ESM 121: Water Science and Management

            Syllabus                        Current Class                                       Previous Term Projects                                  Materials

ESM-121 Water Science and Management (CRN 43460 and 43461) is a class that teaches fundamental methods of water resources planning and management, contemporary water resources problems and tools. 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 (California Water 101)
   - 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. Aditional description of SGMA inplementacion is provided in the BMPs (Best Management Plans)
- 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).


4:10 – 4:30 pm Monday and Wednesday. All sessions (Mandatory)
4:30 – 5:00 pm Questions and Answers (Optional)


Office Hours

Samuel Sandoval Solis, 135 Veihmeyer Hall. Email:
Office hours: Thursdays 8:00- 10:00 am.
Request a meeting at:
Other times only by appointment.
Teaching Assistants
Alyssa DeVincentis
Daisy Guitron
Request a meeting through Calendly: 
Office Hours: Monday 1:00 - 3:00 pm
  From 1 to 2 pm:
  From 2 to 3 pm:

Field trip

Canceled this year 
 (Field trip Instructions and Handouts)


 Extra Materials

- Exercise Submission template
- Term project template
- Study Guide: Midterm and Final Exam 



Instruction Begins Monday March 1, 2020

What's due?






Term Project

Hydrology 101



Mon 30 Mar

Discussion of Syllabus and logistics of the class (SyllabusVideo)


Wed 1 Apr

Hydrology 101  (Presentation, Handout, Video)


Thu 2 Apr

Discussion - Introductions, logistics


Introduction to Water Resources Management



Mon 6 Apr

Hydrology in California (Presentation, Videos: Climate, Drought, Valleys, Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer)

Rd 1


Tue 7 Apr

Homework Due


Ex. 1


Wed 8 Apr

Introduction to Water Resources Plannning and Management (Presentation, Video 1 and 2)


Thu 9 Apr

Discussion- Project management, log model, assign groups


Water Allocation Systems



Mon 13 Apr

 Water in California (Presentation, Video 1 and 2)

Rd 2


Tue 14 Apr

Homework Due


Ex. 2


Wed 15 Apr

Water Budgets (PresentationVideoPractice Exercise)


Thu 16 Apr

Discussion- How to write an abstract


Project management plan

Water Resources Modeling: Principles of Simulation



Mon 20 Apr

Water Resources Modeling & Principles: Simulation (Video, Presentation, Handout)

Rd 3


Tue 21 Apr

Homework Due


Ex. 3


Wed 22 Apr

Water Rights and Water Allocation Systems Water Rights handouts: 1, 2, and 3, Handout 1 and 2 , Water Budget Practice Exercise)


Thu 23 Apr

Discussion- How to literature review



Water Resources Modeling: Principles of Optimization



Mon 27 Apr

MIDTERM EXAM - ONLY 1st half of the course (Study Guide)


Tue 28 Apr

Homework Due


Ex. 4


Wed 29 Apr

Principles of Optimization  (Presentation, Video)


Thu 30 Apr

Discussion- Design methodology


Literature review

Cost - Benefit Analysis



Mon 4 May

Agriculture and Food System (Video 1, 2 and 3) (Recommended other videos 12, and book) - May the forth be with you!

Rd. 4


Tue 5 May

Homework Due


Ex. 5


Wed 6 May

Cost Benefit Analysis (Presentation, Video)


Thu 7 May

Discussion- Writing tips



Risk Analysis



Mon 11 May

Cost Benefit Analysis (PresentationVideo)

Rd. 5


Tue 12 May

Homework Due


Ex. 6


Wed 13 May

Risk Analysis and Expected Monetary Value  (PresentationVideo)


Thu 14 May

Discussion- Science communication



Environmental Flows



Mon 18 May

Principles of Environmental Flows (Video 1 and 2)

Rd 6


Tue 19 May

Homework Due


Ex. 7


Wed 20 May

Environmental Justice  (Video 1 , 2 and 3)


Thu 21 May

Discussion- Term Project Presentation


Final report

Water Management Experiences



Mon 25 May

No class - Memorial Day Holiday


Tue 26 May

Homework Due


Ex. 8


Wed 27 May

 Role of Scientist in Decision Making (Video)

Rd. 7     

Thu 28 May

Discussion - Term Project Presentation


Integrated Water Management 



Mon 1 Jun

FINAL EXAM - ONLY 2nd half of the course  (Study Guide) Available in Canvas from 8 am Jun/1 to 8 am Jun/3.


Wed 3 Jun

Panel of Alumni


Thu 4 Jun

Discussion- Term Project Presentation






Rd.1 Hanak et al. pp 15-40 Ex. 1: Population and Water Demand  (Data, xlsxTutorial, Video)

Rd.2 Hanak, Lund et al. pp 41-69

Ex. 2: Water Demand, Conservation & Efficiency  (Data, xlsxTutorial, Video: Part 1 & Part 2)
Rd.3 Hanak, Lund et al. pp 71-103 Ex. 3: Water Budgets (Data, xlsxTutorial, Video 1. 2. and 3)
Rd.4 Rivers for life pp. 5-26, 36-41 Ex. 4: Simulation Modeling  (Data: 1, 2, & 3, Tutorial, Video, Download WEAP from Canvas!)
Rd.5 Rivers for life pp. 45-67 Ex. 5: Optimization Modeling (Data and Tutorial)
Rd.6 Groundwater Sustain. Program pp 4-31 Ex. 6: Cost Benefit Analysis (Data, Tutorial)
Rd.7 Harter et al. pp 1-34 Ex. 7: Expected Monetary Value (Data, Tutorial)
  Ex. 8: Flow Regime Analysis  (Data, Tutorial, IHA Software - Download it from the internet or Canvas!) For Mac computer users (Input Data 1 and 2, FFC_Master, and Tutorial)