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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

(2.0 credit)
Sourav Ray
Assistant Professor
Civil & Environmental Engineering, SUST


Lecture One

Suggested Readings
1.D.K. Todd, Ground Water Hydrology
2.Ralph C. Heath, Basic Groundwater Hydrology
3. H.M. Raghunath, Ground Water

Topics to be covered today

Hydrologic cycle
Vertical zones of subsurface water
Hydraulic Budget
Publication Sources
Data Sources

Ground water
Groundwater is the water that occurs in a saturated zone of variable
thickness and depth below the earths surface.
It is therefore the water beneath the earths surface from which wells,
springs, and groundwater run-off are supplied.
22% of all fresh water occur underground
Aquifer: Underground formation that holds and yields water
A good aquifer needs to be both porous and permeable
The branch under which we study groundwater is known as hydrogeology

Ground water
River- 7 ft/s
Lake- 0.75 ft/s
GW- 0.33 ft/day
Maybe if you stayed your seat days you would see
the water drop move !!!

The hydrologic cycle

The hydrologic cycle

It is defined as all of the water on, over and in the Earth,

and the processes by which that water moves between reservoirs

The hydrologic cycle consists of 5 main reservoirs (storage places for water). In
order of descending volume, they are:
1) Oceans (98% of all water)
2) Ice caps (1.8%)
3) Groundwater (0.6%)
4) Lakes and rivers (0.01%)
5) Atmosphere (0.001%)

Distribution of Water

The volume of the reservoirs is not fixed. Water is recycled between each of the
reservoirs via the processes of:
1) evaporation (water to gas)
2) condensation (gas to liquid; e.g., clouds)
3) runoff (liquid water flowing over the land; e.g., rivers)
4) infiltration liquid water flows into the ground (groundwater

Global Hydrologic Cycle

Domenico and Schwartz, 1990.

Basin Hydrologic Cycle

Charbeneau, 2000.

Basin Hydrologic Cycle GW/SW Interaction


So how does groundwater get into the ground?

Surface materials - porous (i.e., have lots of void spaces between grains) and
permeable (i.e., all of the void spaces are connected). Water that enters the
voids is called pore water and it tends to move downward.
The mechanism driving infiltration is gravity and its the same reason that water
flows downhill in rivers. So as water infiltrates the subsurface, it is moving
downhill, that is, straight down.
The actual path that the water takes is tortuous because it has to flow through
the pores between grains (see the cartoon below), and it is a relatively slow

But if the material at the surface of the Earth is both porous and permeable,
eventually, a lot of the water that falls during rain storms will infiltrate the soil.
If all of the pore spaces get filled up with water, the excess runs off into
streams and rivers. Water that passes into the ground will continue to
percolate downward until it hits a barrier (e.g., a non-porous layer or the
bedrock), or it simply fills up all of the available pore space.
You can actually identify two separate layers or horizons below the surface of
the Earth that are distinguished by the amount of water that fills pore spaces.
The layer where water only partially fills pore space is called the Zone of
Aeration (or vadose zone) and the layer below this where water entirely fills
pore space is called the Zone of Saturation (or phreatic zone).
The two layers are separated by an important plane called the water

Vertical Distribution of
Ground Water

Charbeneau, 2000.

Vertical Zones of Subsurface

Soil water zone: extends from the ground surface
down through the major root zone, varies with soil
type and vegetation but is usually a few feet in
Vadose zone (unsaturated zone): extends from the
surface to the water table through the root zone,
intermediate zone, and the capillary zone
Capillary zone: extends from the water table up to
the limit of capillary rise, which varies inversely with
the pore size of the soil and directly with the
surface tension

Vertical Zones of Subsurface

Water table: the level to which water will rise
in a well drilled into the saturated zone.
Saturated zone: occurs beneath the water
table where porosity is a direct measure of
the water contained per unit volume

Porosity and Permeability

Porosity: Proportion of void space: pore space,
cracks, vesicles
Gravel : 25-45% (1K - 10K), Clay: 45-55%(<.01)
sandstone: 5-30% (0.3 - 3), Granite: <1 to 5%(.003 to .00003)
higher porosity in well rounded, equigranular, coarse grained rocks

Permeability: Measure of how readily fluid passes

through a material
Depends on the size of the pores and how well they are
Clay has high porosity but low permeabilty

Less porosity




<0.01 m/day



0.01 - 10

gravel 25 - 45%

1000 to 10,000

Water table follows the topography but more gently

Intersection of water table and ground surface produces
lakes, streams, spring, wetlands
Ground water flows from higher elevation to lower, from areas
of lower use to higher use, from wet areas to dry areas.

Hydrologic Budget
A hydrologic budget or water budget or water balance provides an accounting of
the inflow to, out-flow from, and storage change in a hydrologic unit such as an
aquifer or drainage basin.
Inflows add water to the different parts of the hydrologic system, while outflows
remove water.
All hydrologic budgets were developed from the following basic continuity equation,
which states that for any designated volume:
Sum of inflows - Sum of outflows = Change in storage

Hydrologic Budget
A basic water budget for a small watershed can be expressed as:

Hydrologic Budget