Groundwater Modeling

Spring 2019, 20, 22 - 4 Hours 


This graduate course is a project-based class with weekly projects designed to teach how to:

  • build numerical flow models with Python or Excel from scratch

  • build/run simple MODFLOW models with a text editor

  • generate, run, and analyze models with a Graphical User Interface (GUI)

  • discretize real world settings with a finite difference (gridded) model

  • choose appropriate boundary conditions

  • calibrate and validate models using real-world data

  • simulate solute transport and groundwater residence time

  • simulate density-driven flow and transport

  • build a groundwater model to explore your research questions or interests

We use USGS MODFLOW, the international standard for simulating groundwater conditions and groundwater/surface-water interactions in industry, government, and academia. The class is groundwater-focused, but lessons are broadly applicable to other numerical modeling applications.

Undergraduates enrollment permitted with instructor permission.


Groundwater: This course assumes you have basic knowledge of hydrology and groundwater flow – you should understand Darcy’s Law and how to apply it.           

Computers and Math: I will assume familiarity with Excel and/or some mild programming experience and a willingness to learn.


"The in–class/homework assignments helped put the theory and background information we were learning to practice. Not only were we learning the GUI, but also the broader reasons, practices, and pitfalls of modeling." - 'Student' Spring 2020