ESM 121: Water Science and Management

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ESM-121 Water Science and Management (CRN 43460 and 43461) is a class that teaches fundamental methods of water resources management, contemporary water resources problems, and tools for water resources planning and management. The course is divided into three sections: (1) theory, (2) practice through useful and quantitative exercises, and (3) real world experience, 1 hour per week each. In the real world experience section; guest speakers come to the classroom (such as water managers, practitioners, decision makers and experts from multiple disciplines), give a lecture and share their vision and challenges on water resources management.

Topics in this course include:
   - Fundamental concepts of hydrology (hydrology 101)
   - History of water in California
   - Integrated water resources management (IRWM)
   - Conservation of mass (continuity equation) and water budgets
   - Water resources modeling: simulation and optimization model
   - Cost-Benefit Analysis
   - Surface water and groundwater storage management
   - Environmental water management
   - Risk analysis
   - Climate Change

As the instructor of this class, Dr. Samuel Sandoval Solis designed this class based on three pillars for integral education in water resources management: (1) theoretical fundaments of hydrology and water resources management, (2) tools to apply the theory, and (3) meaningful real world experience. By the end of the class, students are expected to have a thorough conceptual and quantitative understanding of water resources management. Students are expected to have the understanding on how to develop a water plan.


- Hanak, E., Lund, J., Dinar, A., Gray, B., Howitt, R., Mount, J., Moyle, P., Thompson, B. (2011). Managing California's Water: From Conflict to Reconciliation. Public Policy Institute of California. San Francisco, California.
- Harter, T., Lund, J. (2012). Addressing Nitrate in California's Drinking Water with a Focus on Tulare Lake Basin and Salinas Valley Groundwater. Executive Report. Center for Watershed Sciences. University of California, Davis. Davis, California. 
- California Department of Water Resources (2015). Groundwater Sustainability Program: Strategic Plan. Sacramento, California.
- Postel, S., and Richter, B., (2003) River's for Life: Managing Water for People and Nature. Island Press. (Free for reading at UC Davis Library).

Extra Materials

- Exercise Submission template
- Templates for Term project Abstract/Idea, Midterm Report and Final Report
- Study Guide: Midterm and Final Exam


Date Session
Hydrology 101
Mon 1 Apr Hydrology 101 (PresentationHandout, Video) (Syllabus)
Wed 3 Apr

Water in California & Introduction to WRPM  (Presentation)

Thu 4 Apr

Discussion- Syllabus & Ex. 1: Population and water demand (DataTutorialVideo)

Introduction to Water Resources Management
Mon 8 Apr

Water in California & Introduction to WRPM  (Presentation)

Wed 10 Apr

Water Budgets  (Handout & Video

Thu 11 Apr

Ex. 2: Wat. Demand, Wat. Conserv. & Efficiency (DataTutorial, Video: Part 1 & Part 2)

Water Budgets and Water Allocation Systems
Mon 15 Apr

Water Rights and Water Allocation Systems (Presentation, Water Rights, Handout 1 and 2)

Wed 17 Apr

Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency (Presentation

Thu 18 Apr

Field Methods Training in Russell Fields and Ex. 3: Water Budget (Data, Tutorial)

Sat 20 Apr Field Trip to Hopland Research and Extension Center (Field trip Instructions and Handouts)
Sun 21 Apr Field Trip to Hopland Research and Extension Center (Field trip Instructions and Handouts)
Water Resources Modeling: Principles of Simulation
Mon 22 Apr Water Resources Modeling: Principles of Simulation (Presentation)
Wed 24 Apr Simulation Modeling
Thu 25 Apr

Ex. 4: Simulation modeling (Data: 1, 2, & 3, Tutorial, Video, Download WEAP from Canvas!)

Water Resources Modeling: Principles of Optimization
Mon 29 Apr

Principles of Optimization (Presentation)

Wed 1 May Cost Benefit Principles Q&A Midterm Exam (Study GuideWater Budget Practice Exercise)
Thu 2 May Ex. 5 Principles of  Optimizations (Data and Tutorial)
Cost - Benefit Analysis
Mon 6 May  MIDTERM EXAM - ONLY 1st half of the course 
Wed 8 May Cost Benefit Analysis (PresentationVideo)
Thu 9 May Ex. 6: Cost Benefit Analysis (DataText
Risk Analysis
Mon 13 May Risk Analysis and Expected Monetary Value (PresentationVideo)
Wed 15 May Climate Change 101
Thu 16 May Ex. 7: Risk Analysis and Expected Monetary Value (DataText)
Environmental Water Resources Management
Mon 20 May Guest Speaker - Sean White City of Ukiah
Wed 22 May Principles of Environmental Flows
Thu 23 May Flows & Ex. 8: Flow Regime Analysis (DataText, IHA - Download it from Canvas!)
Water Management Experiences
Mon 27 May Holiday, Memorial Day 
Wed 31 May Guest Speaker - Noelle Patterson
Thu 1 Jun Term Project Presentation
Term project Presentations
Mon 5 Jun Panel of ESM Alumni
Wed 7 Jun Integrated Water resources Management and California Water Plan
Thu 8 Jun Term Project Presentation
Wed 13 Jun FINAL EXAM at 10:30 am - ONLY 2nd half of the course (Study Guide)




Rd.1 Hanak et al. pp 15-40 Ex. 1: Population and Water Demand

Rd.2 Hanak, Lund et al. pp 41-69

Ex. 2: Water Demand, Conservation & Efficiency
Rd.3 Hanak, Lund et al. pp 71-103 Ex. 3: Water Budgets
Rd.4 Rivers for life pp. 5-26, 36-41 Ex. 4: Simulation Modeling
Rd.5 Rivers for life pp. 45-67 Ex. 5: Optimization Modeling
Rd.6 Groundwater Sustain. Progr. pp 4-31 Ex. 6: Flow Regime Analysis
Rd.7 Harter et al. pp 1-34 Ex. 7: Cost Benefit Analysis
  Ex. 8: Expected Monetary Value