EOSC 533 · Advanced Groundwater Hydrology

Finite-difference models of steady-state and transient groundwater flow in the saturated and unsaturated zones; applications to regional groundwater flow, groundwater recharge, subsurface contributions to streamflow, and aquifer evaluation. This course is not eligible for Credit/D/Fail grading.

Course Availability & Schedule

Learning goals: 

Learning Goals


This course will give the student the tools to analyze a physical groundwater flow problem. You will be able to use the fundamental principles of saturated and unsaturated groundwater flow to formulate and solve groundwater problems using numerical models of groundwater flow.

Detailed learning goals


  1. Can identify the principal controls on groundwater flow at a site or for a problem
  2. Can develop a conceptual model of a site
  3. Can quantify groundwater heads, fluxes, travel times, storage and dewatering rates
  4. Can identify situations where conventional potential formulations do not apply (density – dependent flow, multiphase flow)
  5. Can recognize the distinction between flow of water and that of gases and non-aqueous phase liquids. 
  6. Can select and implement appropriate analyses of groundwater flow "fit for purpose" - simple models for simple data, start with analytical, numerical if data / scope project objective requires
  7. Can implement an iterative approach of problem conceptualization, data collection and analysis
  8. Can account for heterogeneity in analyses of groundwater flow
  9. Can design a site characterization program to determine the most important properties that affect problem to be addressed at the site:
    1. Boundary conditions
    2. Hydrostratigraphy
    3. Problem dimensions
    4. Transient or steady stay
  10. Can use Modflow or similar software to analyze steady-state (maybe transient) groundwater flow
  11. Can identify the strengths and limitations of a numerical groundwater flow model, including sources of numerical error
  12. Can select appropriate methods to identify parameters for groundwater analyses:
  13. Analytical methods, scoping calculations, order of magnitude
  14. Inverse modeling/model calibration
  15. Can present analyses succinctly at level appropriate for audience
  16. Can communicate uncertainty, focusing on effects on decisions/design.
  17. Can place results in the context of engineering design and decision making.
  18. Can recognize tradeoffs between uncertainty/risk and project costs.




Roger Beckie

Jennifer Levenick

Willy Zawadzki