A conceptual¿numerical model to simulate hydraulic head in aquifers that are hydraulically connected to surface water bodies

Autores UPV
Revista Hydrological Processes


In this paper, we present a conceptual-numerical model that can be deduced from a calibrated finite difference groundwater-flow model, which provides a parsimonious approach to simulate and analyze hydraulic heads and surface water body-aquifer interaction for linear aquifers (linear response of head to stresses). The solution of linear groundwater-flow problems using eigenvalue techniques can be formulated with a simple explicit state equation whose structure shows that the surface water body-aquifer interaction phenomenon can be approached as the drainage of a number of independent linear reservoirs. The hydraulic head field could be also approached by the summation of the head fields, estimated for those reservoirs, defined over the same domain set by the aquifer limits, where the hydraulic head field in each reservoir is proportional to a specific surface (an eigenfunction of an eigenproblem, or an eigenvector in discrete cases). All the parameters and initial conditions of each linear reservoir can be mathematically defined in a univocal way from the calibrated finite difference model, preserving its characteristics (geometry, boundary conditions, hydrodynamic parameters (heterogeneity), and spatial distribution of the stresses). We also demonstrated that, in practical cases, an accurate solution can be obtained with a reduced number of linear reservoirs. The reduced computational cost of these solutions can help to integrate the groundwater component within conjunctive use management models. Conceptual approximation also facilitates understanding of the physical phenomenon and analysis of the factors that influence it. A simple synthetic aquifer has been employed to show how the conceptual model can be built for different spatial discretizations, the parameters required, and their influence on the simulation of hydraulic head fields and stream-aquifer flow exchange variables. A real-world case was also solved to test the accuracy of the proposed approaches, by comparing its solution with that obtained using finite-difference MODFLOW code. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.