RWater: A Cyber-enabled Data-driven Tool for Enhancing Hydrology Education
Enhancing students’ analytical ability of interpreting complex hydrologic processes from limited classroom environment has been a subject of long-standing research. From this perspective, a new internet-based educational tool, called RWater, is developed using Purdue University’s HUBzero technology. The current version of RWater interface includes the following three elements: (i) coding workspace, (ii) visualization window, and (iii) instruction modules, providing a self-contained learning environment that instructors and students can use from any location and/or device. Following real-time hydrologic data-driven modules, students can write small scripts in R to create visualizations identifying the effect of rainfall distribution and watershed characteristics on streamflow response, seasonal characteristics of hydrologic cycle, and investigate the impacts of landuse change on streamflow. Each module contains relevant definitions, instructions on data extraction and coding, as well as conceptual questions based on the possible visualizations which the students would create. while the development of RWater was motivated by the need to include cyber-enabled hydrology instruction for middle and highschool students, it can also be used for undgraduate or graduate education.


Instructions on creating an account and accessing RWater are provided in this document.


A list of RWater modules, available as pdf documents from the links on the left, is provided below. Modules 1-2 do not involve any programming in R, but all other modules involve R programming.

- Module 1: Understanding the Hydrologic Cycle
- Module 2: Effect of Rainfall Intensity on Streamflow Response
- Module 3: Understanding Rainfall-Streamflow Relationship from Real-time Gage Station Data
- Module 4: Effect of Watershed Characteristics on Runoff Generation and Streamflow Response
- Module 5: Hydrograph Analysis to Study the Effect of Urbanization on streamlow
- Module 6: Flow Duration Curve Analysis to Study the Effect of Urbanization on Streamflow
- Module 7: Flood Frequency Analysis to Study the Effect of Urbanization on Streamflow

This work is funded by Purdue College of Engineering and the National Science Foundation (#OCI-1041379). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the investigators and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.