Introduction to Groundwater Resources (#1012)

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CEUs: 0.15
Level: Introductory


Shifting and increasing populations, as well as changing weather patterns, have garnered greater attention to where the world will obtain its water supplies both now and in the future. Increase your general knowledge about groundwater, its movement, vulnerabilities, and sustainability during this online offering that serves as both a primer and a refresher course that addresses topics such as:

  • How do groundwater and surface water differ and what is the impact of their interaction?
  • What is a water budget?
  • What are permeability and porosity and how does each affect groundwater flow?
  • When and to what constituents is groundwater most vulnerable?

Additional information

Learning objectives

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain the hydrologic cycle and its drivers
  • Differentiate between surface water and groundwater
  • Utilize tools to quantify the amount of water in a particular geographic location
  • Describe aquifer flow
  • Quantify groundwater flow through porous media
  • Understand the fundamentals of Darcy’s law
  • Explain the importance of scale
  • Identify categories of contaminants
  • Differentiate between dose and toxicity
  • Project potential risks.

Who will benefit from taking this course?

  • Those with an Earth-science background
  • Public health officials
  • Regulatory officials.
Course outline

Lesson 1: Overview of water resources

This module introduces an overview of water resources on Earth. Discussions of the distribution of water and availability of water are presented in the context of the hydrologic cycle. Quantifying water in a system is also described as it applies to a water budget equation for a drainage basin.

Lesson 2: Aquifers and groundwater movement

This module defines groundwater, porosity and permeability, and aquifer yield characteristics. The module also presents scale as a consideration for approaching assessment of groundwater impact.

Lesson 3: Basics of quantifying groundwater flow

This module introduces applications of Darcy’s law for quantifying groundwater flow rates. An explanation of how Darcy developed his empirical measurements and calculations that led to quantifying flow through porous media is provided. Generalizations regarding hydraulic conductivity and hydraulic gradients as an indicator of aquifer permeability are demonstrated.

Lesson 4: Contaminant hydrogeology

This module presents an overview of contaminant hydrogeology. The module contains an overview of contaminants of concern. Also, aspects of fate and transport, and chemical characteristics are combined with descriptions of dose and toxicity of contaminants. Applications of U.S. EPA screening levels are presented as a tool for assessing impact of contaminants of concern. This module will also explore web pages so that users will understand how to use these resources.

Estimated time to complete the course: 90 minutes. Note that an exam is given after each section.

Taking an NGWA online course

Immediately after completing your registration for this NGWA Online Training Center course, you can access it one of two ways.

  1. Click the link included on your order confirmation that will be emailed to the address on record.
  2. Click the “My Account” button on, log in with your email and password, click on “My Registrations” on the menu bar to the left, and then click on the link just below the title of the course you’ve purchased.

Visit the NGWA Online Training Center course FAQs page for more information. Please note the course must be completed within 30 days of registration and can only be taken once. Any resources must be downloaded within the 30 days you are a student. (All sales are final.)

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  • NGWA member price — $89
  • Nonmember price — $139