Dr. Robert N. FarvoldenThe Farvolden Lecture Series, hosted by the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Waterloo, was initiated in 1996 as an annual celebration in honour of Dr. Robert N. Farvolden (photo).  The Lecture Series fosters interaction and communication between the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, the alumni of the hydrogeology program and the groundwater community at large.


Dr. Beth Parker

View the 2021 Farvolden Lecture on YouTube

Director, Morwick G360 Groundwater Research Institute

Professor, School of Engineering, University of Guelph

Associate Director, The University Consortium

"Hydrogeologic Characterization of Bedrock Aquitards and Flow Systems"

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The 2021 Farvolden Lecture is being held on Thursday, November 18, 2021 @ 2:00 p.m. EST via ZOOM.


The implementation of stringent environmental regulations in the 1970’s and 80’s propelled the contaminant hydrogeology profession forward, along with technologies and methods used to characterize and monitor unconsolidated aquifers. However, development of methods for cost-effectively studying fractured rock aquifers lagged given flow system complexity and associated costs to characterize these systems.  What became apparent to me as a young professional managing organic contamination in a sandstone aquifer was that tools and methods, mostly adopted from water supply hydrogeology, oil/gas exploration and mining, were not easily transferable to freshwater bedrock systems, nor sufficiently resolved to address investigation objectives.  This experience inspired me to research contaminant behaviour in fractured sedimentary rock. Sedimentary rock aquifers underly much of the populated regions in North America and around the globe, are vulnerable to contamination and supply freshwater to a significant portion of the world’s population.  After 35 years of developing and testing novel field and laboratory measurement methods for bedrock systems, we have gained key insights regarding the nature of flow in fracture networks informing hydrogeologic unit delineation, characteristics of aquitards affecting flow pathways and contaminant attenuation. The list of tools available for bedrock aquifers is now long with adaptive spatio-temporal and sensor resolution, providing versatility for both characterization and monitoring. Lessons learned are highlighted using results from several research sites serving as natural-gradient tracer experiments, where multiple scales of measurements inform process-based conceptual site models. Each site provides insights on where novel data sets were essential for site decision-making from subsurface remediation to source water extraction, protection, and monitoring.

Past Farvolden Lecturers

  • Dr. Thomas Harter, University of California Davis (2020) VIEW the 2020 Farvolden Lecture on YouTube
  • Ian Clark, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Ottawa (2019)
  • Ed Sudicky, Earth and Environmental Sciences (2018)
  • Cathryn Ryan, Geoscience, University of Calgary (2017)
  • Roger Woeller, Chief Executive Officer, BluMetric Environmental (2016)
  • David Rudolph, Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Waterloo (2015)
  • Peter Fritz, Scientific and Founding Director of Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ, Leipzig, Germany (2014)
  • Jim F. Barker, Professor Emeritus Earth and Environmental Sciences University of Waterloo (2013)
  • Andre Beland, Vice-President of Engineering and Construction (Retired) SNC-Lavalin Inc., Libya  (2012)
  • Robert W. Gillham, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Waterloo Executive Director, Water Institute University of Waterloo (2011)
  • Anthony D. Daus, AMEC Geomatrix, Newport Beach, CA (2010)
  • John A. Cherry, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Waterloo Adjunct Professor, University of Guelph  (2009)
  • Richard (Dick) Jackson, Intera Engineering, Heidelberg, ON (2008)
  • John (Jack) Sharp, Department of Geological Sciences University of Texas at Austin (2007)
  • Garth van der Kamp, Environment Canada (2006)
  • Geog Teutsch Helmholtz, Helmholtz Centre For Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany (2005) 
  • John Bredehoeft, The Hydrodynamics Group, Sausalito, CA (2004)
  • Mary Anderson, Emeritus Professor Department of Geoscience University of Wisconsin-Madison (2003)
  • Leonard Konikow, US Geological Survey, Reston, VA (2002)
  • Frank Schwartz, Department of Geological Sciences, Ohio State University (2001)
  • William Woessner, Department of Geology, University of Montana (2000)
  • Ghislain de Marsily, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie (1999)
  • R. Allan Freeze, R. Allan Freeze Engineering, Inc. (1998)
  • Jozsef Toth, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science, University of Alberta (1997)
  • Stephen Foster, British Geological Survey (1996)


Lorraine Albrecht
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, ON  N2L 3G1
519-888-4567, ext. 42069

Highlights of the Event

  • Welcome and brief Department Update
  • Farvolden Scholarship Presentation
  • Guest Speaker
  • Virtual Draw

Farvolden Scholarship


For information on how you can help support the Farvolden Lecture Series please contact:

Meaghan Middleton
Associate Director, Development

To give to the Farvolden Endowment please click here



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