Main content area

Modelling boreholes in complex heterogeneous aquifers

Upton, K.A., Butler, A.P., Jackson, C.R., Mansour, M.
Environmental modelling & software 2019 v.118 pp. 48-60
aquifers, chalk, equations, groundwater, hydraulic conductivity, models, water table
Reliable estimates of the sustainable yield of supply boreholes are critical to ensure that groundwater resources are managed sustainably. Sustainable yields are dependent on the pumped groundwater level in a borehole, how this relates to vertical aquifer heterogeneity, and features of the borehole itself. This paper presents a 3D radial flow model (SPIDERR), based on the Darcy-Forchheimer equation, for simulating the groundwater level response in supply boreholes in unconfined, heterogeneous aquifers. The model provides a tool for investigating the causes of non-linear behaviour in abstraction boreholes, which can have a significant impact on sustainable yields. This is demonstrated by simulating a variable-rate pumping test in a Chalk abstraction borehole. The application suggests the non-linear response to pumping is due to a combination of factors: a reduction in well storage with depth due to changes in the borehole diameter, a reduction in hydraulic conductivity with depth, and non-Darcian flow.