GW2.0 About


GW2.0 will be a continuously updated electronic groundwater textbook and teaching resource to be made available around the world at no cost in multiple languages.

The GW2.0 Project will update the popular Freeze and Cherry (1979) textbook Groundwater in an on-line, multi-authored format that is translated and available anywhere in the world. GW2.0 will be a living worldwide hydrogeology resource for students, academics, professionals and anyone interested in groundwater.

Project Scientific Leader: Dr. John Cherry, Distinguished Emeritus Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Waterloo, Canada;
Project Director: Dr. Cathryn Ryan, Professor, Geoscience, University of Calgary, Canada Project Management: Hydrogeologists Without Borders (HWB;

The RATIONALE FOR GW2.0: Groundwater resources are increasingly important in a water-short world, including areas with over-allocated surface water and over- or under-exploited groundwater resources critically important in many of the world’s impoverished regions. Groundwater provides about half the worlds water supply yet there are few properly trained groundwater professionals especially in emerging regions.

The LEGACY: This project builds on the considerable legacy of the Groundwater textbook (Freeze and Cherry, 1979; 605 pages, Pearson Publishing (formerly Prentice Hall)):

  • no text is as popular nor well-used in the field of hydrogeology
  • >5600 Google Scholar Citations
  • copyright made available in January, 2016 to original co-authors by Pearson publishing so that this new and much expanded version of the book can be created as a contribution to better world
  • downloaded ~700 times in the first week it was made freely available for download here
  • in process of translation (currently some Portuguese and Spanish sections available)


  • a revised and updated online groundwater textbook
  • open access and available in many languages
  • maintain the elements of the successful 1979 textbook
  • senior undergraduate and early graduate level students
  • conscious integration of chemistry, physics, geology, hydrology and microbiology for a broad range of students and practitioners

Dr. John Cherry will lead the revision and expansion of the initial 1979 edition in collaboration with Dr. Alan Freeze, his original co-author, to produce the first electronic edition by early 2017. GW2.0 will be created online as a ‘living book’, available only in electronic form. The old chapters will be revised and new chapters added to reflect advances in the understanding of groundwater science and recognition of new problems facing the global population for use and protection of groundwater resources.

GW2.0 is facilitated by Hydrogeologists Without Borders, a non-profit organization committed to bringing groundwater science to benefit groundwater water use and management in emerging regions. The new book will be authored by two dozen accomplished researcher-teachers from several countries who will endeavour to present groundwater science and issues with a balanced perspective and to encompass a broad scope of topics relevant to both developed and developing regions. Supplemental material will enable the book to achieve balance between understanding principals and practical matters of how to acquire information in the field and lab. The electronic-only format will allow the book to include supplementary materials to advance learning by students at different levels, such as free software, problem sets with solutions, case studies, short videos showing laboratory and field demonstrations with associated illustrations.

The first revised electronic edition will be produced by the team and electronically released as GW2.0 starting mid 2017. Thereafter, the later editions will be issued annually or biannually and will be crowd-sourced so that volunteer improvements can be contributed by anyone who sees a better way to explain principles or who sees new topics worthy of addition to the book. An editorial team will vet submitted improvements, and contributors will be identified so that contributions are fully acknowledged.

Chapter leads:

  • Introduction: Stephen Foster
  • Physical Properties and Principles: David McWhorter
  • Chemical Properties and Principles: Tom Al
  • Groundwater Geology: Emmanuelle Arnaud
  • Flow Nets: Emil Frind / John Molson
  • Groundwater and the Hydrologic Cycle: John Cherry
  • Chemical Evolution of Natural Groundwater: undetermined
  • Groundwater Resource Evaluation: William Woessner
  • Groundwater Contamination: John Cherry
  • Groundwater and Geological Processes: undetermined

Chapter leads:

  • Hydraulic Tests: Garth Vanderkamp
  • Applications of Hydrogeochemistry: Warren Wood
  • Conceptual and Mathematical Modeling: undetermined
  • Vadose Zone Hydrology: Gary Parkin
  • Fractured Rock Hydrology: Beth Parker
  • Variable Density Groundwater Flow Systems: Craig Simmons
  • Coastal Hydrogeology: J.J.Jiao
  • Karst: Nico Goldscheider
  • Groundwater Microbiology: Ferris
  • Heat, Temperature and Groundwater: undetermined
  • Groundwater and the Hyporheic Zone: Kirk Hatfield
  • Groundwater and Earthquakes: Emily Brodsky
  • Groundwater and Landslides: undetermined
  • Groundwater and Land Subsidence: undetermined
  • Groundwater and Soil: Kent Keller
  • Groundwater Remediation: Neil Thomson
  • Groundwater and Human Health: undetermined
  • Groundwater Governance: William Alley

Although the main effort is volunteer, there is an urgent need for funds to support several components of the effort, including production of professional videos, professional graphics, editing, travel for meetings of the production team for the first electronic editions, and support of the Hydrogeologists Without Borders office responsible for managing and coordinating the effort. HWB is a registered Canadian Charity whose vision is “a world where groundwater is developed and sustainably managed for community water supplies”. The GW2.0 project is key to their mission of “building capacity in emerging regions to provide safe, sustainable water supplies”.

To donate to GW2.0 please visit our CanadaHelps site.

For questions or more information about GW2.0 please email For questions or information about HWB or to VOLUNTEER, please email


Without the help of many dedicated individuals, GW2.0 would not be possible. To show our appreciation, we would like to thank everyone for their work on the project.

This book was previously published by Pearson Education, Inc and we are grateful to Allan Freeze and John Cherry for allowing us to post Groundwater (1979) on our website. Their work on Groundwater has inspired groundwater professionals for over 30 years, and it is because of them that we are now able to bring Groundwater (1979) into the digital age.

We would also like to thank Alberta Online Educational Resources (AOER). Funding support from AOER allowed us to transform Groundwater (1979) into a new online educational resource that we hope will one day become one of the leading groundwater resources.

Thank you to Peter Russell, who is responsible for creating all the original and new header illustrations for the chapters in Groundwater (1979) and GW2.0. Peter started these types of illustration 43 years ago for Geoscience Canada. He continues to create illustrations today, starting with India ink on Mylar to digital.

Thank you to the numerous volunteers at the University of Ottawa who helped us transcribe the original textbook and redraw numerous figures.


GW2.0 is licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International”. This means that you may share and re-use (no derivatives) GW2.0 for non-commercial purposes provided you attribute GW2.0.

We have exercised due diligence in obtaining copyright permission for the GW2.0 content. Material for which we have not yet received permission are indicated as such, and users are asked to refer to Groundwater (1979). If you are the copyright holder or have the contact information for a copyright holder, please contact us at If you believe we have posted your material without your permission, please contact us and we will remove it.