EOSC 329 · Groundwater Hydrology

Introduction to theory of groundwater flow; flow nets; regional groundwater resource evaluation; well hydraulics; role of groundwater in geologic processes. [2-2*-2*] Prerequisite: One of MATH 101, MATH 103, MATH 105, MATH 121, SCIE 001.

Course Availability & Schedule

Learning goals: 

Acquire knowledge of physical groundwater hydrology as a basis for a career as a professional geoscientist or engineer.

Develop the ability to analyze groundwater problems and identify tools and pathways that could lead to their solution.

Be able to: formulate clear answers using logical arguments, create qualitative descriptions, and develop quantitative models to fit observations.

Learn to design and carry out groundwater exploration programs.

Understand principles of exploration design.

Develop and think in a quantitative framework, and be able to analyze problems with mathematical methods.

Be able to understand the distinction between theory and observation.

Be able to organize and complete projects with finite resources and time.

Be able to work well in teams or individually.

Develop a capacity for independent learning. Take on part of the responsibility for individual education.

Focus: practical problem solving and calculations.


Fall 2018:
Professor Uli Mayer

Head TA: Hannah Gatz-Miller

Recommended supplemental texts:

Freeze and Cherry, Groundwater, 1979. Available free of charge on-line at: http://hydrogeologistswithoutborders.org/wordpress/1979-toc/

Additional supplemental text:

Schwartz and Zhang, Fundamentals of Groundwater, 2002

Fetter, C. W., Applied Hydrogeology, 3rd Ed., 1990, or 4th Ed. 2001, MacMillan Pub.

Domenico, P.A., and F.W. Schwartz, Physical and Chemical Hydrogeology, 2nd Edition, Wiley, 1998.

Lecture Topics

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Darcy's Law, hydraulic conductivity and fluid potential
  • Chapter 3: Piezometers, head measurements, gradients and 3-point problems, relationship between permeability and hydraulic conductivity, validity of Darcy's law
  • Chapter 4: Representative elementary volume (REV) concept. Homogeneity and heterogeneity. Isotropy and anisotropy. Flow parallel and across layers. Upscaling
  • Chapter 5: Aquifers and Aquitards - Conceptual models of groundwater flow
  • Chapter 6: Steady state groundwater flow equation and boundary value problems
  • Chapter 7: Flow nets - construction and interpretation, average linear groundwater velocity
  • Chapter 8: Storage and transient groundwater flow; effective stress, compression, consolidation and subsidence; 2D horizontal plane aquifer models
  • Chapter 9: Flow to wells, pumping tests and slug tests, parameter estimation
  • Chapter 10: Flow in unconfined aquifers - applications to dewatering​
  • Chapter 11: Principle of superposition for calculating drawdows, capture zones, travel times and wellhead protection
  • Chapter 12: Regional groundwater flow and groundwater sustainability - Final exam preparation and logistics


Lab Percent of lab mark (15% total)
Beach lab 1
Permeameter 1
Hydrogeological data / Intro to Betul 2
Flownets 2
Boundary Value Problems 2
Parameter Estimation 2
Dewatering lab 5