Groundwater, Watersheds, and Sustainable Management Shortcourse

For  Groundwater Sustainability Agencies, Water Agencies, and Stakeholders:

Introduction to Groundwater and Watershed Hydrology
​Understanding, ​Monitoring, and Assessment for Sustainable Management


November 14-15, 201​7​

Conference Center, 550 Alumni Lane, University of California, Davis

Co-Sponsored by:
University of California Cooperative Extension Groundwater Hydrology Program

Approved MCLE Credits - 13.25 hours



Course Description

​Understanding the fundamental principles of groundwater and watershed​s and how we monitor, assess, and​ ​sustainably manage these resources with climate change and variability is critical and integral ​to Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) and other water-related programs. Whether​ at the local, state, or federal level​, these programs are designed for sustainable development, management, and protection of water resources in California ​ among competing users​. ​As Groundwater Sustainability Agencies in California begin developing their GSPs, professionals, decision makers, executives, and employees with diverse backgrounds and in a wide variety of private, non-profit, and government responsibilities at local, state, and federal levels, become directly or indirectly involved in the ​sustainable ​ management and assessment of groundwater and surface water to meet the requirements of ​the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Yet, many participants find themselves lacking the multidisciplinary background, expertise, or means to meet the technical and regulatory challenges related to water resources management. The amount of technical information available often seems overwhelming.

This shortcourse will review the fundamental principles of groundwater and watershed hydrology, water budgets, and water quality in an intuitive, highly accessible fashion. The course will provide an overview of the most common tools for measuring, monitoring, and assessing groundwater and surface water resources, and it will review current local, state, and federal programs dealing with groundwater, ​sustainable ​groundwater management, and watersheds with an emphasis on GSPs. Case studies will be presented to demonstrate and explain key elements of Groundwater Sustainability Plans related to monitoring, identifying sustainability goals, and applying important GSP concepts.


Who Should Attend?


The course is specifically geared towards an audience that is or will be involved in the management, assessment, and protection of groundwater and surface water resources under SGMA, including members of local governments, community groups, local agency advisory committees, and landowners; the course would also be of interest to those that engage in any role with, e.g., source water assessments, urban water management plans, and integrated regional water management plans. Course attendees will benefit from the basic and intuitive, yet comprehensive approach of this course.


Shortcourse Instructors

Randy A. Dahlgren, Ph.D.,  is a professor of Soil Science and Biogeochemistry in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at the University of California, Davis. His research program in biogeochemistry examines the interaction of hydrological, geochemical, and biological processes in regulating surface and ground water chemistry.  He is currently involved in water quality research spanning the scale from hillslopes and vernal pools to small headwater catchments (<10 ha) to the combined Sacramento-San Joaquin watersheds.  Randy received his Ph.D. and M.S. in forest soils from the University of Washington and his B.S. in soil science from North Dakota State University.  He was a post-doctoral research associate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Syracuse University before coming to UCD in 1989. He has served as Chair of the Hydrologic Science Graduate Group, Director of the Kearney Foundation of Soil Science, and Chair of the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources. He is a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America, holds the Russell L. Rustici Endowed Chair in Rangeland Watershed Sciences, and is the recipient of the UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement.


Helen E. Dahlke, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in Integrated Hydrologic Sciences at the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at the University of California. Her research focuses on contributing to a better mechanistic understanding of hydrological processes and their links to climate and biogeochemical cycling. She has extensive experience researching a wide range of hydrological processes in the field including the transport of various constituents (phosphorus, carbon) and conservative tracers. She received her B.S. and M.S. in Geography from the Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena, Germany and her Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Cornell University with emphasis on soil and water engineering, water resources and environmental geophysics. Before coming to UC Davis in 2013, Helen was a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology at Stockholm University, Sweden where she studied climate change impacts on the hydrologic cycle and glaciers in the Scandinavian Mountains. Helen is currently managing a project that is exploring the feasibility of using agricultural fields as recharge sites for groundwater banking.


Thomas Harter, Ph.D., is the Robert M. Hagan Endowed Chair for Water Resources Management and Policy at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Harter received his BS and MS in Hydrology from the Universities of Freiburg and Stuttgart, Germany; and his PhD in Hydrology from the University of Arizona.  Dr. Harter's research and extension emphasizes the nexus between groundwater and agriculture. His research group focuses on nonpoint-source pollution of groundwater, sustainable groundwater management, groundwater and vadose zone modeling, groundwater resources evaluation under uncertainty, groundwater-surface water interaction, and on contaminant transport. His work uses a range of numerical, statistical, and stochastic modeling approaches and field work to evaluate the impacts of agriculture and human activity on groundwater flow and contaminant transport in complex aquifer and soil systems, and to support development of tools needed in agriculture and by decision- and policy makers to effectively address sustainable groundwater management and water quality issues in agricultural regions.


Guest Speakers from Consulting and Agencies (see Agenda).


Cooperating Agencies:

Butte County

Department of Water Resources

Association of California Water Agencies

Local Government Commission

Public Policy Institute of California

Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis

University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources


Event Justification Tookit:

By now you know the value of GRA event attendance for keeping up with evolving industry priorities, state-of-the-practice technologies, and emerging strategies for the challenges facing the groundwater world. In addition, GRA events offer fantastic opportunities for networking, learning from vendors exhibiting the latest tools and technologies, and exposure for your organization.

But how do you convey the value of GRA event attendance to your supervisor? Check out GRA's Event Justification Toolkit for tips.


Tue, Nov. 14 - Wed, Nov. 15, 2017
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Event has ended


UC Davis Conference Center
530 Alumni Lane
Davis, CA 95616