CE En 547 - Groundwater Modeling

Fall Semester 2017

Brigham Young University - Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Norm Jones

242L Clyde Bldg


801-422-7569 (office)

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

Course Objectives

The purpose of this course is to give you a good introduction to groundwater flow modeling. The official title of the class used to be "Groundwater Flow and Pollutant Transport Modeling". We have dropped the "Pollutant Transport" portion since we now offer a transport modeling class taught by Gus Williams.  This course is a pre-requisite for the transport course which is taught in the following semester.

The "seepage" portion of this course has been moved to CE En 544 - Seepage and Slope Stability Modeling.

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.

We will be using ArcGIS for some problems later in the semester. ArcGIS is available on the CAEDM network.

Teaching Assistant

Xiaohui (Sherry) Qiao
E-mail: xhqiao89@gmail.com

Student Accounts

Each of you has a student account for this class that will be used to log in to take the online exams. You can log on to your student account to edit your password

Student Account Logon Page

The password to logon to your account was mailed to you at the beginning of the semester. You can use the Forgot Password link on the Logon page to recover your password.


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.

3. Anderson and Woessner, Applied Groundwater Modeling, Academic Press (OPTIONAL).

This is a good textbook on groundwater modeling but it is quite dated at this point (last edition -> 1992). The focus is less on fundamental theory and more on practical applications. The material matches this class quite well and it should be a good reference book for you in your future modeling careers.

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Page last edited: 09/15/2017