CE 547 - Groundwater Modeling

Fall Semester 2023

Brigham Young University - Dept. of Civil and Construction Engineering

Norm Jones

430Q Engineering Building


801-422-7569 (office)

Lectures: 234CB 9:30 - 10:45 am T-Th

Course Objectives

The objective of this course is to give you a thorough introduction to groundwater flow modeling and modeling principles in general. This course is application oriented. We cover the fundamental equations and the modeling theory but the emphasis is on teaching you how to solve real world problems. At the end of the semester, you should feel confident in your ability to develop and calibrate a complex 3D groundwater model.

Most of the homework assignments for this course are solved with a computer. We will learn to use several groundwater models including MODFLOW and MODPATH. We will also be using the Groundwater Modeling System (GMS). GMS is a graphical pre- and post-processor for the groundwater models we will be using. Using GMS will allow you to learn the fundamental issues related to groundwater modeling without forcing you to spend hours manually organizing input data in a text editor. GMS is available to you on campus in the CAEDM lab the CAEDM labs. If you wish to use GMS on your home computer, you may download a PC version of GMS from the Aquaveo Website. After you have downloaded and installed GMS, launch GMS and select the Register command in the File menu. E-mail the security string to me and I will give you a temporary password that will enable GMS.

Teaching Assistant



1. Harr, A Civil Action (OPTIONAL)

This is a best-selling non-fiction novel that happens to be a legal thriller about a major court case involving a series of deaths which may have been linked to groundwater contamination. It was awarded the title of Best Non-Fiction Novel of 1995. I think you will enjoy it and it will provide us with some very interesting topics of discussion. Also, our term project will involve building a model of the groundwater flow system described in the book. The book has been made into a movie starring John Travolta. But, of course, the book is always better than the movie.

2. McDonald and Harbaugh, A Modular Three-Dimensional Finite-Difference Groundwater Model, U.S.G.S. (FREE)

This is the reference manual for MODFLOW, a model we will discuss in great detail. The manual is public domain (not copyrighted). Click on the link above to get an electronic copy. This is the entire manual minus most of the FORTRAN source code.

Page last edited: 03/19/2024