The first module is intended to provide the necessary “bricks” needed to approach whatever hydrogeological problem arises. It includes an overview of the elements which can support the hydrogeological studies from different points of view. Specific sections are devoted to data processing and extraction of needed information with maximum efficiency.

Lessons are available as video recordings with live assistance on request.

Essentials Information Technologies 2 F. Lotti
Linear algebra 4 G. De Filippis
Hydraulic properties of soil 2 L. Di Matteo
Hydrogeochemistry 4 A. Barbagli
Isotope hydrology 2 M. Petitta
Groundwater Microbiology 2 P. Pretto
Geophysics 2 A. Menghini
Geotechnical Investigations 2 L. Di Matteo
Structural Geology 2 E. Guastaldi
Environmental Economics 2 S. Leggio
Regulatory framework (EU) 2 M. Sapiano
Data analysis

Working (effectively) with spreadsheets 2 F. Lotti
Statistics 8 E. Guastaldi
Geostatistics 8 E. Guastaldi
GIS 6 G. De Filippis
Relational databases 4 A. Barbagli
Time series analysis 2 I. Borsi
Examples of statistical application 2 M. Meggiorin


The second module begins from the basic principles of groundwater movement in porous media, and graduates to different real-world contexts, all of them characterized by different challenges and problem-solving approaches. Lessons are available as video recordings with live assistance on request.


Introduction and Hydrological balance 2 W. Dragoni
Groundwater 1 W. Dragoni
Applications of the Darcy equation 2 W. Dragoni
Aquifers I – Carbonate aquifers 3 M. Petitta
Aquifers II – Alluvial aquifers 3 T. Bonomi
Aquifers III – Volcanic and crystalline aquifers 3 V. Piscopo
Springs and rivers 4 M. Petitta
Hydrogeological investigations 4 L. Mastrorillo
Wells I – Construction 4 V. Piscopo
Wells II – Aquifer tests 4 V. Piscopo
From the conceptual model to the numerical model 3 T. Bonomi
Contamination Regulatory context (Italy) 1 A. Di Gennaro
Contaminants origin and properties (fate and transport) 4 M. Petrangeli Papini
Advection Dispersion Equations 2 I. Borsi
Unsaturated transport 2 I. Borsi
Sustainable aquifer and groundwater remediation 4 M. Petrangeli Papini
Risk Analysis
in Italian

Conceptual Model 1 M. Falconi
Contamination sources 1 M. Falconi
Transport mechanisms 1 M. Falconi
Site parameters 1 M. Falconi
Risk calculation and thresholds 1 M. Falconi
Gas stations example 1 M. Falconi
Air environmental matrix 1 M. Falconi
Risk analysis software 1 M. Falconi
Coastal hydrogeology

Coastal groundwater systems 1 V. Post
Groundwater flow in coastal aquifers 1 V. Post
Groundwater exploration in coastal regions 1 V. Post
Hydrochemistry 1 V. Post
Modelling 1 V. Post
Management issues 1 V. Post
Geothermal systems Heat transfer mechanisms 1 O. Pedchenko
Low-enthalpy geothermal plants (close loop) 2 O. Pedchenko
Low-enthalpy geothermal plants (open loop) 2 L. Vettorello
Thermal aquifers 2 V. Piscopo
Mineral waters Hydrochemical features and mineralization processes 2 S. Viaroli
Italian regulation on mineral waters production 1 S. Viaroli
The case of a mineralized aquifer 1 S. Viaroli
Mining hydrogeology Relevant data collection and processing 2 G. Nesipbekov
Dewatering and groundwater control 1 G. Nesipbekov
Quality issue connected to mining operations 1 G. Nesipbekov
Civil-engineering constructions Groundwater control for construction 2 M. Preene
Roads 2 V. Francani
Tunnels 2 V. Francani
Dams 2 V. Francani
Groundwater resources management Groundwater use in river basin management 3 R. Rossetto
Rural water management 3 R. Rossetto
Measures for adapting to climate change: managed aquifer recharge 4 R. Rossetto
Potable water supply 2 R. Rossetto
Socio-Hydrogeology Introduction 1 V. Re
Tools and techniques 1 V. Re
Practical applications and case studies 1 V. Re

Groundwater Modelling

The third module starts from the basics of modelling through the use of different codes including MODFLOW, MT3DMS, MODPATH, SEAWAT. Methods to deploy the model are the GUIs ModelMuse (available for free from USGS) and Groundwater Vistas. The GW Vistas course is held by Daniel Feinstein (University of Wisconsin and USGS), who explains not only the GUI functions, but, most important, all the nuances of the code settings and packages in detail.

The succeeding section is fully dedicated to model calibration and uncertainty analysis through the use of the PEST suite, explained by the author of the code, John Doherty. A wide set of exercises helps the understanding of sometimes complex concepts, making use of both GUIs and command line input. A real-world case located in Milan is analysed along the section to demonstrate calibration, uncertainty analysis and its application to decision-support modelling.

A stand-alone section is dedicated to the state-of-the-art Python scripting with FloPy and PyEMU explained by a team of experts among which the developers Jeremy White (INTERA) and Mike Fienen (USGS). The section covers the whole process from data processing and model building to calibration and uncertainty analysis applied to an existing contaminated site located in Milan. Codes involved are MODFLOW, MODPATH, PEST and PEST++ suites. Students will be provided with a GitHub repository with necessary data files and executables. These may also include a template Jupyter Notebook with instructions to follow along with the videos. Completed notebooks will also be provided with the final results.

In addition, a FEFLOW and FePEST dedicated section can be activated on request.

All lessons are available as video recordings with live assistance on request.

Introduction From analytical to numerical solutions 2 G. Bernagozzi
How to communicate Modelling to non-modellers 1 F. Lotti
Modelling support in the decision-making process 1 J. Doherty
Model building in ModelMuse Flow numerical modelling 6 G. Bernagozzi
Mass transport numerical modelling 4 G. Bernagozzi
Heat transport numerical modelling 2 G. Bernagozzi
Model building in GW Vistas

MODFLOW history 1 D. Feinstein
Introduction to GW Vistas 7/8 1 D. Feinstein
MODFLOW-NWT 1 D. Feinstein
Multi-Node Well (MNW) package 1 D. Feinstein
Exchanges between surface water and groundwater 1 D. Feinstein
MODPATH-5 and MODPATH-7 1 D. Feinstein
Contaminant transport with MT3DMS and MT3D-USGS 1 D. Feinstein
SEAWAT: introduction to modelling of saltwater intrusion 1 D. Feinstein
SEAWAT2005: Heat transport 1 D. Feinstein
MODFLOW-6: new strategies 1 D. Feinstein
Model calibration and Uncertainty analysis with PEST(++)

Introduction of the case study 4 F. Lotti
PEST introduction 1 F. Lotti
Structure of files 1 G. Formentin
Traditional parameter estimation 5 Doherty/Formentin/Lotti
Highly parameterized inversion: regularization and pilot points 5 Doherty/Formentin/Lotti
Uncertainty analysis 8 Doherty/Formentin/Lotti
Decisions and modelling 1 J. Doherty
PEST++ overview 1 J. White
An overview of model-partner software 2 J. Doherty
Case Histories 1 J. Doherty


Language basics Intro on Python as programming language 1 I. Borsi
Fundamentals and advanced features 1 I. Borsi
Analysis of drawdown due to a pumping well and computation of evapotranspiration 1 I. Borsi
Using Python/Pandas to manage hydrological timeseries 1 I. Borsi
Model building with FloPy Before getting started 1 R. Hugman
A more complex model (transient) 2 R. Hugman
A more complex model (transient) 3 R. Hugman
Advanced tools: recharge modelling with LUMPREM, mass transport, variable density and particle tracking with MODPATH 4 R. Hugman
Model setup in complicated settings Geoprocessing and setting up for MODFLOW setup 1 M. Fienen
Making a telescopic mesh refinement model within in existing model 2 M. Fienen
Building a streamflow routing network package 2 M. Fienen
Calibration and uncertainty analysis with PEST(++) Editing a PEST(++) control file using PyEMU 1 White/Fienen
Connecting a model to PEST(++) using PstFrom in PyEMU 2 White/Fienen
Post-processing PEST(++) results with PyEMU 1 White/Fienen
Uncertainty analysis with PESTPP-IES 2 J. White


on request
Flow numerical modelling 2 F. Lotti
Mass transport numerical modelling 2 F. Lotti
Heat transport numerical modelling 2 F. Lotti
Traditional parameter estimation 6 Formentin/Lotti
Highly parameterized inversion with pilot points 8 Formentin/Lotti
Uncertainty analysis 3 Formentin/Lotti
Using Python with the API Interface Manager 2 R. Hugman

Project-related Strategies

The forth module is the essence of the School. The whole knowledge/experience acquired in the previous modules converges into diverse applications. Each course deploys workflows and trouble-shooting strategies based on specific real-world cases. The exercises will also be based on real cases and the working group will collaborate to develop the project as if it were an actual work activity. The approach will therefore be more like a company internship than a course in the strict sense. Solutions of the problems will arise from individual or teamwork and results will be discussed in specific sessions.

Lessons are performed live and will be made available as video recordings after the course. Each course will be activated on the basis of a minimum number of participants. The length of the single course is maximum 4 days distributed over 4 weeks.

Contamination Hydraulic barriers – calibration of concentrations through particles Formentin/Lotti
Reactive barriers Lotti/Formentin
Groundwater Circulating Wells (GCW) Lotti/Formentin/Petrangeli Papini
Application of advanced options in MT3DUSGS for contaminant transport: non-point transport of nitrate from land surface, degradation behaviour of benzene, techniques for remediating TCE Feinstein/Lotti/Formentin
Variable-density flow Seawater intrusion in coastal aquifers and small islands Post/Lotti/Formentin
Geothermal systems Low enthalpy geothermal plants Lotti/Formentin
Borehole-Heat-Exchangers with FEFLOW Lotti/Formentin
Thermal aquifers management Lotti/Formentin
Mining hydrogeology Open-pit dewatering, rewetting and potential contamination evaluation Lotti/Formentin
Civil-engineering constructions Construction dewatering and no-flow barriers Lotti/Bernagozzi
Impact assessment of a run-of-river hydroelectric power plant Lotti/Formentin
Groundwater resources management Potable water supply protection zones Vettorello/Lotti/Formentin
Risk-based wellhead protection decision support: a repeatable workflow approach Fienen/Lotti/Formentin
GW management in rural environments and surface water interactions Lotti/Formentin
Optimization of groundwater resource management with MODFLOW GWM package Feinstein/Lotti/Formentin
GW management optimization under uncertainty with pestpp-opt White/Lotti/Formentin
Unsaturated flow Simulation of unsaturated flow, recharge to water table, and seepage to land surface with MODFLOW UZF package Feinstein/Lotti/Formentin


The on-site Workshop (7 days) is focused on field investigation performed by the participants divided into workgroups. Data acquired in the field will be processed independently by each group and a modelling strategy will be implemented. Results obtained by the different teams will be compared and discussed, mimicking the real-world approval procedure of hydrogeological projects. Authorities will be invited to join during the last day of the Workshop. The Workshop will be on-site at School facilities with nearby accommodations available for participants.

Field Investigations Heads and river flow measurement 1-2
Pumping test 2-3
Data processing and Conceptual model building Water balance, aquifer properties, potentiometric map 4
Numerical modelling Model building 5-6
Model calibration
Uncertainty analysis
Authority conference Presentation, evaluation and Authorities approval (?) of model results 7

Decision-Makers course

The 1-day course will be live, in Italian, free and directed to Municipal, Provincial, Regional Administrations, Environmental Control Agencies, ARPA, ISPRA, EIA Commission, etc. It is directed to those who, in the context of authorization and control procedures, evaluate projects which include hydrogeological numerical models. The venue will be communicated later on.

Participants will also be invited to participate at the activities of the last day of Module 5 (Workshop), where they will be asked to simulate the process of evaluating and approving a numerical model presented by different teams of modellers.

Similar experiences can be replicated in other countries on request.

Decision-Makers course

Introduction 0.5
Numerical models applications 1
Building a numerical model: objective data and subjective
choices of the modeller
Model output: what a model cannot tell us? 1.5
How to evaluate the goodness, integrity and reliability of a model 2
Limits of the models and how to use them consciously 1
Model support in the decision-making process: can they
really be useful?


Presentation, evaluation and approval (?) of the results of the numerical models built during the Workshop (Module 5) 5