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.

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    What is Delft based

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

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

New set-up MSc Programmes

IHE Delft introduces a new set-up for its MSc Programmes. From 2022 onwards, the Institute offers the MSc Programme in Water and Sustainable Development (68EC/120EC).

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: 21 October 2021
Application deadline: 01 August 2021

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 and Development Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Familiarize with the educational environment and procedures of IHE Delft and collaborate in multidisciplinary and intercultural teams
      2. Recognize and distinguish different ways of knowing and framing water questions and problems in order to appraise water challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective
      3. Reflect critically on water related interventions, formulate own standpoint and engage constructively in debates
      4. Place the specialized knowledge on own discipline into a broader understanding of water related issues, challenges, debates and developments
    • 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. 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.
      2. Forecast water demand and formulate water demand management measures.
      3. To discuss the basic concepts of fluid properties, hydrostatics, fluid flow in closed conduits, and basic hydraulic structures.
      4. Identify and discuss the basic elements of hydrology, and apply hydrological principles in water and wastewater engineering.
      5. Practice critical reading and scientific writing
    • Introduction to UWS 3 Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Identify the basic principles of microbial metabolism and microbial interactions within the environment. Application of microbiological methods for water and wastewater engineering.
      2. 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. Integrate theoretical principles of disinfection with practical aspects of evaluation of disinfection systems
      2. Prepare conceptual design of appropriate processes following the evaluation of water quality characteristics and the intended use of the treated water
      3. Explain the principles of disinfection, drinking water quality, natural treatment systems, adsorption and activated carbon filtration processes
    • Groundwater Resources and Treatment Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Establish appropriate treatment approach for groundwater containing commonly occurring impurities and pollutants including iron, manganese, ammonia, fluoride, arsenic and hydrogen sulphide.
      2. Understand advanced groundwater treatment approaches applied in The Netherlands
      3. Assess if given (ground)water is aggressive against materials used in water a supply system and propose appropriate neutralisation technique(s).
      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. understand the basic corrosion mechanisms and suggest the list of preventive and reactive measures.
      3. propose preliminary hydraulic design that will integrate economic aspects, choose adequate components, and judge technical solutions dealing with the network maintenance, rehabilitation, and expansion;
      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. 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
      6. 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
    • Desalination and Membrane Technology Required
      Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
      1. Understand the basic principles of advanced oxidation processes and be able to select AOP processes to remove specific contaminants.
      2. Understand the basic principles of chemical softening and ion exchange and their practical application in water treatment.
      3. Be able to select and use appropriate water quality methods and models to monitor and predict fouling in reverse osmosis and MF/UF systems.
      4. Have in-depth knowledge on process design and operation of reverse osmosis plants for brackish and seawater desalination applications.
      5. Be able to select pre-treatment and post-treatment processes required to meet reverse osmosis design guidelines depending on raw water (surface, ground or wastewater) quality and desired permeate quality in potable and industrial applications.
      6. Understand the basic principles of low pressure membrane technology such as ultrafiltration and microfiltration and their practical application in water treatment. And, be able to judge MF/UF operation and select appropriate pre-treatment and cleaning.
      7. Understand the role and limitations of desalination technology in alleviating water scarcity. And, understand the basic principles, advantages and limitations of both thermal and membrane based desalination systems.
    • 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.
    • Module 10 UWS (elective) Elective
      • M3648 - Industrial effluents treatment and residuals management
      • M3551 - Water treatment processes and plant design
      • M3610 - Urban water systems
    • Module 11 UWS (elective) Elective
      • M3609 - Experimental methods in wastewater treatment
      • M3048 - Water sensitive cities
      • M3593 - Decentralised water supply and sanitation
      • M3580 - Remote sensing for agricultural water management
      • M3637 - Water resources planning under changing climate and environment
      • M3214 - Wetlands for livelihoods and conservation
      • M3543 - Sustainability and resilience of water organisations
      • M3417 - Solid waste management
      • M3438 - Advanced water transport and distribution
      • M3422 - Strategic planning for river basins and deltas
      • M3647 - Decision support systems in the water domain
    • Summer course Elective

      Five-day summer course. Elective topics include Sustainable Development Goals, nature based solutions, leadership, gender issues and serious gaming, all related to water science/engineering/management.

    • 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.
    • Thesis 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.

Tuition & fellowships

Tuition Fee

Information about tuition fees can be found here.



Application & Admission

Admission requirements

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

  • A Bachelor degree at level B/B+ (US system) or 2nd upper (British system) 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. Exceptions can be made if a candidate is below this level, but has a substantial experience in the field of the programme and/or has a strong motivation to join the programme.
  • 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


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