Spring 2020 - EASC 613 G100

Groundwater Modelling (3)

Class Number: 6514

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 8:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    SWH 10075, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Diana Allen
    1 778 782-3967
    Office: TASC 1 7239



An introduction to groundwater modelling providing the relevant theory and practical experience to develop and test conceptual models, to recognize data requirements, and to identify the limitations of numerical models. State-of-the-art groundwater modelling software will be used. An emphasis is placed on modelling flow in the saturated zone, but unsaturated zone hydrology, solute transport, and density dependent flow are also covered.


Prerequisite/corequisite: EASC 304 (or an equivalent course from another university)

This is an introductory course in groundwater modelling. The course will provide the student with the relevant theory and practical experience to develop and test conceptual models, recognize data requirements, and identify the limitations of numerical models. Assignments and a term project will be completed using state-of-the-art groundwater modelling software. An emphasis will be placed on modelling flow in the saturated zone, but unsaturated zone hydrology, solute transport, and density dependent flow are also covered.

Course Topics:
1. Modeling Fundamentals
2. Conceptual Hydrogeological Model Development
3. Designing the Numerical Model
4. Model Calibration, Forecasting and Uncertainty Analysis, Model Documentation
5. Advanced Topics – Particle Tracking, Solute Transport, Flow in the Unsaturated Zone, Fracture Flow, Heat Transport, Multi-Phase Flow, Density Dependent Flow
The following computer codes will be used or demonstrated:
I.      3-D Flow and Particle Tracking : Visual MODFLOW
II.    3-D Solute Transport: MT3D
III.  1-D Unsaturated Flow: WHI UnSat Suite, MIKE SHE
IV.   3-D Saturated-Unsaturated Density Dependent Flow and Transport - SEAWAT

Course Organization:
One 2-hour lecture and a 3-hour lab. Weekly assignments will be distributed during lab time. A modeling term project that integrates the various skills developed through the assignments will be distributed mid-semester.

Prerequisite: EASC 304 or equivalent


Educational Goals:
Knowledge Development and Application: Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental mathematical underpinnings of numerical modeling in a hydrogeological context. Apply knowledge to develop and test conceptual hydrogeological models using a numerical modeling approach, including selecting appropriate model boundary conditions and model parameters based on hydrogeological data, and approaches for model calibration and uncertainty assessment.

Analytical Skills: Employ advanced skills (numerical modeling using state of the art commercial groundwater modeling software) for hydrogeological problem solving. Apply skills in data management, analysis (calculation, graphing) and evaluation of data and model uncertainty.

Communication Skills: Write a comprehensive modeling report to fully document the development of a conceptual and numerical groundwater model, model calibration and sensitivity analysis, and model application to a problem.


  • Assignments 35%%
  • Modelling Project 50%%
  • Take Home Final Exam 15%%



Anderson, M.P., Woessner, W.W., and Hunt, R.J. 2015. Applied Groundwater Modeling: Simulation of Flow and Advective Transport, 2nd Edition, Academic Press, 564 pp.
ISBN: 9780120581030

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html