Module: Sustainable Management of Soil and Water

Module details

  • Module code

  • Module leader

    Dr Philip Staddon
  • Module Level

  • Module credits

  • Min study time

    150 hours
  • Contact hrs

    32 hours

Module content

This module seeks to evaluate the sustainability of existing and proposed systems for managing soil and water in the agricultural environment.

Recognition of soil types; management of physical issues including structure, organic content, erosion control etc.; management of nutrient supply including fertiliser and organic materials. Control of contamination and pollution (PTEs, sewage sludge and industrial amendments).

Soil-water interactions; crop requirements, irrigation and drainage. Water supply, collection techniques, water conservation measures (mulches, etc.); risk and avoidance of salinization and sodicity.

Sustainability of soil resource use. Evaluation of farming systems [organic, integrated, conventional], proposed protection strategies and risk posed by climate change.

Module outcomes

To achieve credit for this module, students must be able to:

  1. Examine and critically appraise the application of the fundamentals of pedology and hydrology in sustainable resource management.
  2. Evaluate the sustainability of systems for managing the soil resource.
  3. Evaluate water resource use within the environment.


Assessment Description Weighting
Coursework Individual report 100%

Assessments may differ in 2020/21 due to adjustments for Covid-19. Please check Gateway for the latest regulations.

Key texts

Students should be familiar with the content of at least one of the following:

  • Burton, M. (2010). Irrigation Management, Principles and Practices. CABI.
  • Cook, H.F. and Lee, H.C. (1995). (Eds.). Soil Management in Sustainable Agriculture. Wye College Press.
  • European Environment Agency (2000). Down to Earth: Soil Degradation and Sustainable Development in Europe: A Challenge for the 21st Century. (Environmental issue report; 16). European Environment Agency.
  • Gleick, P.H. (2009). The World's Water 2008-2009: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources. Island Press.
  • Gupta, S.K. (2011). Modern Hydrology and Sustainable Water Development. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Houghton, J. Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. Parliament (1996). Sustainable Use of Soil: Nineteenth report. HMSO.
  • IAEA (2005). Nutrient and Water Management Practices for Increasing Crop Production in Rainfed Arid/Semi-arid Areas. IAEA-TECDOC-1468.
  • Lal, R. (1995). Sustainable Management of Soil Resources in the Humid Tropics. United Nations University.
  • Magdoff, F.R. and Weil, R.R. (2004). Soil Organic Matter in Sustainable Agriculture. CRC Press.
  • Millar, A. (2011). (ed.). Soil Health and Sustainability. Strategic report produced by the Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network.
  • Molden, D. (2007). Water for Food, Water for Life: A Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture. Earthscan.
  • Newson, M. (2009). Land, Water and Development. 3rd edition. Routledge.
  • Pascual, U., Shah, A. and Bandyopadhyay, J. (2009). Water, Agriculture and Sustainable Well-being. Oxford University Press.


  • Journal of Sustainable Agriculture.
  • Soil Use and Management.