ENV 714b/ENAS 646b () / 2021-2022
Note: this course information is for the 2021-2022 academic year, not the current academic year (2020-2021).
Spring 2022: Time and location TBA
Groundwater quenches the thirst of more than one third of the planet’s population. It also supports 40 percent of the world’s irrigated agriculture, while enabling production of numerous commodities that make us comfortable and content. Groundwater is in high demand and, in some places, we’ve taken too much, causing streams to disappear, land to sink, and wells to run dry. Groundwater in other places has been ruined by pollutants that are dangerous side effects of mining, reckless agricultural practices, and unchecked industrial processes. Unless we begin to make better decisions, stresses on groundwater resources will worsen, ultimately to the detriment of human health, food security, and ecosystems. This course introduces principles of and approaches to hydrologic science requisite to informing the smart management of groundwater resources. It is designed for M.E.M., M.E.Sc., and Ph.D. students seeking to (i) learn about processes governing the circulation, availability, and quality of groundwater; (ii) apply hydrological models used by environmental professionals to evaluate groundwater resource issues; (iii) gain familiarity with methods used to interpret data encountered in groundwater-oriented problems; and (iv) sharpen analytical skills that have broad application to environmental science and management. Hydrology is a quantitative science, so students enrolled in ENV 714 should be comfortable with arithmetic and algebra and should have completed at least one semester of college calculus. Students use hydrologic simulation models during this course and may, depending on the level of interest, learn to develop simple computer models themselves. But previous experience with hydrologic models or computer programming is not assumed or needed to succeed in the course. There is very little content overlap between ENV 714 and other ENV courses, including ENV 724