two-dimensional, still (non-moving) visuals to help identify which differences and similarities there are in stakeholders’ ideas of the problem situation and possible solutions. The main objective of this research was to design a methodology which enables stakeholders to make and use visuals to communicate their ideas about redevelopment and maintenance of small water structures.

acrobat_icon Optimisation of monitoring networks for water systems
     – Information theory, value of information, and public participation
    José Leonardo Afonso Segura (2010); PhD thesis, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft, 200 pp.
Monitoring networks provide data that is analysed to help managers make informed decisions about their water systems. Their design and evaluation have a number of challenges that must be resolved, among others, the restriction on having a limited number of monitoring devices. This book presents innovative methods to design and evaluate monitoring networks. The main idea is to maximise the performance of water systems by optimising the information content that can be obtained from monitoring networks. This is done through the combination of models and two theoretical concepts: Information Theory, initially developed in the field of communications, and Value of Information, initially developed in the field of economics. Additionally, the possibility of using public participation to gather information with mobile phones to improve models is also explored in the research. The results of this research demonstrate that monitoring networks can be evaluated and designed by considering new variables, such as the information content, the user of the information and the potential of current mobile phones for data collection.

acrobat_icon The role of interception in the hydrological cycle
     Miriam Gerrits (2010); PhD thesis, Delft University of Technology, Delft, 146 pp.

acrobat_icon Effect of climate change on temperate forest ecosystems
     Reinder Brolsma (2010); PhD thesis, Utrecht University, Utrecht, 160 pp
In temperate climates groundwater can have a strong effect on vegetation, because it can influence the spatio-temporal distribution of soil moisture and therefore water and oxygen stress of vegetation. Current IPCC climate projections based on CO2 emission scenarios show a global temperature rise and change in precipitation regime, which will affect hydrological and vegetation systems. This thesis provides a quantitative framework for studying eco-hydrology in groundwater influenced temperate ecosystems. This study shows that quantifying and understanding the response of temperate forest ecosystems to climate change requires combined physically-based hydrological and bio-physically-based vegetation models.

acrobat_icon Computational Intelligence in Rainfall–Runoff Modeling
     Nico de Vos (2009); PhD thesis, Delft University of Technology, Delft, 149 pp.

acrobat_icon Anticipatory Water Management – Using ensemble weather forecasts for critical events
     Schalk Jan van Andel (2009); PhD thesis, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft, 182 pp.
Day-to-day water management is challenged by meteorological extremes, causing floods and droughts. Often operational water managers are informed too late about these upcoming events to be able to respond and mitigate their effects, such as by taking flood control measures or even requiring evacuation of local inhabitants. Therefore, the use of weather forecast information with hydrological models can be invaluable for the operational water manager to expand the forecast horizon and to have time to take appropriate action. This is called Anticipatory Water Management.
Anticipatory actions may have adverse effects, such as when flood control actions turn out to have been unnecessary, because the actual rainfall was less than predicted. Therefore the uncertainty of the forecasts and the associated risks of applying Anticipatory Water Management have to be assessed. To facilitate this assessment, meteorological institutes are providing ensemble predictions to estimate the dynamic uncertainty of weather forecasts. This dissertation presents ways of improving the end-use of ensemble predictions in Anticipatory Water Management.

acrobat_icon Understanding Hydrological Processes in an Ungauged Catchment in sub-Saharan Africa
     Marloes Mul (2009); PhD thesis, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft, 144 pp.
Ungauged catchments can be found in many parts of the world, but particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Information collected in a gauged catchment and its regionalisation to ungauged areas is crucial for water resources assessment. Especially farmers in semi-arid zones are in need of such information. Inter and Intra-seasonal rainfall variability is large in these areas, and farmers depend more and more on additional surface and groundwater resources for their crop production. As a result, understanding the key-hydrological processes, and determination of the frequencies and magnitudes of stream flows, is very important for local food production. This is particularly true for the ungauged Makanya catchment in Tanzania, which is the subject of this study.

acrobat_icon Sedimentary Heterogeneity and Flow Towards a Well
     Joost Herweijer (1997); PhD thesis, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 277 pp.
This dissertation addresses the problem of adequately describing the hydraulic behavior of a heterogeneous aquifer, specifically the flow towards a well. Typically for a subsurface problem, the quantity of available data versus the number of unknowns, is very limited. Therefore, an adequate hydrogeological description still encompasses a range of possible aquifer responses. Thus, a broad approach has been followed to obtain a more or less, reliable estimation of the range of possible aquifer responses within a limited spectrum of sedimentological options. This broad approach includes the following methods: sedimentological analysis; multi-well and single-well pumping tests; tracer experiments; geostatistics; and numerical modeling of groundwater flow. Any application of only one of these methods can lead to a strongly biased and erroneous estimate of the range of aquifer responses. Thus, this dissertation aims at integrating and combining several direct and indirect methods to identify the aquifer’s structure and to analyze the associated groundwater flow and solute transport behavior. The final objective of this research is to characterize a heterogeneous aquifer in order to better describe contaminant flow; many of the findings are also applicable to the recovery of oil from heterogeneous reservoirs.