MODFLOW-USG: A Conceptual Modeling Approach Using Visual MODFLOW Flex

June 2, 2013


The course is designed to introduce the participants to the concepts and applications of the MODFLOW-USG code using the Visual MODFLOW Flex interface. MODFLOW-USG is a new version of MODFLOW that uses UnStructured Grids; this is a fundamental shift from the rigid finite difference structured grids used by MODFLOW-2005 and LGR, familiar to many groundwater modelers. There are several differences in modeling approach that should be followed in order best leverage the capabilities of the MODFLOW-USG code. This course will discuss the theory of MODFLOW-USG, the input/output files, and how Visual MODFLOW Flex can be used to build the input files and analyze and interpret the results from a MODFLOW-USG run. The course provides a combination of lectures and hands-on exercises that are based on real-world problems.

Registration begins at 8:00 AM and the class runs from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

Participants should bring their own laptop computer with the Windows XP or later operating system.



MODFLOW-USG provides a level of gridding capability that far exceeds what most MODFLOW modelers are familiar with. The first step in creating your unstructured grid is to provide shape inputs for the grid design. These take the form of points (well locations), and polylines and polygons representing boundary conditions. An unstructured grid can then be generated with local refinement around these objects, providing for effective, local-scale representation of your wells, observation points, and hydrological features.

The development of a reliable and accurate groundwater model requires two components - a conceptual model and a numerical model. Why not save time, money, and frustration by creating them both in one place? Visual MODFLOW Flex (VMOD Flex) provides an integrated software environment for conceptual and numerical modeling. The conceptual model is constructed using GIS data objects: surfaces, shapefiles, well logs, etc, in a 2D/3D environment. An unstructured grid can be generated for the model site, using the conceptual objects. Numerical models can be efficiently generated and run in a matter of minutes.

By following a conceptual modeling approach, and having flow boundaries and wells represented as grid independent points, polylines, and polygons, this will dramatically facilitate generation of the unstructured grid and locally refining the grid around these features. Complex geological elements are defined as conceptual volumes, representing pinchouts, discontinuities, and perched aquifers, lenses, etc. These objects can serve as inputs for defining the vertical layers, including generation of sub-layers, and populating the finite volumes with the appropriate parameter values.

Learn how your models can easily evolve and adapt as they become more complex, or if your objectives change. Discover the power of communicating your results effectively with rich 3D graphic visualizations.



All participants will receive a 30-day trial version of Visual MODFLOW Flex software for the course exercises, and for evaluating the software with their own data sets/models afterwards.



Participants should have an understanding of the basics of groundwater modeling and the fundamentals of USGS MODFLOW.



Printed copies of the exercises will be provided.



Wayne Hesch, B.Sc. is the Senior Product Champion for Visual MODFLOW, at Schlumberger Water Services. Wayne has completed his Bachelor of Science Degree at University of Waterloo, and the Environmental Engineering Program at Conestoga College. Wayne has taught courses on conceptual modeling, groundwater modeling, and water quality data management for more than 7 years, for public and private organizations at venues around the world.

Sorab Panday, Ph.D., AMEC. Dr. Panday is the lead author of MODFLOW-USG and will introduce participants to the various features, functionalities and capabilities of MODFLOW-USG. He brings 23 years of experience and leadership in water resource and contaminant transport modeling. His expertise includes development of state-of-the-art simulation model codes and customized solutions for environmental flow and transport investigations. Dr. Panday is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Waterloo. 



The course will be held at the Colorado School of Mines (Room TBA). A campus map will be sent upon enrollment.

All Visitor parking areas will have a pay and display parking meter. When arriving on campus for the first time, look for a parking meter, find a space in that location, pay the meter and display the receipt on your dash. You will find brochures at each of our parking meters that can also help guide you around the campus.



The fee for the short course is $495 by 4PM Mountain Daylight Time, May 17, 2013 ($595 after May 17).  You will be invoiced for the tuition balance. The fee covers instruction, course notes, refreshments, and continuing education units. Lodging and meals are not covered. Payment in full must be received prior to the beginning of the course. The registration fee may be paid by check, VISA, MasterCard, AMEX, Discover or purchase order (US Only).

If cancellation is made before May 17, 2013  , tuition will be refunded except for the $100 deposit. Cancellations made after that date will forfeit a $150 processing fee in addition to the $100 deposit. In case of cancellation, the right to course material is forfeited. Substitutions are permitted at any time prior to the start of the course. Please be advised that if the program is cancelled due to insufficient enrollment, Colorado School of Mines will return all course fees, but will not be liable for any other expenses incurred by the prospective attendees.

To register click here.



The Colorado School of Mines is located in Golden, which is 20 minutes west of Denver, 1 hour west of the Denver International Airport and can be reached by taxi, airport shuttle or rental car. It is strongly recommended that for events held on the CSM campus, attendees select accommodations within .5 miles of the campus if a rental car or personal transportation will not be available, as taxi service and public transportation from other areas may involve significant delays and costs. Lodging is available in Golden, within walking distance of the campus.

Denver Shuttle Service from Denver Airport

To get to SuperShuttle when you land, take the train from the Concourse to the Terminal. Pick up your luggage and proceed to the SuperShuttle counter located on Level 5/Baggage Claim, adjacent to the water feature in the center of the terminal. Counter staff will issue tickets and give directions to the van loading areas. For information, call 1-800-BLUEVAN. Their ticket counters are closed between 12am and 6am. If you arrive between these hours, please use the courtesy phone located at the ticket counter to notify dispatch of your arrival. Please contact a shuttle provider directly for more information on fees and destinations served. Shuttles pick-up and drop-off from Jeppesen Terminal Level 5, Island 3, outside doors 505-507 (east side) and 510-512 (west side).

Super Shuttle International Denver

Phone: (800) 525-3177

Web site:

Rental Cars

All Rental car companies at DIA are located on airport property but are away from the main terminal. Each rental company provides a courtesy shuttle to and from Jeppesen Terminal from their locations. All courtesy shuttles pick-up and drop-off from Jeppesen Terminal Level 5, Island 4, outside doors 505-513 (east side) and 504-512 (west side). If you are arriving in Denver, please follow the overhead signage for the appropriate pick-up location, or check-in at your company's counter in the center of the Terminal.
For more information, please visit at


Taxis are readily available and service within the eight counties that make up the Denver metro area. Some companies may also provide service to other destinations within the state of Colorado. Check with your cab company of choice (or directly with your driver at the airport) for more information on fares and destinations served. Fares to Golden area are based on the taxi’s meter and it costs about $70-85 plus the $3.75 airport access fee. Taxis pick-up and drop-off from Jeppesen Terminal Level 5, Island 1, outside doors 507-511 (east side) and 506-510 (west side).




© 2012 Integrated GroundWater Modeling Center | Mines Privacy Policy