Water Supply Engineering

You will learn to deal with technical aspects of drinking water treatment and distribution in an integrated way, paying attention to the choice of technologies and tools, ranging from low-cost to advanced options.

  • D

    What is Delft based

    This programme will run entirely at UNESCO-IHE in Delft, the Netherlands

  • J
  • E

Delft based, IHE Delft, The Netherlands18 months, starts in October

Apply now for


For whom?

This specialization is designed for engineers working in water supply companies, municipal assemblies, government ministries and consulting companies dealing with water supply. It is particularly geared to the needs of mid-career engineers who are dealing with:

  • Assessment of groundwater, surface water and drinking water quality;
  • Surface water collection and storage;
  • Conventional water treatment plants for groundwater and surface water;
  • Design and operation of advanced drinking water treatment, including membrane filtration systems for desalination and water re-use applications;
  • Sludge treatment and disposal;
  • Water transport and distribution;
  • Master planning of water supply projects;
  • Urban and municipal engineering.


Students who successfully complete this programme will be awarded a MSc degree in Urban Water and Sanitation from IHE Delft.


Start: 15 October 2020
Application deadline: 01 August 2020

Learning objectives

After successfully completing the Water Supply Engineering specialization, graduates will be well equipped to understand:

  • The structure of drinking water supply systems, including water transport, treatment and distribution;
  • Water quality criteria and standards, and their relation to public health, environment and urban water cycle;
  • Physical, chemical and biological phenomena, and their mutual relationships, occurring within water supply systems;
  • Water quality concepts and their effect on treatment process selection;
  • The interaction of water quality and the materials being used;
  • Hydraulic concepts and their relationship to water transport in treatment plants, pipelines and distribution networks;
  • The importance and methods of operation and maintenance of water supply systems;
  • Options for centralised and urban systems versus decentralised and rural systems;
  • Be able to define and evaluate project alternatives on basis of chosen selection criteria;
  • Water supply engineering within a watershed context.

In addition, graduates will be able to:

  • Design and rehabilitate raw water abstraction, transport, treatment and distribution processes and systems;
  • Use statistical and modelling tools for simulation, prediction of performance and operation of water supply system components;
  • Communicate effectively in oral and written presentations to technical and non-technical audiences.

Structure & contents

This specialization consists of 14 modules covering a total of 12 months, this is followed by a 6-month research and thesis phase. Graduates of the programme will be awarded 106 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits.

  • October - April

    IHE Delft, The Netherlands
    • Introduction to Water for Development Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Reflect critically on water related interventions, formulate own standpoint and engage constructively in debates
      2. Place the specialized knowledge on own discipline into a broader understanding of water related issues, challenges, debates and developments
      3. Recognize and distinguish different ways of knowing and framing water questions and problems in order to appraise water challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective
      4. Familiarize with the educational environment and procedures of IHE Delft and collaborate in multidisciplinary and intercultural teams
    • Introduction to UWS 1 Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. List legislative requirements for safe water and develop Water Safety Plan.
      2. Describe reactions in water treatment.
      3. Describe waterborne infectious diseases and pathogens.
      4. Develop paragraphs, avoid plagiarism, analyse, interpret and present data.
      5. Calculate stoichiometric relationships in reactions and balance them.
      6. Describe elements and bonds between them.
    • Introduction to UWS 2 Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Forecast water demand and formulate water demand management measures.
      2. Practice critical reading and scientific writing
      3. To discuss the basic concepts of fluid properties, hydrostatics, fluid flow in closed conduits, and basic hydraulic structures.
      4. Understand the basic concepts of GIS (Raster, vector, projections, geospatial analysis) and use a GIS for: Thematic mapping, â—¦Basic data processing and editing, Basic geoprocessing and analysis, DEM processing and catchment delineation.
      5. identify and discuss the basic elements of hydrology, and apply hydrological principles in water and wastewater engineering.
    • Introduction to UWS 3 Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. To describe different strategies for Integrated Urban Water Management, and to explain the consequences for urban water fluxes and the need for stakeholder involvement and planning processes.
      2. Identify the basic principles of microbial metabolism and microbial interactions within the environment. Application of microbiological methods for water and wastewater engineering.
      3. Apply mass balance analysis to natural and engineered water systems, especially for the analysis of microbial growth and substrate conversion in CFST and plug flow reactors.
    • Unit Operations in Water Treatment (Coagulation, Sedimentation, Flotation and Filtration) Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Design a sedimentation tank
      2. Determine design parameters for coagulation, filtration, sedimentation, and dissolved air flotation from laboratory experiments
      3. Apply theoretical principles to practical aspects of coagulation, filtration, sedimentation, and dissolved air flotation
      4. Describe the theoretical principles of the unit processes: coagulation, filtration, sedimentation and dissolved air flotation in conventional surface water treatment
      5. Be able to judge the performance of the unit processes:coagulation, filtration, sedimentation, and dissolved air flotation
    • Disinfection, Adsorption and Natural Processes for Water Treatment Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Explain the principles of disinfection, drinking water quality, natural treatment systems, adsorption and activated carbon filtration processes
      2. Integrate theoretical principles of disinfection with practical aspects of evaluation of disinfection systems
      3. Prepare conceptual design of appropriate processes following the evaluation of water quality characteristics and the intended use of the treated water
    • Groundwater Resources and Treatment Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Assess if given (ground)water is aggressive against materials used in water a supply system and propose appropriate neutralisation technique(s).
      2. Understand advanced groundwater treatment approaches applied in The Netherlands
      3. Establish appropriate treatment approach for groundwater containing commonly occurring impurities and pollutants including iron, manganese, ammonia, fluoride, arsenic and hydrogen sulphide.
      4. Understand importance of groundwater as a source for drinking water production and assess overall quality of a given groundwater.
    • Water Transport and Distribution Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. distinguish between the main components of non-revenue water and methods of leakage assessment, survey, detection and control;
      2. propose preliminary hydraulic design that will integrate economic aspects, choose adequate components, and judge technical solutions dealing with the network maintenance, rehabilitation, and expansion;
      3. understand the basic corrosion mechanisms and suggest the list of preventive and reactive measures.
      4. demonstrate understanding of the steady-state hydraulics by being able to select appropriate pipe diameters, indicate optimum location of reservoirs and identify pumps capable to supply the demand;
      5. distinguish between different network configurations and supplying schemes; recognise various consumption categories and their growth patterns, including water leakage; define the relation between the main hydraulic parameters
      6. apply the above theoretical knowledge by learning to perform computer-aided hydraulic calculations and predict the consequences of demand growth on the hydraulic performance of particular WTD system
    • Desalination and Membrane Technology Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Understand the principles of microfiltration and ultrafiltration and gain knowledge of their capabilities and constraints in water treatment applications, and have practical knowledge on the operation of these processes.
      2. Understand the principles of desalination with reverse osmosis, and be capable of applying this knowledge in designing and selecting appropriate membrane processes for a specific application.
      3. Explain the basic principles of chemical softening and ion exchange in water treatment
      4. To define and classify fouling types and scaling, and propose mitigation activities for controlling fouling in reverse osmosis systems through pre-treatment.
      5. To evaluate the need and type of pre-treatment for RO systems
      6. Understand the principles, explain, and judge advantages of various advanced oxidation processes for removal of contaminants
    • International Fieldtrip and Fieldwork UWS Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. International Field Trip: To expose the participants to different international practises in the design, operation and management of water supply, wastewater, solid waste and urban civil infrastructure networks.
      2. Fieldwork: To familiarize the participants with performing research on location, how to process real data, and how to apply the newly acquired knowledge to a practical situation.
    • Elective module 10 UWS Elective

      Choose one of the following modules:

      • Industrial effluents treatment and residuals management
      • Water Treatment Processes and Plant Design
      • Urban water systems
    • Elective module 11 UWS Elective

      Choose one of the following modules:

      • Strategic planning for river basins and deltas
      • Urban water governance
      • Remote sensing for agricultural water management
      • Wetlands for livelihoods and conservation
      • Water sensitive cities
      • Faecal sludge management
      • Decentralised water supply and sanitation
      • Modelling river systems and lakes
      • Solid waste management
      • Advanced water transport and distribution
      • Hydroinformatics for decision support
    • Summer course Required

      Choose between eight one week summer courses. Topics include water diplomacy, water science communication, leadership, entrepreneurship, and serious gaming for the water sector.

    • Groupwork Sint Maarten Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Defend the groups' findings in front of a team of experts in the field.
      2. Recommend engineering solutions to water and sanitation related problems.
      3. Assess his/her own strengths and weaknesses with respect to working in a group.
      4. Analyze complex water and sanitation issues in a limited time frame and with limited background information available.
      5. Apply and integrate the knowledge obtained during the specialisation to solve water and sanitation related issues
      6. Defend his/her input in an (interdisciplinary) team of specialists.
    • MSc research proposal development for UWS Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Prepare participants for independent working in the laboratory.
      2. Prepare participants for writing an MSc proposal | thesis.
    • MSc research, thesis and defence Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Demonstrate academic attitude and learning skills (incl thinking in multidisciplinary dimensions & distinguishing main issues from minor ones), to enhance & keep up-to-date the acquired knowledge and application skills in a largely independent manner.
      2. Formulate well-founded conclusions and recommendations based on a comprehensive discussion of the results.
      3. Conduct research, independently or in a multidisciplinary team by selecting and applying appropriate research methodologies and techniques, collecting and analysing data.
      4. Communicate, debate and defend, clearly and systematically, findings and generated insights, and provide rational underpinning of these in oral and written presentations to a variety of audiences.
      5. Formulate research questions and hypotheses
      6. Explore the background of the research problem by critically reviewing scientific literature; Evaluate relevant theories and applying these theories to a relevant scientific problem; Assure adequate delineation and definition of the research topic

Tuition & fellowships

Tuition Fee

Information about tuition fees can be found here.



The following fellowships are recommended for prospective students who wish to study Water Supply Engineering

  • Joint Japan Worldbank Graduate Scholarship Programme (JJ/WBGSP)

    We expect to have more information on the availability of JJ/WBGSP scholarships for MSc programmes at IHE Delft in the beginning of 2020.

    more info: www.worldbank.org

  • Orange Knowledge Programme

    The Orange Knowledge Programme is a €195-m Dutch global development programme, available in 53 developing countries and managed by Nuffic, a Dutch non-profit organisation for internationalisation in education. Launched mid-2017, it aims to have provided tens of thousands with the possibility to change their future through education and training by mid-2022.

    More info:

    Orange Knowledge Scholarships for MSc Programmes

    Orange Knowledge Scholarships for Short Courses

  • Rotary Scholarship for Water and Sanitation Professionals

    The strategic partnership between The Rotary Foundation (TRF) and IHE Delft Institute for Water Education aims to tackle the world’s water and sanitation crisis by increasing the number of trained professionals to devise, plan, and implement solutions in developing and emerging countries. Through this partnership, a limited number of scholarships are awarded annually for graduate students at IHE Delft Institute for Water Education’s campus in the Netherlands. These scholarships are designed to promote long-term productive relationships between Rotarians and highly skilled water and sanitation professionals in their communities.

    more info: http://www.un-ihe.org/Rotary-Scholarships-for-Water-and-Sanitation-Professionals

Application & Admission

Admission requirements

Academic admission to IHE Delft MSc Programmes may be granted to applicants who provide evidence of having:

  • A university level Bachelor’s degree in an appropriate field, which has been awarded by a university of recognised standing, comparable in level with a Bachelor degree from a research university in the Netherlands.
  • A good command of the English language, if this is not the first language. All non-native English-speaking applicants must satisfy the English language requirements for IHE Delft's educational programmes.
  • A strong motivation to successfully complete the programme.

Several years of professional experience in an area of work related to the specialisation is an asset.

Application procedure

For admission to the programme please complete the online application, the link to the application section of our website is available at the top of this page.

You need to submit the following documents:

  • Certified copies of degrees/diplomas.
  • Certified copies of academic transcripts. Authenticated or certified copies are copies with an official stamp to verify that the copies are true copies of original documents. This official stamp may be from one of the following: a solicitor/notary, the educational institution from where the student gained the diplomas or the local council/local authority/local government office.
  • Two Recommendation letters which must be printed on official letterhead paper and need to be signed and dated. We do not accept recommendation letters which are older than 1 year nor which have copied and pasted signatures and/or letterheads. If you are employed, one of the recommendation letters should be from your current employer and not older than 3 months.
  • Motivation letter; explain in maximum 500 words why you wish to be admitted to the chosen programme and how it will benefit you in the future. The letter must show that you understand what the chosen programme is about.
  • Copy of passport.
  • Copy of results of English language test score (if required, see English language requirements).

If any of the original documents is not in English we additionally need an official English translation by a sworn translator.

Multiple MSc applications (for the same academic year) are not allowed, unless there is a period of at least 3 months between the starting dates of the programmes of interest. If a student applies for an Erasmus Mundus programme for which Erasmus Mundus scholar ships are available, he/she can also apply for another programme. If the other programme is also an Erasmus Mundus programme, the applicant can submit up to 3 applications.

More information

Further questions about the application procedure can be found at our FAQ page, or can be addressed to:

Ms Marlies Baburek
Admission and Fellowship Officer
Email: m.baburek@un-ihe.org


Connect with us

Never miss a thing!