Grand Gulch, Utah

Groundwater Hydrology

CE 4376-020
27849 Class
4:30 pm-5:50 pm
Worrell Hall 205




Groundwater Science, Second Edition

Charles Fitts 2012

 ISBN-10: 0123847052  | ISBN-13: 978-0123847058 |






Heath Basic Textbook

Groundwater Atlas of United States Map

Heath Groundwater Regions of the United States

Winter: Groundwater and Surface Water: A Single Resource

Bennett: Introduction to Ground Water Hydraulics Programmed Text

Boundary and Initial Conditions

System and Boundary Conceptualization

Geophysical Methods

Theory of Aquifer Tests

Sustainability of Groundwater Resources

Tindall: Unsaturated Zone Hydrology

Winter: Lakes and Groundwater

Hem: Chemistry of Natural Water







This class will cover the fundamentals of groundwater hydrology along with an introduction to contaminant transport.


In the laboratory each group will:

a) Design an experiment to simulate a real world situation,
b) Perform the flow portion of the experiment,
c) Model the flow and transport portions of the experiment to make a prediction,
d) Perform the transport experiment,
e) Compare the prediction to the experimental results, and
f) Calibrate the model to make predictions and measurements match.


Professor: John Walton, Office Hours: T, R 2-4 PM (may be in Hydraulics Lab)

Horseshoe Mesa Barrier Group Pictographs, Canyonlands National Park



  Date Topics Assignments

T January 20

Lesson 1

Chapter 1: Water Budget


Problems: 1-2, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11   Solutions

R January 22

Lesson 2

Chapter 2: Physical Properties


Problems: 2-3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 17, 18, 21 Solutions

T January 27

Lesson 3

Chapter 3: Principles of Flow


Groundwater movement (Jay Lehr Slides) (Jay Lehr: Artesian Flow System, Complex Geologic Media, Cone of Depression, Flow Through a Fault, Gaining Stream, Recharge, Refraction, Single Well, Unsaturated Flow, Edwards Aquifer)

R January 29

Lesson 4

Laboratory Session

Meet in E-213 - Hydraulics Lab

Set up experiments, show dye tricks, water balance methods, have each group finalize their experiment. Have individuals pick their watershed/basin.

Group Projects: Each group must provide an outline of the experiment, how it is to be performed and what will be measured.

Individual Projects: Each student must provide a description of their system with hyperlinks to the USGS, EPA, and State data/analysis sources.



T February 3

Lesson 5

Chapter 3: Principles of Flow


Problems: 3-4, 5, 17, 20, 21, 22, 24   Solutions

Excel Spreadsheet for Log Normal Fit to Flow Data


R February 5

Lesson 6

Chapter 3: Principles of Flow

Video: Soil Physics

(right click and download first)


T February 10

Lesson 7

Chapter 4: Field Exploration and Wells

Field Trip: Well Installation (across from Carl's Junior)

7120 Airport Road
El Paso, TX 79906



Show NGWA videos


Video Links


R February 12

Lesson 8

Chapter 5: Hydrology and Geology


The well is located approximately halfway between Airport Road and Global Reach Blvd. on Walter Jones Blvd. The well is on the north side of the road where Founders Blvd. transitions into Walter Jones Blvd.

From Airport Road, proceed east on Founders for 1.5 miles. The well will be on your left. Look for a white El Paso Water Utilities truck.

Hint: The Carl's Jr. Is located on the corner of Airport Road and Founders (7120 Airport Road).


Go over national atlas, groundwater/ surface water interaction Winter paper, surface and groundwater interaction powerpoint from 2012; Mesilla bolson, Rio Grande flow rates show base flow recovery

Groundwater Atlas of United States Map

Winter: Groundwater and Surface Water: A Single Resource


T February 17

Lesson 9

Chapter 5: Hydrology and Geology

Edwards Aquifer   Model

Mesilla Bolson    Aquifers


R February 19

Lesson 10

Chapter 5: Hydrology and Geology

Individual Project Show and Tell and Due Date: Describe your system. Show the class the fit between measured flow data and the log-normal fit to the data. Turn in the fit spreadsheet and description. Show your work to the rest of the class using a handout of your fit and the interpretation.

Problems: 5-3, 8, 11, 16   Solutions


T February 24

Lesson 11

Chapter 6: Deformation, storage, and General Flow Equations 6-1, 3, 5, 7, 14, 19 Solutions

R February 26

Lesson 12

Chapter 7: Modeling Steady Flow



T March 3

First Midterm


Powerpoints: A B C D E F    


R March 5

Lesson 13

Chapter 7: Modeling Steady Flow

Problems: 7-1, 2, 3 Solution

  T March 10 Spring Break


  R March 12 Spring Break



T March 17

Lesson 14

Chapter 8: Modeling Transient Well Hydraulics

Use the AQTESOLV software to analyze a series of pump tests using data from their example problems (G.P. Kruseman and N. Ridder: Analysis and Evaluation of Pumping Test Data (second edition, completely revised), 1994). Compare your fit results to their results.

Aqtesolv Online Lesson


R March 19

Lesson 15

Chapter 8: Modeling Transient Well Hydraulics



T March 24

Lesson 16

Laboratory session (1/14) have them show their model of their system and predict what will happen

Review Modflow and Other Modeling Issues


Topo Software



R March 26

Lesson 17

Chapter 9: Computer Assisted Flow Modeling

Student Groups should present the Excel Model predicting how their system will perform. The Excel sheet should be used for the presentation along with hand outs and/or PowerPoint as appropriate. Each group should plan to talk for 15 minutes.



T March 31


Cesar Chavez Day no Class




R April 2

Lesson 18

Chapter 10: Groundwater Chemistry

Homework: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 15, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24 Solutions


T April 7

Lesson 19

Chapter 10: Groundwater Chemistry



R April 9

Lesson 20

Chapter 10: Groundwater Chemistry

Second Midterm


T April 14

Lesson 21

Chapter 10: Groundwater Chemistry

Individual Projects: Students will present the precipitation/evapotranspiration data for their system using Excel and turn this file in for grading. Students will then discuss the water quality issues for their system using appropriate graphs to illustrate to the classs (PowerPoint, Excel, handouts, draw on board, as appropriate).



R April 16

Lesson 22

Chapter 11: Groundwater Contamination Homework: 1, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 16, 23, 24 Solutions

T April 21

Lesson 23

Chapter 11: Groundwater Contamination  

R April 23

Lesson 24

Lab session, perform experiments We will work in the laboratory to assist with performing experiments (schedule this one on one with JCW)

T April 28

Lesson 25

Chapter 11: Groundwater Contamination Individual Projects: Students will present and discuss their system groundwater management plan with the class using handouts, chalk board, etc.

R April 30

Lesson 26

Chapter 11: Groundwater Contamination  

T May 5

Lesson 27

Lab session 3: final presentations (held in classroom)

Students present final modeling results that compare prior and post model predicitons versus measured data. This should include:

a) heterogeneous steady state model in Excel
b) pre-experiment model prediction
c) experimental results (dye traces, measured heads, measured inputs, measured discharge, boundary conditions)
d) comparison of experimental results to apriori prediction
e) modify model to better match measured results (called calibrating the model)
f) compare measured results to calibrated model (measured versus modeled heads, measured versus modeled fluxes, measured versus modeled dye traces)


R May 7

Third Midterm

  T May 12   4-6:45 PM Individual Project Final Reports Due
  2010 Tests First  Second Final     

Internet sites:

Sand Tank Dimensions


Hueco and Mesilla Bolsons

Online hydrology text

DOE Remediation Site

Class Projects:

Student groups performed a series of experiments using equipment in the Hydraulics Laboratory. The measured
and modeled results are shown in the PowerPoint presentations. The groundwater models are in Excel format.

Flow around barrier to a well experiment and simulation
Plume capture experiment and simulation
Infiltration with flow to surface water
Flow to well showing plume migration experiment and simulation

Flow under sheet pile










Grading will consist of 3  exams (50%), laboratory experiments (25%), and individual projects (25%).

Tests will be part open book and part closed book. Open book tests allow for use of the textbood, and one page (1 side) of student notes. Closed book portions allow for one page of notes. The tests will cover class lectures, assigned homework, and assigned reading.  Some old tests are included as links on this web page.

Projects: Groundwater Spring 2015


Groups of 3 or 4 Students:   In the laboratory each group will:  a) Design an experiment to simulate a real world situation, b) Perform the flow portion of the experiment, c) Model the flow and transport portions of the experiment to make a prediction, d) Perform the transport experiment, e) Compare the prediction to the experimental results, and f) Calibrate the model to make predictions and measurements match.  Document this in a PowerPoint presentation with more detailed backup slides (i.e., some pages with smaller fonts intended to be read but skipped over in the presentation). Deadlines will be spread throughout the semester. The hydraulic conductivity of the sands in the Hydraulics Lab is around 0.75 to 0.25 cm/s.


Each Individual Student: Pick a watershed/ groundwater basin of his or her choice. Students should spend some time online to make sure information is available for the chosen watershed. Each student must have a different system. Local systems (Mesilla Bolson, Hueco Bolson, Gila River are OK).

Links (partial list of sites):
EPA Surf Your Watershed:
California Watershed Portal:
Illinois State Water Survey:
Texas Water Development Board:
New Mexico Groundwater Basins:
USGS New Mexico Groundwater Publications:
New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute:
Arizona Department of Water Resources:

Intermediate deadlines will occur throughout the semester and then everything assembled in a final report. 75% of any lost credit can be recovered in the final report if noted problems are fixed.

1. (10%) Fit the flow data from the main stream to a log-normal distribution. Make a probability curve to examine goodness of fit. (Optionally you can use another distribution) (show how to do this in Excel)
2. (10%) Describe the geology and aquifer system(s) in your watershed. Show any available piezometric surface maps. (2-3 pages)
3. (10%) Make a recharge and discharge budget for the groundwater in your watershed. What fraction of discharge does pumping represent? Is the groundwater being mined or are recharge and discharge in balance.
4. (10%) What are the water quality issues? Describe the water chemistry of the major aquifers in your system. What controls that chemistry? What are source of contaminants and salinity?
5. (10%) Estimate the average rate of precipitation and evapotranspiration for your watershed. Show graphs of how it varies annually over a period of > 10 years. (show students how to access online Utah State data)
6. (10%) Outline a plan for managing your watershed. This includes: aquifer water quality, aquifer recharge enhancement if needed, limitations on pumping, etc.
7. (40%) Explain your results in a PowerPoint presentation and 10-15-page paper. (most of paper is graphs and figures).





Policy on Cheating

Students are expected to be above reproach in all scholastic activities. Students who engage in scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and dismissal from the university. "Scholastic dishonesty included but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, the submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, taking an examination for another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit such acts." Regents' Rules and regulations, Part One, Chapter VI, Section 3, Subsection 3.2, Subdivision 3.22. Since, scholastic dishonesty harms the individual, all students, and the integrity of the university, policies on scholastic dishonesty will be strictly enforced. In short, cheating will not be tolerated.

Class Format

The class will generally consist of short lectures followed by problem solving sessions. Some of the problem solving sessions are intended to promote thought and discussion; others are to work through homework. It is expected that the student will have read the relevant chapter and worked all assigned homework prior to coming to class. A portion of the class will be online.