Beyond Groundwater Modeling: Integrated Simulation of Watershed Systems using ParFlow

May 17 - 19, 2017


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Accurately characterizing the spatial and temporal variability of water and energy fluxes in many hydrologic systems requires an integrated modeling approach that captures the interactions and feedbacks between groundwater, surface water, and land- surface processes. Increasing recognition that these interactions and feedbacks play an important role in system behavior has lead to exciting new developments in coupled surface-subsurface modeling, with coupled surface-subsurface modeling becoming an increasingly useful tool for describing many hydrologic systems.

This NSF-sponsored short course will provide a brief background on the theory of coupled surface-subsurface modeling techniques and parallel applications, followed by many examples and hands-on experience using ParFlow, an open-source, object-oriented, parallel watershed flow model. ParFlow includes fully-integrated overland flow; the ability to simulate complex topography, geology and heterogeneity; and coupled land-surface processes including the land-energy budget, biogeochemistry, and snow processes. ParFlow is multi-platform and runs with a common I/O structure from laptop to supercomputer. ParFlow is the result of a long, multi-institutional development history and is now a collaborative effort between CSM, LLNL, UniBonn, and UC Berkeley. Many different configurations related to common hydrologic problems will be discussed through example problems.

Day One will focus on the fundamentals of ParFlow and how to run it in the linux environment. The basics of code operations, input structure and postprocessing will be discussed for fully-saturated flow problems. Numerous examples will be used with generous lab time for practice and question and answer sessions. Day two will focus on simulating unsaturated and overland flow problems, discussion of the nonlinear solution techniques, output and solver settings. Day three will focus on coupled land-surface problems using CLM and how to set up watershed applications. Finally, day three will include parallelism



Dr. Reed Maxwell is a Professor of Hydrology in the Geology and Geological Engineering Department and the Director of the Integrated GroundWater Modeling Center (IGWMC) at the Colorado School of Mines. His research interests are focused on hydrology, particularly scientific questions relating to understanding connections within the hydrologic cycle and how they relate to water quantity and quality under anthropogenic stresses. He has authored more thans 85 peer-reviewed journal articles and teaches classes on integrated hydrology, fluid mechanics and modeling terrestrial water flow. He leads a research group of 15 graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and staff housed in the IGWMC at CSM. Before joining the faculty at Mines, Dr. Maxwell was staff in the Hydrologic Sciences group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and he holds a Ph.D. degree in Environmental Water Resources from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Nick Engdahl is an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Washington State University. His research focuses on integrated systems modeling across the full range of scales with an emphasis on residence time and reactive transport. He is an experienced ParFlow user and developer that has added the recent visualization modules as well as several other improvements to the general code. He is at the forefront of modeling age distributions in multi-domain integrated models, which uses ParFlow and its associated programs.

Dr. Laura Condon is an assistant professor at Syracuse University in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department. Her research focuses on groundwater surface water interactions and feedbacks within managed natural systems over large scales.  She is an experienced ParFlow developer and has built multiple regional scale models in addition to helping develop the recent ParFlow model of the continental U.S. She also developed a linear optimization water allocation module for ParFlow, which can be used to incorporate dynamic water management decision making into ParFlow-CLM models.



The fee for the short course is $500 by 4PM Mountain Daylight Time, May 1, 2017 ($600 after May 1), and $100 for students with a valid student ID.  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, MasterCard, AMEX, Discover or purchase order (US Only). A maximum of 20 applicants will be able to attend the course due to space limitations.

If cancellation is made by May 1, 2017, tuition will be refunded. Cancellations made after that date will forfeit a $100 processing fee. 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.



The course will be held at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO. (Room and building TBA)

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 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).



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