Principles of Hydrology 2023 course will be offered as an intensive field school at the Barrier Lake Field Station, Kananaskis Valley, Alberta from October 31 to November 10, 2023. Registration at the University of Saskatchewan will open June 2023.

Course Objectives

This course aims to describe and explain:

  • The physical principles and processes that govern hydrology, with special reference to Canadian and cold regions 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 and cold regions 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 principles governing hydrological processes in Canadian and other cold regions river basins will be discussed including precipitation, interception, energy balance, snow accumulation, snowmelt, glaciers, evaporation, evapotranspiration, infiltration, soil-water and groundwater movement, surface water storage, runoff generation, streamflow routing, river ice and hydraulics. These processes will be framed within the context of distinctly Canadian river basin features such as mountains, glaciers, peatlands, forests, prairies, agricultural fields, tundra, ponds, lakes, rivers, river ice and 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. Students will emerge from the course with a deeper understanding of physical hydrological processes and how they interact to produce river basin water budgets and streamflow response.

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 basic calculus and physics at the first-year university level and some undergraduate hydrology or hydraulics training is strongly recommended.

Important note: The University of Saskatchewan is an English speaking institution, and all lectures and materials will be offered in English. It is expected that all registrants will be proficient in written and spoken English.

The course has been featured in an issue of Water News. Click the issue cover below to view the feature and learn more about the course.


Contact Hours & Schedule

Lectures will be held in an intensive 11-day period at the Biogeoscience Institute, Barrier Lake Field Station, Kananaskis Valley, Alberta starting on the morning of Tuesday, 31 October 2023 (arrive 30 October). Lectures will be up to three 90 min. sessions per day. Lectures begin 0830h on 31 October and end at 4:00 pm, 10 November. 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 and a CWRA representative 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 online at a date to be determined. There will be three outdoor laboratory sessions, and an evening session at the Coldwater Laboratory in Canmore.

  1. An instrumented site visit to Marmot Creek Research Basin, Kananaskis on 3 November in the afternoon.
  2. A presentation on implications of advances in hydrology for water policy at the Coldwater Laboratory, Canmore in the evening 6 November.
  3. A demonstration of sensors and snow surveying techniques the afternoon of 7 November.
  4. A stream gauge site and hydroelectricity facility on the nearby Kananaskis River on 9 November.

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 level trail at 1400 m elevation. The stream gauge site is 15 min walk with a small hill from the Barrier Lake Field station. The forecast for these sites can be found here and here, and current weather conditions from our weather stations can be found here.

Date Subject Instructor
31 Oct.

Fundamentals & Hydrological Cycle
Hydrometeorology & Precipitation

  • Essay Assignment
John Pomeroy
1 Nov.

Snow Accumulation, Sublimation & Redistribution

John Pomeroy
2 Nov.

Groundwater Hydrology

  • Assignment 1
Ed Cey
3 Nov.

Interception & Evapotranspiration

  • Assignment 2

Instrumented Basin Visit - Marmot Creek (bus)

Richard Petrone

John Pomeroy

4 Nov.

Snowmelt and Snowcover Depletion

John Pomeroy
5 Nov.


  • Assignment 3
John Pomeroy
6 Nov.


  • Hydrology and Public Policy at the Coldwater Laboratory – (bus to and from Canmore)

John Pomeroy,
Bob Sandford

7 Nov.

Soil Hydrology

Sensors and Snow Surveying - Fortress Mountain (bus)

Andrew Ireson

John Pomeroy

8 Nov.

Hillslope and Catchment Hydrology

  • Assignment 4
Sean Carey
9 Nov.

River Basin Hydrology and Streamflow Hydrographs

Stream Gauging - Kananaskis River demonstration (walk)

Kevin Shook

Matt Falcone

10 Nov.

Hydraulics, River Ice, Hydrometry and Routing


  • Assignment 5

Tricia Stadnyk

John Pomeroy

Click below to view/download the detailed schedule in PDF form:

Detailed Schedule

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 online on Canvas a few weeks after the course. Exercises and literature review are due one month after they are assigned and are submitted electronically to Dr. Pomeroy via the Canvas 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 Guidelines for Academic Conduct and Academic Integrity.

Readings and Textbook

There is no formal textbook assigned for this course, but students are highly encouraged to obtain access to the following text for use in the course.

Physical Hydrology, 3rd Edition, S.L. Dingman, 2014:
Waveland Press, Long Grove, IL, ISBN 978-1-47861-118-9

Readings will be provided via Canvas.

Marking and Evaluation

Marks will be:

  • 20% final exam
  • 30% literature review on a hydrological process selected in consultation with Dr. Pomeroy
  • 50% quantitative exercises
    1. micrometeorology and evapotranspiration
    2. groundwater hydrology
    3. snow accumulation, glaciers and melt
    4. soil and hillslope hydrology
    5. river basin hydrology and hydraulics including river ice

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.

Contact Information
Professor John Pomeroy
Coldwater Laboratory, 1151 Sidney Street, Canmore 403 679 1425 (personal phone)
or 403 678 0579 (general office phone – emergencies during daytime)
Centre for Hydrology, 117 Science Place, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon 306 966 1426
or Joni Onclin in Saskatoon, office 306 966 1427


Canadian Society for Hydrological Sciences (CSHS)

All participants are encouraged to join or be a member of the CSHS ( Once you complete the course, CSHS will provide a Certificate of Attendance.

CSHS fees will cover all logistic costs (accommodation, meals, etc.) at the Barrier Lake Field Station.

CWRA Regular Member $2,750.00
Regular non-member $2,880.00
CWRA Student member $1,250.00
Student non-member $1,280.00
CWRA YP member $2,750.00
YP non-member $2,815.00

CSHS Registration

A bus will leave Calgary Airport to Barrier Field Station on Oct 30, please coordinate your arrival if you require transportation.

Applying for Admission at USask

All participants must apply for admission as a graduate student with the University of Saskatchewan if they are not already a graduate student at the U of S or another Canadian institution.

USask PDF’s will contact CGPS/PDF Coordinator for internal admission. PDF's must be registered two (2) weeks prior to start of term.

  • Students request permission to register in the course, GEOG 827, by emailing Dr. John Pomeroy ( and outlining how they meet the course prerequisites listed in the course synopsis.
  • Students should then contact the department of Geography and Planning ( and provide their student number so that a permission to register can be entered.
  • After getting email confirmation from the department, students taking the course for credit can register themselves on PAWS. Students wishing to audit the course can contact Student Central at using their PAWS email account and request to be registered as an audit student in the course.
  • Students request permission to register in the course by emailing Dr. John Pomeroy ( and outlining how they meet the course prerequisites listed in the course synopsis
  • Students submit either a Canadian Universities Graduate Transfer Agreement (CUGTA) form or a Western Dean's Agreement (WDA) form, depending on the home institution.
  • Students will have their home institution sign the form and send it to the department of Geography and Planning ( at the University of Saskatchewan. They will be automatically registered in the course, but must pay student fees and tuition directly to the University of Saskatchewan.
    • CUGTA-based students will pay tuition and student fees
    • WDA-based students should expect to only pay student fees

NOTE: transfer agreement forms must be submitted two (2) weeks prior to start of term. If you are submitting after the deadline, please state why the delay when the form is emailed to Geography and Planning.

Please note: You must complete all 5 steps below in order to apply for admission.

  • Request permission to register in the course by emailing Dr. John Pomeroy ( and outlining how they meet the course prerequisites listed in the course synopsis
  • Apply for admissions here, choose Graduate program, Non-degree and term.
    Note: International students and professionals will pay $120 CDN non-refundable application fee, but DO NOT submit transcripts, or submit proof of English equivalency and should ignore these requests if prompted automatically by the form.
  • International students and professionals MUST submit a letter of support from their home institution or employer on official letterhead, listing the course, the term it will be taken, and the dates that the course will be held.  This letter should be submitted to 
  • Once an application has been received by Graduate Studies, students can log back into the application created to monitor their application status.  Upon receiving a letter of admission, students should then notify the department of Geography and Planning ( that they have been admitted and provide their student number so that a permission to register can be entered.
  • After getting email confirmation from the department, students taking the course for credit can register themselves and pay their tuition on PAWS.  Students wishing to audit the course can contact Student Central at using their PAWS email account and request to be registered as an audit student in the course, tuition will be paid on PAWS.  


Tuition and student fees will vary depending on citizenship and whether a participant is taking the course for credit or audit.

Tuition and Student Fees for Canadian Students
Credit- $797.40 CAD + $57.97 CAD
Audit- $398.70 CAD + $57.97 CAD

Tuition and Student Fees for non-Canadian Students
Credit- $1,794.15 CAD + $57.97 CAD
Audit- $897.08 CAD + $57.97 CAD

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 while taking the course or after completion, you decide to withdraw or switch from credit to audit, please contact U of S Student Central (, or phone 1-877-650-1212) for details. 

  • Last day to change from credit to audit with a 50% tuition refund: November 19, 2023
  • Last day to change from credit to audit (with no refund): December 15, 2023

Further Information

For further information...

  • For questions about course content - Prof. John Pomeroy (
  • For CSHS-related matters - Amber Penner (
  • For queries related to registration - Joni Onclin (
  • For information related to switching from credit to audit - U of S Student Central (, or phone 1-877-650-1212)
    • Note: it is important to use your USask email address.