Introduction to Groundwater and Watershed Hydrology

Introduction to Groundwater and Watershed Hydrology:

Understanding, Monitoring, Assessment, Sustainable Management

Course Description:

Understanding the fundamental principles of groundwater and watersheds and how we monitor, assess, and sustainably manage these resources under climate change and variability is critical and integral to  many water-related programs. Whether at the local, state, and federal level, these programs are designed for sustainable development and protection of water resources in California  among competing users. Increasingly, professionals, decision makers, executives, and employees of diverse background and in a wide variety of private, non-profit, and government responsibilities at the local, state, and federal level are directly or indirectly involved in the sustainable  management and assessment of groundwater and surface water, including the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act through groundwater sustainability agencies and plans, source water assessments, urban water management plans, and integrated regional water management plans. Yet, many participants find themselves lacking the multidisciplinary background, expertise, or means to meet the technical and regulatory challenges related to groundwater, water and drinking 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 quality, and water contamination in an intuitive, highly accessible fashion. It will then 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. The course is specifically geared towards an audience that is or will be involved in the management, assessment, and protection of groundwater and water resources, particularly through the new Groundwater Sustainability Agencies. Course attendees who may have some experience with, but no formal training in hydrology or related engineering or science fields, will benefit from the basic and intuitive, yet comprehensive approach of this course.

Experienced instructors with a broad in-depth knowledge of California groundwater and watershed hydrology will teach the course. Topics include:

    Surface Water Hydrology and Watersheds
    Groundwater Hydrology
    Managing streamflows
    Water Rights and Water Law
    Surface Water Quality and Contaminants
    Groundwater Quality and Contaminants, Sampling, and Monitoring
    Water quality regulations
    Water quality management and designing BMPs
    Climate change impacts on watershed and groundwater


Who Should Attend:

This shortcourse is directed toward technical staff, consultants, and technical and management personnel in private and public water supply companies, irrigation districts, water districts, local and state agencies, and in resource conservation districts. The course also serves as an excellent introduction to hydrogeology, water resources assessment and monitoring for watershed advisors, watershed group participants, and members of environmental and other stakeholder groups and citizens alliances.

Course Materials:

"Watersheds, Groundwater, and Drinking Water: A Practical Guide" edited by Thomas Harter and Larry Rollins Included in registration fee ($40 value). This guide will help resource managers, planners, and other decision makers better understand and assess water supplies and to define and manage protection areas for water sources. For more information click here:


Course 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 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., received a B.S. in hydrology from the Universities of Freiburg, Germany and a M.S. in hydrology from the University of Stuttgart, Germany. He received his Ph.D. in hydrology (with emphasis on subsurface hydrology) at the University of Arizona. In 1995, he joined the faculty at the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources, University of California, Davis. His research focuses on nonpoint-source pollution of groundwater, groundwater resources evaluation under uncertainty, groundwater modeling, and subsurface contaminant transport. Dr. Harter's research group has done extensive modeling, laboratory, 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 improve management of groundwater resources for agricultural production. In 2007, Dr. Harter's cooperative extension program received the Kevin J. Neese Award from the California Groundwater Resources Association. The award was given in recognition of the program's efforts to better understand groundwater quality issues related to dairy activities and its involvement in improving management practices on dairies.

Samuel Sandoval Solis, Ph.D., received a B.S. in Civil Engineering and a M.S. in Hydraulics, from the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico. He received his Ph.D. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering (with emphasis on water resources planning and management) at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2011, he joined the faculty at the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources, University of California, Davis. His research focuses on designing sustainable water resource systems through: shared vision water planning, collaborative modeling, decision support systems (simulation, optimization and hydrologic models); environmental restoration and conservation policies, risk analysis and climate change. He is currently involved in an international scientific committee that is evaluating strategies to provide environmental restoration flows in the transboundary Rio Grande basin. Also, he has been involved in discussions regarding California Water stainability Indicators with the Department of Water Resources.

Continuing Education Credits:

Continuing education credits are available for SWRCB Division of Drinking Water (DDW) Drinking Water Treatment and Distribution Operators (14 contact hours).

Approved MCLE Credits - 13.25 hours


For more information, contact Sarah Kline at GRA or 916-446-3626.


Mon, Feb. 6 - Tue, Feb. 7, 2017
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Event has ended


Buehler Alumni Center, University of California, Davis
530 Alumni Lane
Davis, CA 95616