An analytical model for flow induced by a constant-head pumping in a leaky unconfined aquifer system with considering unsaturated flow

Ye Chen Lin, Ming Hsu Li, Hund Der Yeh

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19 Scopus citations

Abstract

A new mathematical model is developed to describe the flow in response to a constant-head pumping (or constant-head test, CHT) in a leaky unconfined aquifer system of infinite lateral extent with considering unsaturated flow. The model consists of an unsaturated zone on the top, an unconfined aquifer in the middle, and a second aquifer (aquitard) at the bottom. The unsaturated flow is described by Richard's equation, and the flows in unconfined aquifer and second layer are governed by the groundwater flow equation. The well partially penetrates the unconfined aquifer with a constant head in the well due to CHT. The governing equations of the model are linearized by the perturbation method and Gardner's exponential model is adopted to describe the soil retention curves. The solution of the model for drawdown distribution is obtained by applying the methods of Laplace transform and Weber transform. Then the solution for the wellbore flowrate is derived from the drawdown solution with Darcy's law. The issue of the equivalence of normalized drawdown predicted by the present solution for constant-head pumping and Tartakovsky and Neuman's (2007) solution for constant-rate pumping is discussed. On the basis of the wellbore flowrate solution, the results of the sensitivity analysis indicate that the wellbore flowrate is very sensitive to the changes in the radial hydraulic conductivity and the thickness of the saturated zone. Moreover, the results predicted from the present wellbore flowrate solution indicate that this new solution can reduce to Chang's et al. (2010a) solution for homogenous aquifers when the dimensionless unsaturated exponent approaches 100. The unsaturated zone can be considered as infinite extent in the vertical direction if the thickness ratio of the unsaturated zone to the unconfined aquifer is equal to or greater than one. As for the leakage effect, it can be ignored when the vertical hydraulic conductivity ratio (i.e., the vertical hydraulic conductivity of the lower layer over that of the unconfined aquifer) is smaller than 0.1. The present solution is compared with the numerical solution from FEMWATER for validation and the results indicate good match between these two solutions. Finally, the present solution is applied to a set of field drawdown data obtained from a CHT for the estimation of hydrogeologic parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-534
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Volume107
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2017

Keywords

  • Constant-head test
  • Laplace transform
  • Leakage
  • Unconfined aquifer
  • Unsaturated flow
  • Weber transform

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