Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 3:00 PM


BOBECK, Patricia, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712,

French engineer Henry Darcy is considered by many to be the founder of modern hydrogeology because his law, published in 1856, quantified water flow through porous media. Darcy published his experimental results as an appendix to a book entitled The Public Fountains of the City of Dijon, an account of his planning and construction of one of the first municipal water supply systems in Europe. Darcy wrote the book after he had retired on disability; he intended the book as a guide for engineers involved in the construction of similar projects. For this reason the book is an encyclopedia of his water knowledge. Appendix D, on water filtration, follows a discussion of cities (unlike Dijon) that used surface water for their supply and that needed to filter large amounts of water. The goal of Darcy’s study was to determine the most efficient method of filtration. As a result of his studies, he designed and patented a water filtration tank. The filtration tank was likely never built, but in spite of Darcy’s death in 1858, his ideas on water flow were complemented and expanded by his contemporary, Jules Dupuit.

Patricia Bobeck translated Darcy’s book, photographed the remnants of the water supply system Darcy built for Dijon, and has conducted extensive research on Henry Darcy and other 19th century hydrogeologists.