ONLINE COURSE: Introduction to Groundwater, Watersheds, and Groundwater Sustainability Plans

May 21, 2020 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Understanding groundwater and watersheds and how we monitor, assess, and sustainably manage these resources is critical and integral to California Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) and other water management programs.  Private citizens, professionals, decision makers, executives, agency employees, and stakeholders with diverse backgrounds and in a wide variety of private, non-profit, and government responsibilities are increasingly engaged in the sustainable management and assessment of groundwater and surface water.

This online short course will review the fundamental principles of groundwater and watershed hydrology, water budgets, water quality, and water law and regulation in an intuitive, highly accessible fashion. Through real world examples, participants learn about the most common tools for measuring, monitoring, and assessing groundwater and surface water resources. We then review the key steps and elements of planning for groundwater sustainability.  Case studies are used so participants learn about

  • development of conceptual models, water budgets, and GSP sustainability criteria;
  • designing minimum thresholds and operating targets (measureable objectives) for GSPs and how to link those to monitoring networks;
  • methods for addressing climate variability and climate change;
  • recharge as a tool to enhance groundwater supplies;
  • local Groundwater Sustainability Agency governance; and
  • available online planning resources.


Who Should Attend?

The course is specifically geared towards an audience that is or will be involved in the management, assessment, and protection of groundwater and surface water resources under California’s SGMA or similar programs.  The course will also be useful for those who engage with, e.g., source water assessments, urban water management plans, and integrated regional water management plans. Course attendees, who may have some experience with but no formal training in hydrology or related engineering or science fields, will benefit from the basic and intuitive, yet comprehensive approach of this course.


May 21 and 28, June 4, 18, and 25
9 a.m. – 12 p.m.  PDT (GMT-0700)

Location: This shortcourse will be provided online using Zoom. Participants will be sent instructions upon registration.

Course Materials Included: Presentation material will be sent via email. The course fee also includes the accompanying textbook, mailed via UPS to the attendee’s physical address provided

Cost:  $100 / $60

Reduced fees ($60) are available to state agency employees, members of California Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (board, staff, advisory committees) and to participants of the GRA Groundwater Sustainability Planning Summit, June 10-11, 2020.

Scholarships are available for attendees in financial need.

Contact us for the reduced fee or scholarship coupon code before registering:

Late Registration:  You must register at least 24 hours before the course session starts to guarantee that meeting information is sent to you before the short course begins.  If you register after May 20 but before the final registration deadline of June 3, recordings of the short course sessions you missed will be made available.  No registrations are accepted after June 3.

For questions please contact: Christine Stockert or Thomas Harter,

Organized and Sponsored by:

Robert M. Hagan Endowed Chair for Water Management and Policy

University of California Cooperative Extension Groundwater Hydrology Program.