Hydrogeology and Groundwater

Module aims

  • To provide a foundation in analytical groundwater as a basis for understanding groundwater behaviour and management. This involves understanding groundwater flow and storage in terms of physical principles and mathematical representations. 
  • To show how physical measurements and tests can be undertaken to evaluate groundwater flow, aquifer hydraulic properties and well yield.  
  • To show the importance of groundwater quality. 
  • To understand the geological context within which aquifers occur and groundwater behaves. 

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this course unit, students will be able to: 

  • To understand the basic principles of groundwater flow and how this can be determined in the field and analysed using models, which are conditioned on field test data and the importance of groundwater as a resource and the need to protect it, both in terms of quantity and quality.

Module syllabus

  • Introduction – Groundwater occurrence & distribution, role in hydrological cycle. Basic terminology – groundwater column. 
  • Groundwater hydraulics – Darcy's law – How groundwater moves through rocks, basic law of groundwater flow. 
  • Geology and hydrogeology – rocks, geological formations, aquifers. 
  • Steady-state groundwater flow - Use of mass balance to develop continuity equation. 
  • Aquifer stress & groundwater storage - Ability of rocks to yield water. 
  • Transient groundwater flow – Time-dependent changes in groundwater flow. 
  • Pumping tests - Methods for obtaining aquifer parameters and testing yield of wells.  
  • Groundwater quality – Natural processes affecting groundwater quality. 
  • Case studies of groundwater systems. 
  • Practical hydrogeology exercise. 

No.  

Topic 

Staff 

01 

Introduction – Groundwater occurrence & distribution, role in hydrological cycle. Basic terminology - groundwater column. 

Prof A. Butler 

02 

Groundwater hydraulics – How groundwater moves through rocks, basic law of groundwater flow (Darcy's law). 

Prof A. Butler 

Field Trip 

Practical hydrogeology session at a field site in Berkshire. 

Prof A. Butler  

Prof D. Peach 

03 

Geology and hydrogeology – rocks, geological formations, aquifers. 

Prof D. Peach 

04 

Steady-state groundwater flow – Use of mass balance to develop continuity equation. 

Prof A. Butler 

05 

Aquifer stress & groundwater storage – Ability of rocks to yield water. 

Prof A. Butler 

06 

Transient groundwater flow – Time-dependent changes in groundwater flow. 

Prof A. Butler 

07 

Pumping tests – Methods for obtaining aquifer parameters and testing yield of wells. 

Prof A. Butler 

08 

Groundwater quality – Natural processes affecting groundwater quality. 

Prof A. Butler 

09 

Hydrogeological applications & case studies. 

Prof D. Peach 

 

Teaching methods

18 hours of lectures and tutorials over 9 sessions, with accompanying problem sheets. In addition, there will be a field practical at a site in Berkshire, which will be run by Denis Peach, a visiting Professor in the Department.

Assessments

Information will be provided separately.

Reading list

Core

Supplementary

Module leaders

Professor Adrian Butler