Subsurface Hydrology

Part 1: Groundwater Cycle Groundwater is the single largest reservoir of available freshwater on Earth. Part 1 explores the essential processes and properties that affect underground water. Part 2: Wells Hydraulics To use the water from the ground, we first have to extract it! Part 2 introduces wells hydraulics. Part 3: Groundwater Contamination Part 3 describes the principles of transport in aquifers so that engineers can predict and plan the safe extraction of groundwater for private and public use.


Credit Hours:


Learning Objective:

After completing this course, successful students will be able to:

Part 1

  • Describe the global and local water balance and quantify groundwater recharge from hydrographs
  • Identify underground waters, describe the properties of aquifers, and recall their classification
  • Explain and apply Darcy's law
  • Derive the groundwater flow equations, apply their solutions to solve practical problems
  • Understand the vadose zone and the influence of soil water content on groundwater recharge

Part 2

  • Describe the steady state flow to wells in confined and unconfined aquifers
  • Describe the unsteady flow to wells in confined, semi-confined, and unconfined aquifers
  • Explain slug tests
  • Model aquifers and wells
  • Explain how well fields work

Part 3

  • Describe the advection and dispersion transport processes in porous media
  • Solve advection and dispersion
  • Solve reactive transport problems
  • Apply transport models to real world problems

Topics Covered:

Basic wave mechanics (wave descriptors, wave propagation, wave shoaling and refraction, and surf zone processes); water level fluctuations (storm surge, tides, and longer-timescale processes); breakwater design (armor stability, run-up, overtopping, transmission); sediment transport (wave- and current-caused); shoreline protection measures.


Undergraduate courses in hydraulics, differential equations and computer sciences are recommended but not required. 


12 homework assignments comprising 67% of the final grade.


3 exams comprising 33% of the final grade. 


Applied Hydrogeology, C.W. Fetter, Pearson Education 0-13-88239-0