Hydrology of island systems

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The purpose of this course is to contribute to the sustainable management of water resources in small volcanic islands.

The general objectives of this course are:

- Understand the specificities of the hydrologic cycle in small islands and evaluate the water resources in these regions;

- Understand the factors that influence the occurrence of freshwater in small islands and assess the problems associated with its exploration;

- Develop methodologies to plan and manage water resources in small islands.


1. Freshwater resources on small volcanic islands,
2. Water issues and problems
3. Factors affecting freshwater resources in small islands,
4. Water balance and hydrological processes,
5. Groundwater resources assessment
6. Water resources planning and management.

Teaching Methodologies

The course load is organized in lectures (75%) and practical classes in the field environment (25%).

The lectures are given using the projection of contents and the debate and resolution of specific issuesrelevant to the objectives with the purpose to familiarizethe students with the materials listed in the syllabus.

The practical classes focus on the observation and analysis of situations related to the island hydrologic cycle.


Cruz, J.V. e Amaral, C. Estudo Hidrogeológico da Ilha Graciosa (Açores – Portugal). 7º Congresso da Água. 2004. Lisboa.

 Custódio, E. Llamas, M.R. Hidrologia Subterrânea. 2ª ed. Ed. Omega, 1983.

Falkland, A., Hydrology and water resources of small islands: a practical guide. UNESCO, 1991 (ISBN 92-3-102753-0)

Fetter, C.W., Applied hydrogeology. Prentice Hall, inc. 1994. (ISBN 0-13-088239-9)

Jóhannesson, T., Aðalgeirsdóttir, G. and  Björnsson, H., Effect of climate change on hydrology and hydro-resources in Iceland. NEA, 2007. (ISBN 9789979682240).

Maidment, David, R., Handbook of Hydrology. McGraw-Hill, 2006 (ISBN 0-07-039732-5).

Renken, R.A., Geology and hydrogeology of the Caribbean islands aquifer system of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. USGS, 2002. (ISBN 0-607-99361-8)

White, I, Falkland, T., Management of freshwater lenses on small Pacific islands. Hydrogeology Journal, 2010 – Springer Verlag

Vacher, H.L. and Ayers, J.F.Back ← Abstract ↓ Descriptors ↓ Top ↑ , Hydrology of small oceanic islands — Utility of an estimate of recharge inferred from the chloride concentration of the freshwater lenses. Journal of Hydrology, Vol. 45, Issues 1–2, 1980, (21–37)



ECTS Credits



  • Práticas e Laboratórios - 26 hours
  • Teóricas - 20 hours

Evaluation Methodology

  • Frequency: 75%
  • Practical component: 25%