The University of Sheffield
Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
Civil Modules

Current Module Sheet

The information contained within this module sheet is subject to change at any time.

CIV4704/6704 Undergraduate & Postgraduate Module


Credits: 10

Semester : Autumn

Pre-requisities : None

Year offered: 2017-18

Programme Regulations Finder


Dr Domenico Bau

Academic Webpage

Module Description:

Hydrogeology is an introductory survey of the geologic and hydrologic factors controlling the occurrence, movement, and development of subsurface water. The course includes applications to groundwater resource development, and management of chemicals in groundwater, whether they are natural occurring or pollutants. This module is designed for non-geologists and leads towards qualitative and quantitative analyses of the behavior of groundwater at local and regional scales.


Introducing the basic concepts of hydrogeology to non-geologists, including relevant aspects of geology and hydrology, with particular emphasis on subsurface fluid flow and chemical transport.

Developing an understanding for solving basic hydrogeological problems
Equipping students with skills for qualitative and quantitative analyses of the behavior of groundwater at local and regional scales.

Provide an overview of current issues in the field of groundwater hydrology.
Provide a basis for further, applied groundwater coursework.

Learning Outcomes:

[1] Demonstrate an understanding of groundwater flow and its relation to topography, hydrology and geology.

[2] Interpret hydrogeological field data, including resolving inconsistencies and dealing with uncertainty.

[3] Identify the significant components of subsurface water balances, and conduct basic water balances calculations.

[4] Demonstrate an understanding of major methods for subsurface characterization.

[5] Demonstrate an understanding of solute transport in groundwater.

[6] Prepare an outline design for a groundwater investigation


Three timed tests in weeks 9, 10, and 11. Group coursework assignment is scheduled for weeks 10-12 (hydrogeological site investigation with a written report required by the end of week 12). An invigilated unseen exam is given at the end of semester.

Please note, these assessments may be subject to change.






Written Test (LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4) 10 1
Written Test (LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4) 10 1
Group Coursework eg lab reports, designs etc (LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5) 20
Written Test (LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4) 10 1
Written Exam Invigilated (LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5) 50 2.5
Autumn Exam Period
Autumn Results Day

Assessment Preparation:

The tests are to demonstrate that the students have acquired the knowledge provided by the teaching. The investigation design with oral presentation is to work in teams against a time constraint, synthesize knowledge and demonstrate skills in gathering and summarizing information in presentations. The examination is to test the ability to analyze field data, develop conceptual models of unfamiliar hydrogeological conditions and identify information requirements and suitable investigation techniques.
In order to prepare for the exam students needs to:
1) study lecture notes (made available on the MOLE page for the module)
2) read sections of the recommended textbooks and other articles as suggested in the lecture notes. Some articles are posted on the MOLE page for the module.
4) Study  solutions to problems solved during lectures and example classes. A large library of problems with solutions is provided to students during the semester. These problem are of the same level of difficulty as those found in the final exam.

Exam Preparation Folder


Tutorial sheets with discussion and feedback will be given in class.

Teaching Methods :

Lectures will consist of presentations from the course instructor and - occasionally - guest speakers to develop basic understanding and general knowledge of the course topics. Readings will be assigned for each lecture. These readings will not necessarily duplicate the lecture material, and students will be responsible for knowing both the lecture and readings. Some lectures will be devoted to tutorials, in which the instructors will interact with students in the solution of a series of practical problems, or in the discussion and evaluation of case studies.

Three in-class tests will be given in weeks 9-11 of the course in order for the instructor to verify that students have mastered the material presented in the lectures and can progress to more challenging coursework.

For coursework, students will be subdivided in groups of 2-3 individuals and conduct research activities concerning hydrogeological investigations. Each group will present summarize their findings in an oral presentation given during week 12. A project report will be submitted at the end of week 12. At the end of the semester, students will take a final comprehensive exam to test their overall understanding of qualitative and quantitative solute transport.

Please note, these are the approximate hours spent on each teaching activity.




Lectures 20
Problem Solving / Example Classes 10
Tutorials 12
Independent Study(including Prep for Assessment) Private Study including Group Working 55.5
Invigilated Examination Written Examination 2.5

Outline of Syllabus:

1. Water and the Subsurface Environment
a. Why study hydrogeology, geology, rocks and aquifers
b. Groundwater and the hydrologic cycle
c. Physical properties of porous media
d. Groundwater contamination

2. Fluid Flow and Mass Transport
a. Revision of head and flow principles
b. Darcy's law
c. Fluid flow and mass and energy fluxes
d. Advection, diffusion and dispersion

3. The Geological Setting
a. Aquifer types Flow patterns
b. Geology, topography and flow
c. Unconsolidated deposits
d. Field Investigations

4. Water Movement in Geological Formations
a. Conservation of fluid mass in porous media
b. Groundwater flow equations
c. Analytical Solutions for flow problems
d. Well hydraulics

5. Contamination of subsurface water
a. Contaminant types
b. Conservation of solute mass in porous media
c. Solute transport equations
d. Analytical solutions for solute transport problems

Health & Safety:

Recommended Reading:

(Click to see)

[1] Class BookG.F. Pinder and M.A. Celia, Subsurface Hydrogeology. John Wiley and Sons, 2006.

[2] RecommendedF.W. Schwartz and H. Zhang: Fundamentals of Groundwater. John Wiley and Sons, New York. ISBN 0-471-13785-5, 2003, 583 pages.

[3] RecommendedJ. Bear: Hydraulics of Groundwater. McGraw-Hill, 1979.

[4] RecommendedR.A. Freeze and J.A. Cherry: Groundwater. Prentice Hall, 1979.

[5] Highly RecommendedG. de Marsily, Quantitative Hydrogeology: Groundwater Hydrology for Engineers. Academic Press, Inc., 1986.