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G-WADI Workshop, Lanzhou, China

11-15 June 2007

COURSE MATERIALS

IHP-UNESCO Paris

Chapter 1

Workshop Introduction:

Hydrological processes, groundwater recharge and surface

water-groundwater interactions in arid and semi arid areas

Howard S. Wheater

Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine,

London SW7 2BU, UK

The management of water resources in arid and semi-arid areas has been

identified by UNESCO as a global priority. In arid and semi-arid areas, water

resources are, by definition, limited, and these scarce resources are under increasing

pressure. Population expansion and economic growth are generating increased

demand for water - for domestic consumption, agriculture and for industry. At the

same time, water resources are under threat. Point and diffuse pollution is increasing,

due to domestic, industrial and agricultural activities, and over-abstraction of

groundwater has associated risks of deterioration of water quality, particularly in

coastal areas where saline water can be drawn into the aquifer. Ecosystems are fragile,

and under threat from groundwater abstractions and the management of surface flows.

Added to these pressures is the uncertain threat of climate change.

The hydrology of arid and semi-arid lands is distinct from that of humid areas,

and raises particular challenges. Rainfall is highly variable, both in time and in space.

Surface flows are generally ephemeral, and runoff is focused on stream (wadi)

channels that provide a source of groundwater recharge through channel bed

infiltration. Vegetation is dynamic, responding to rainfall, and affects runoff and

recharge processes. The available resource, i.e. surface flows and/or groundwater

recharge, is a small component (typically less than 5%) of the water balance.

Scientific understanding of these processes is improving, but still limited, and, due to

sparse populations, extreme climate and limited resources, available data are scarce.

UNESCO has recognized that there is a need to share knowledge and

understanding of the hydrology of arid and semi-arid areas to provide access to

state-of-the art information, and to share experience of water management, with

respect to traditional methods and new technology. A global network, G-WADI, has

been established to achieve this. G-WADI is placing emphasis on the sharing of

information, including new data sources, and providing access to state-of-the-art

modelling tools and case studies, to support integrated water resources management.

In March, 2005, a workshop was held in Roorkee, India, to focus on the

problems of modelling surface water systems. The world’s leading experts were

brought together to provide lectures, case studies and tutorial material to an invited

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audience from the world’s arid regions. That material has been made available

through the G-WADI web-site, and will shortly be published, with some additional

material, as a book by Cambridge University Press.

This Lanzhou workshop aims to provide the same support for issues of

groundwater modelling in arid and semi-arid areas. In many developed countries in

humid climates, groundwater modelling is well established as a management tool, and

recent research developments, building on the increase in available computing power

to incorporate models within a framework of risk assessment, are rapidly finding their

way into practice. For arid areas, there are particular challenges, associated with

climate and data, and little information that addresses the specific problems of arid

regions. The motivation for this workshop is to provide a guide for researchers and

practitioners to the state of the art of groundwater modelling, as applied to the specific

needs of arid and semi-arid areas. Once again, UNESCO has been able to bring

together a set of the world’s leading experts, and key representatives of the major arid

regions of the world, hosted on the edge of the Gobi desert by our friend and

colleague Prof. Xin Li from Lanzhou, and with the support and assistance of

UNESCO’s Asian Region. We are aiming, with the support and advice from the

workshop participants, to produce a set of workshop outputs that will be of assistance

to practitioners and managers world-wide.

recharge.

The traditional development of water resources in arid areas has relied heavily on

the use of groundwater. Groundwater uses natural storage, is spatially-distributed, and

in climates where potential evaporation rates can be of the order of metres per year,

provides protection from the high evaporation losses experienced by surface water

systems. Traditional methods for the exploitation of groundwater have been varied,

including the use of very shallow groundwater in seasonally-replenished river bed

aquifers (as in the sand rivers of Botswana), the channelling of unconfined alluvial

groundwater in afalaj (or qanats) in Oman and Iran, and the use of hand dug wells.

Historically, abstraction rates were limited by the available technology, and rates of

development were low, so that exploitation was generally sustainable.

However, in recent decades, pump capacities have dramatically increased, and

hence agricultural use of water has grown rapidly, while the increasing concentration

of populations in urban areas has meant that large-scale well fields have been

developed for urban water supply. A common picture in arid areas is that groundwater

levels are in rapid decline, and in many instances this is accompanied by decreasing

water quality, particularly in coastal aquifers where saline intrusion is a threat. And

associated with population growth, economic development and increased agricultural

intensification, pollution has also become an increasing problem. The integrated

assessment and management of groundwater resources is essential, so that aquifer

systems can be protected from pollution and over-exploitation. This requires the use

of groundwater models as a decision support tool for groundwater management.

Some of the most difficult aspects of groundwater modelling concern the

2

interaction between surface water and groundwater systems. This is most obviously

the case for the quantification of long-term recharge, which ultimately defines

sustainable yields. Quantification of recharge remains the major challenge for

groundwater development world-wide, but is a particular difficulty in arid areas,

where recharge rates are small – both as a proportion of the water balance, and in

absolute terms. However, more generally, the interactions between surface water and

groundwater systems are important. In arid areas, infiltration from surface water

channels, as a ‘transmission loss’ for surface flows, may be a major component of

groundwater recharge, and there is increasing interest in the active management of

this process to focus recharge (for example in an extensive programme of construction

of ‘recharge dams’ in Northern Oman). Conversely, the discharge of groundwater to

surface water systems can be important in terms of valuable ecosystems. Hence the

main thrust of this Chapter is to review hydrological processes in arid and semi-arid

areas, to provide the context for surface-groundwater interactions, and their analysis

and modelling.

Despite the critical importance of water in arid and semi-arid areas, hydrological

data have historically been severely limited. It has been widely stated that the major

limitation of the development of arid zone hydrology is the lack of high quality

observations (McMahon, 1979; Nemec and Rodier, 1979; Pilgrim et al., 1988). There

are many good reasons for this. Populations are usually sparse and economic

resources limited; in addition the climate is harsh and hydrological events infrequent,

but damaging. However, in the general absence of reliable long-term data and

experimental research, there has been a tendency to rely on humid zone experience

and modelling tools, and data from other regions. At best, such results will be highly

inaccurate. At worst, there is a real danger of adopting inappropriate management

solutions which ignore the specific features of dryland response.

Despite the general data limitations, there has been some substantial and

significant progress in development of national data networks and experimental

research. This has given new insights and we can now see with greater clarity the

unique features of arid zone hydrological systems and the nature of the dominant

hydrological processes. This provides an important opportunity to develop

methodologies for flood and water resource management which are appropriate to the

specific hydrological characteristics of arid areas and the associated management

needs, and hence to define priorities for research and hydrological data. The aim here

is to review this progress and the resulting insights, and to consider some of the

implications.

1.3.1 Rainfall

Rainfall is the primary hydrological input, but rainfall in arid and semi-arid areas

is commonly characterized by extremely high spatial and temporal variability. The

temporal variability of point rainfall is well-known. Although most records are of

relatively short length, a few are available from the 19th century. For example, Table

1 presents illustrative data from Muscat (Sultanate of Oman) (Wheater and Bell,

3

1983), which shows that a wet month is one with one or two rain days. Annual

variability is marked and observed daily maxima can exceed annual rainfall totals.

For spatial characteristics, information is much more limited. Until recently,

the major source of detailed data has been from the South West U.S.A., most notably

the two, relatively small, densely instrumented basins of Walnut Gulch, Arizona

(150km2) and Alamogordo Creek, New Mexico (174km2), established in the 1950s

(Osborn et al., 1979). The dominant rainfall for these basins is convective; at Walnut

Gulch 70% of annual rainfall occurs from purely convective cells, or from convective

cells developing along weak, fast-moving cold fronts, and falls in the period July to

September (Osborn and Reynolds, 1963). Raingauge densities were increased at

Walnut Gulch to give improved definition of detailed storm structure and are currently

better than 1 per 2km2. This has shown highly localised rainfall occurrence, with

spatial correlations of storm rainfall of the order of 0.8 at 2km separation, but close to

zero at 15-20km spacing. Osborn et al. (1972) estimated that to observe a correlation

of r2 = 0.9, raingauge spacings of 300-500m would be required.

Recent work has considered some of the implications of the Walnut Gulch data

for hydrological modelling. Michaud and Sorooshian (1994) evaluated problems of

spatial averaging for rainfall-runoff modelling in the context of flood prediction.

Spatial averaging on a 4kmx4km pixel basis (consistent with typical weather radar

resolution) gave an underestimation of intensity and led to a reduction in simulated

runoff of on average 50% of observed peak flows. A sparse network of raingauges (1

per 20km2), representing a typical density of flash flood warning system, gave errors

in simulated peak runoff of 58%. Evidently there are major implications for

hydrological practice, and we will return to this issue, below.

The extent to which this extreme spatial variability is characteristic of other arid

areas has been uncertain. Anecdotal evidence from the Middle East underlay

comments that spatial and temporal variability was extreme (FAO, 1981), but data

from South West Saudi Arabia obtained as part of a five-year intensive study of five

basins (Saudi Arabian Dames and Moore, 1988), undertaken on behalf of the Ministry

of Agriculture and Water, Riyadh, have provided a quantitative basis for assessment.

The five study basins range in area from 456 to 4930 km2 and are located along the

Asir escarpment (Figure 1), three draining to the Red Sea, two to the interior, towards

the Rub al Khali. The mountains have elevations of up to 3000m a.s.l., hence the

basins encompass a wide range of altitude, which is matched by a marked gradient in

annual rainfall, from 30-100mm on the Red Sea coastal plain to up to 450mm at

elevations in excess of 2000m a.s.l.

4

Table 1. Summary of Muscat rainfall data (1893 -1959) (after Wheater and Bell, 1983)

Monthly rainfall (mm) Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.

Mean 31.2 19.1 13.1 8.0 0.38 1.31 0.96 0.45 0.0 2.32 7.15 22.0

Standard deviation 38.9 25.1 18.9 20.3 1.42 8.28 4.93 2.09 0.0 7.62 15.1 35.1

Max. 143.0 98.6 70.4 98.3 8.89 64.0 37.1 14.7 0.0 44.5 77.2 171.2

Mean number of raindays 2.03 1.39 1.15 0.73 0.05 0.08 0.10 0.07 0.0 0.13 0.51 1.6

Max. daily fall (mm) 78.7 57.0 57.2 51.3 8.9 61.5 30.0 10.4 0.0 36.8 53.3 57.2

5

Number of years record 63.0 64 62 63 61 61 60 61 61 60 61 60

Figure 1. Location of Saudi Arabian study basins

The spatial rainfall distributions are described by Wheater et al.(1991a). The

extreme spottiness of the rainfall is illustrated for the 2869km2 Wadi Yiba by the

frequency distributions of the number of gauges at which rainfall was observed given the

occurrence of a catchment rainday (Table 2). Typical inter-gauge spacings were 8-10km,

and on 51% of raindays only one or two raingauges out of 20 experienced rainfall. For

the more widespread events, sub-daily rainfall showed an even more spotty picture than

the daily distribution. An analysis of relative probabilities of rainfall occurrence, defined

as the probability of rainfall occurrence for a given hour at Station B given rainfall at

Station A, gave a mean value of 0.12 for Wadi Yiba, with only 5% of values greater that

0.3. The frequency distribution of rainstorm durations shows a typical occurrence of one

or two-hour duration point rainfalls, and these tend to occur in mid-late afternoon. Thus

rainfall will occur at a few gauges and die out, to be succeeded by rainfall in other

locations. This is illustrated for Wadi Lith in Figure 2, which shows the daily rainfall

totals for the storm of 16th May 1984 (Figure 2a), and the individual hourly depths

(Figure 2b-2e). In general, the storm patterns appear to be consistent with the results from

6

the South West USA and area reduction factors were also generally consistent with results

from that region (Wheater et al., 1989).

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G

G

8

G

th

Figure 2c Wadi Al-Lith hourly rainfall, 16 May 1994

G

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G

th

Figure 2d Wadi Al-Lith hourly rainfall, 16 May 1994

G

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G

th

Figure 2e Wadi Al-Lith hourly rainfall, 16 May 1994

G

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Table 2 Wadi Yiba raingauge frequencies and associated conditional probabilities for

catchment rainday occurrence

1 88 0.372

2 33 0.141

3 25 0.106

4 18 0.076

5 10 0.042

6 11 0.046

7 13 0.055

8 6 0.026

9 7 0.030

10 5 0.021

11 7 0.030

12 5 0.021

13 3 0.013

14 1 0.004

15 1 0.004

16 1 0.005

17 1 0.004

18 1 0.004

19 0 0.0

20 0 0.0

TOTAL 235 1.000

identified for intensity or duration. However, a strong relationship was noted between the

frequency of raindays and elevation. It was thus inferred that once rainfall occurred, its

point properties were similar over the catchment, but occurrence was more likely at the

higher elevations. It is interesting to note that a similar result has emerged from an

analysis of rainfall in Yemen (UNDP, 1992), in which it was concluded that daily rainfalls

observed at any location are effectively samples from a population that is independent of

12

position or altitude.

It is dangerous to generalise from samples of limited record length, but it is clear

that most events observed by those networks are characterized by extremely spotty

rainfall, so much so that in the Saudi Arabian basins there were examples of wadi flows

generated from zero observed rainfall. However, there were also some indications of a

small population of more wide-spread rainfalls, which would obviously be of

considerable importance in terms of surface flows and recharge. This reinforces the need

for long-term monitoring of experimental networks to characterise spatial variability.

For some other arid or semi-arid areas, rainfall patterns may be very different. For

example, data from arid New South Wales, Australia have indicated spatially extensive,

low intensity rainfalls (Cordery et al., 1983), and recent research in the Sahelian zone of

Africa has also indicated a predominance of widespread rainfall. This was motivated by

concern to develop improved understanding of land-surface processes for climate studies

and modelling, which led to a detailed (but relatively short-term) international

experimental programme, the HAPEX-Sahel project based on Niamey, Niger (Goutorbe

et al., 1997). Although designed to study land surface/atmosphere interactions, rather than

as an integrated hydrological study, it has given important information. For example,

Lebel et al. (1997) and Lebel and Le Barbe (1997) note that a 100 raingauge network was

installed and report information on the classification of storm types, spatial and temporal

variability of seasonal and event rainfall, and storm movement. 80% of total seasonal

rainfall was found to fall as widespread events which covered at least 70% of the network.

The number of gauges allowed the authors to analyse the uncertainty of estimated areal

rainfall as a function of gauge spacing and rainfall depth.

Recent work in southern Africa (Andersen et al., 1998, Mocke, 1998) has been

concerned with rainfall inputs to hydrological models to investigate the resource potential

of the sand rivers of N.E.Botswana. Here, annual rainfall is of the order of 600mm, and

available rainfall data is spatially sparse, and apparently highly variable, but of poor data

quality. Investigation of the representation of spatial rainfall for distributed water

resource modelling showed that use of convential methods of spatial weighting of

raingauge data, such as Theissen polygons, could give large errors. Large sub-areas had

rainfall defined by a single, possibly inaccurate gauge. A more robust representation

resulted from assuming catchment-average rainfall to fall uniformly, but the resulting

accuracy of simulation was still poor.

1.3.2 Rainfall-runoff processes

The lack of vegetation cover in arid and semi-arid areas removes protection of the

soil from raindrop impact, and soil crusting has been shown to lead to a large reduction in

infiltration capacity for bare soil conditions (Morin and Benyamini, 1977). Hence

infiltration of catchment soils can be limited. In combination with the high intensity, short

duration convective rainfall discussed above, extensive overland flow can be generated.

This overland flow, concentrated by the topography, converges on the wadi channel

network, with the result that a flood flow is generated. However, the runoff generation

13

process due to convective rainfall is likely to be highly localised in space, reflecting the

spottiness of the spatial rainfall fields, and to occur on only part of a catchment, as

illustrated above.

Linkage between inter-annual variability of rainfall, vegetation growth and runoff

production may occur. Our modelling in Botswana suggests that runoff production is

lower in a year which follows a wet year, due to enhanced vegetation cover, which

supports observations reported by Hughes (1995).

Commonly, flood flows move down the channel network as a flood wave, moving

over a bed that is either initially dry or has a small initial flow. Hydrographs are typically

characterised by extremely rapid rise times, of as little as 15-30 minutes (Figure 3).

However, losses from the flood hydrograph through bed infiltration are an important

factor in reducing the flood volume as the flood moves downstream. These transmission

losses dissipate the flood, and obscure the interpretation of observed hydrographs. It is

not uncommon for no flood to be observed at a gauging station, when further upstream a

flood has been generated and lost to bed infiltration.

14

G

Figure 3 Surface water hydrographs, Wadi Ghat 12 May 1984 – observed hydrograph

and unit hydrograph simulation

As noted above, the spotty spatial rainfall patterns observed in Arizona and Saudi

Arabia are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to quantify using conventional densities

of raingauge network. This, taken in conjunction with the flood transmission losses,

means that conventional analysis of rainfall-runoff relationships is problematic, to say the

least. Wheater and Brown (1989) present an analysis of Wadi Ghat, a 597 km2

sub-catchment of wadi Yiba, one of the Saudi Arabian basins discussed above. Areal

rainfall was estimated from 5 raingauges and a classical unit hydrograph analysis was

undertaken. A striking illustration of the ambiguity in observed relationships is the

relationship between observed rainfall depth and runoff volume (Figure 4). Runoff

coefficients ranged from 5.9 to 79.8%, and the greatest runoff volume was apparently

generated by the smallest observed rainfall! Goodrich et al. (1997) show that the

combined effects of limited storm areal coverage and transmission loss give important

15

differences from more humid regions. Whereas generally basins in more humid climates

show increasing linearity with increasing scale, the response of Walnut Gulch becomes

more non-linear with increasing scale. It is argued that this will give significant errors in

application of rainfall depth-area-frequency relationships beyond the typical area of storm

coverage, and that channel routing and transmission loss must be explicitly represented in

watershed modelling.

The transmission losses from the surface water system are a major source of

potential groundwater recharge. The characteristics of the resulting groundwater resource

will depend on the underlying geology, but bed infiltration may generate shallow water

tables, within a few metres of the surface, which can sustain supplies to nomadic people

for a few months (as in the Hesse of the North of South Yemen), or recharge substantial

alluvial aquifers with potential for continuous supply of major towns (as in Northern

Oman and S.W. Saudi Arabia).

The balance between localised recharge from bed infiltration and diffuse recharge

from rainfall infiltration of catchment soils will vary greatly depending on local

circumstances. However, soil moisture data from Saudi Arabia (Macmillan, 1987) and

Arizona (Liu et al., 1995), for example, show that most of the rainfall falling on soils in

arid areas is subsequently lost by evaporation. Methods such as the chloride profile

method (e.g. Bromley et al., 1997) and isotopic analyses (Allison and Hughes, 1978)

16

have been used to quantify the residual percolation to groundwater in arid and semi-arid

areas.

In some circumstances runoff occurs within an internal drainage basin, and fine

deposits can support widespread surface ponding. A well known large-scale example is

the Azraq oasis in N.E. Jordan, but small-scale features (Qaa’s) are widespread in that

area. Small scale examples were found in the HAPEX-Sahel study (Desconnets et al.,

1997). Infiltration from these areas is in general not well understood, but may be

extremely important for aquifer recharge. Desconnets et al. report aquifer recharge of

between 5 and 20% of basin precipitation for valley bottom pools, depending on the

distribution of annual rainfall.

The characteristics of the channel bed infiltration process are discussed in the

following section. However, it is clear that the surface hydrology generating this recharge

is complex and extremely difficult to quantify using conventional methods of analysis.

1.3.3 Wadi bed transmission losses

Wadi bed infiltration has an important effect on flood propagation, but also provides

recharge to alluvial aquifers. The balance between distributed infiltration from rainfall

and wadi bed infiltration is obviously dependant on local conditions, but soil moisture

observations from S.W. Saudi Arabia imply that, at least for frequent events, distributed

infiltration of catchment soils is limited, and that increased near surface soil moisture

levels are subsequently depleted by evaporation. Hence wadi bed infiltration may be the

dominant process of groundwater recharge. As noted above, depending on the local

hydrogeology, alluvial groundwater may be a readily accessible water resource.

Quantification of transmission loss is thus important, but raises a number of difficulties.

One method of determining the hydraulic properties of the wadi alluvium is to

undertake infiltration tests. Infiltrometer experiments give an indication of the saturated

hydraulic conductivity of the surface. However, if an infiltration experiment is combined

with measurement of the vertical distribution of moisture content, for example using a

neutron probe, inverse solution of a numerical model of unsaturated flow can be used to

identify the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity relationships and moisture characteristic

curves. This is illustrated for the Saudi Arabian Five Basins Study by Parissopoulos and

Wheater (1992a).

In practice, spatial heterogeneity will introduce major difficulties to the up-scaling

of point profile measurements. The presence of silt lenses within the alluvium was shown

to have important effects on surface infiltration as well as sub-surface redistribution

(Parissopoulos and Wheater, 1990), and sub-surface heterogeneity is difficult and

expensive to characterise. In a series of two-dimensional numerical experiments it was

shown that “infiltration opportunity time”, i.e. the duration and spatial extent of surface

wetting, was more important than high flow stage in influencing infiltration, that

significant reductions in infiltration occur once hydraulic connection is made with a water

table, and that hysteresis effects were generally small (Parissopoulos and Wheater,

17

1992b). Also sands and gravels appeared effective in restricting evaporation losses from

groundwater (Parissopoulos and Wheater, 1991).

Additional process complexity arises, however. General experience from the Five

Basins Study was that wadi alluvium was highly transmissive, yet observed flood

propagation indicated significantly lower losses than could be inferred from in situ

hydraulic properties, even allowing for sub-surface heterogeneity. Possible causes are air

entrapment, which could restrict infiltration rates, and the unknown effects of bed

mobilisation and possible pore blockage by the heavy sediment loads transmitted under

flood flow conditions.

A commonly observed effect is that in the recession phase of the flow, deposition of

a thin (1-2mm) skin of fine sediment on the wadi bed occurs, which is sufficient to

sustain flow over an unsaturated and transmissive wadi bed. Once the flow has ceased,

this skin dries and breaks up so that the underlying alluvium is exposed for subsequent

flow events. Crerar et al., (1988) observed from laboratory experiments that a thin

continous silt layer was formed at low velocities. At higher velocities no such layer

occurred, as the bed surface was mobilised, but infiltration to the bed was still apparently

inhibited. It was suggested that this could be due to clogging of the top layer of sand due

to silt in the infiltrating water, or formation of a silt layer below the mobile upper part of

the bed.

Further evidence for the heterogeneity of observed response comes from the

observations of Hughes and Sami (1992) from a 39.6 km2 semi-arid catchment in

S.Africa. Soil moisture was monitored by neutron probe following two flow events. At

some locations immediate response (monitored 1day later) occurred throughout the

profile, at others, an immediate response near surface was followed by a delayed response

at depth. Away from the inundated area, delayed response, assumed due to lateral

subsurface transmission, occurred after 21 days.

The overall implication of the above observations is that it is not possible at present

to extrapolate from in-situ point profile hydraulic properties to infer transmission losses

from wadi channels. However, analysis of observed flood flows at different locations can

allow quantification of losses, and studies by Walters (1990) and Jordan (1977), for

example, provide evidence that the rate of loss is linearly related to the volume of surface

discharge.

For S.W. Saudi Arabia, the following relationships were defined:

LOSSL = 4.56 + 0.02216 UPSQ - 2034 SLOPE + 7.34 ANTEC

(s.e. 4.15)

LOSSL = 3.75 × 10-5 UPSQ0.821 SLOPE -0.865 ACWW0.497

(s.e. 0.146 log units (±34%))

LOSSL = 5.7 × 10-5 UPSQ0.968 SLOPE -1.049

(s.e. 0.184 loge units (±44%))

18

Where:

LOSSL = Transmission loss rate (1000m3/km) (O.R. 1.08-87.9)

3)

UPSQ = Upstream hydrograph volume (1000m (O.R. 69-3744)

SLOPE = Slope of reach (m/m) (O.R. 0.001-0.011)

ANTEC = Antecedent moisture index (O.R. 0.10-1.00)

ACWW = Active channel width (m) (O.R. 25-231)

and O.R. = Observed range

However, generalisation from limited experience can be misleading. Wheater et al.

(1997) analysed transmission losses between 2 pairs of flow gauges on the Walnut Gulch

catchment for a ten year sequence and found that the simple linear model of

transmission loss as proportional to upstream flow was inadequate. Considering the

relationship:

Vx V0 (1 D ) x

rҏ epresents the proportion of flow lost per unit distance, then D was found to decrease

with discharge volume:

D 118.8(V0 ) 0.71

The events examined had a maximum value of average transmission loss of 4076 m3

km-1 in comparison with the estimate of Lane et al. (1971) of 4800-6700 m3 km-1 as an

upper limit of available alluvium storage.

The role of available storage was also discussed by Telvari et al. (1998), with

reference to the Fowler’s Gap catchment in Australia. Runoff plots were used to estimate

runoff production as overland flow for a 4km2 basin. It was inferred that 7000 m3 of

overland flow becomes transmission loss and that once this alluvial storage is satisfied,

approximately two-thirds of overland flow is transmitted downstream.

A similar concept was developed by Andersen et al. (1998) at larger scale for the

sand rivers of Botswana, which have alluvial beds of 20-200m width and 2-20m depth.

Detailed observations of water table response showed that a single major event after a

seven weeks dry period was sufficient to fully satisfy available alluvial storage (the river

bed reached full saturation within 10 hours). No significant drawdown occurred between

subsequent events and significant resource potential remained throughout the dry season.

It was suggested that two sources of transmission loss could be occurring, direct losses to

the bed, limited by available storage, and losses through the banks during flood events.

It can be concluded that transmission loss is complex, that where deep unsaturated

alluvial deposits exist the simple linear model as developed by Jordan (1977) and implicit

in the results of Walters (1990) may be applicable, but that where alluvial storage is

limited, this must be taken into account.

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1.3.4 Groundwater recharge

While the estimation of groundwater recharge is essential to determine the

sustainable yield of a groundwater resource, it is one of the most difficult hydrological

fluxes to quantify. This is particularly so in arid and semi-arid areas, where values are low,

and in any water balance calculation groundwater recharge is likely to be lost in the

uncertainty of the dominant inputs and outputs (i.e. precipitation and evaporation,

together with another minor component of surface runoff).

It can be seen from the preceding discussion that groundwater recharge in arid and

semi-arid areas is dependent on a complex set of spatial-temporal hydrological

interactions that will be dependent on the characteristics of the local climate, the land

surface properties that determine the balance between infiltration and overland flow, and

the subsurface characteristics. Precipitation events in arid areas are generally infrequent,

but can be extremely intense. Where convective rainfall systems dominate, precipitation

is highly localised in space and time (e.g. the monsoon rainfall of Walnut Gulch, Arizona),

but in other climates more widespread winter rainfall may be important, and may include

snow. Precipitation may infiltrate directly into the ground surface or, if overland flow is

generated, be focussed as surface runoff in a flowing channel. We have seen that for arid

climates and convective rainfall, extensive overland flow can occur, enhanced by reduced

surface soil permeabilities as a result of raindrop impact. The relationship between

surface infiltration and groundwater recharge will depend on the subsurface properties,

antecedent conditions, and the duration and intensity of the precipitation.

1.3.4.1 Groundwater recharge from ephemeral channel flows

The relationship between wadi flow transmission losses and groundwater recharge

will depend on the underlying geology. The effect of lenses of reduced permeability on

the infiltration process has been discussed and illustrated above, but once infiltration has

taken place, the alluvium underlying the wadi bed is effective in minimising evaporation

loss through capillary rise (the coarse structure of alluvial deposits minimises capillary

effects). Thus Hellwig (1973), for example, found that dropping the water table below

60cm in sand with a mean diameter of 0.53mm effectively prevented evaporation losses,

and Sorey and Matlock (1969) reported that measured evaporation rates from streambed

sand were lower than those reported for irrigated soils.

Parrisopoulos and Wheater (1991) combined two-dimensional simulation of

unsaturated wadi-bed response with Deardorff’s (1977) empirical model of bare soil

evaporation to show that evaporation losses were not in general significant for the water

balance or water table response in short-term simulation (i.e. for periods up to 10 days).

However, the influence of vapour diffusion was not explicitly represented, and long term

losses are not well understood. Andersen et al. (1998) show that losses are high when the

alluvial aquifer is fully saturated, but are small once the water table drops below the

surface.

Sorman and Abdulrazzak (1993) provide an analysis of groundwater rise due to

20

transmission loss for an experimental reach in Wadi Tabalah, S.W. Saudi Arabia and

estimate that on average 75% of bed infiltration reaches the water table. There is in

general little information available to relate flood transmission loss to groundwater

recharge, however. The differences between the two are expected to be small, but will

depend on residual moisture stored in the unsaturated zone and its subsequent drying

characteristics. But if water tables approach the surface, relatively large evaporation

losses may occur.

Again, it is tempting to draw over-general conclusions from limited data. In the

study of the sand-rivers of Botswana, referred to above, it was expected that recharge of

the alluvial river beds would involve complex unsaturated zone response. In fact,

observations showed that the first flood of the wet season was sufficient to fully recharge

the alluvial river bed aquifer. This storage was topped up in subsequent floods, and

depleted by evaporation when the water table was near-surface, but in many sections

sufficient water remained throughout the dry season to provide adequate sustainable

water supplies for rural villages. And as noted above, Wheater et al. (1997) showed for

Walnut Gulch and Telvari et al. (1998) for Fraser’s Gap that limited river bed storage

affected transmission loss. It is evident that surface water/groundwater interactions

depend strongly on the local characteristics of the underlying alluvium and the extent of

their connection to, or isolation from, other aquifer systems.

Very recent work at Walnut Gulch (Goodrich et al., 2004) has investigated

ephemeral channel recharge using a range of experimental methods, combined with

modelling. These included a reach water balance method, including estimates of near

channel evapotranspiration losses, geochemical methods, analysis of changes in

groundwater levels and microgravity measurements, and unsaturated zone flow and

temperature analyses. The conclusions were that ephemeral channel losses were

significant as an input to the underlying regional aquifer, and that the range of methods

for recharge estimation agreed within a factor of three (reach water balance methods

giving the higher estimates).

1.3.4.2 Spatial variability of groundwater recharge

The above discussion of groundwater recharge from ephemeral channels highlighted

the role of subsurface properties in determining the relationship between surface

infiltration and groundwater recharge. The same issues apply to the relationships between

infiltration and recharge away from the active channel system, but data to quantify the

process response associated with distributed recharge are commonly lacking.

An important requirement for recharge estimation has arisen in connection with the

proposal for a repository for high level nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and a

major effort has been made to investigate the hydrological response of the deep

unsaturated zone which would house the repository. Flint et al. (2002) propose that soil

depth is an important control on infiltration. They argue that groundwater recharge (or net

infiltration) will occur when the storage capacity of the soil or rock is exceeded. Hence

where thin soils are underlain by fractured bedrock, a relatively small amount of

21

infiltration is required to saturate the soil and generate ‘net infiltration’, which will occur

at a rate dependent on the bedrock (fracture) permeability. Deeper soils have greater

storage, and provide greater potential to store infiltration that will subsequently be lost as

evaporation. This conceptual understanding was encapsulated in a distributed

hydrological model, incorporating soil depth variability, and the potential for

redistribution through overland flow. The results indicate extreme variability in space and

time, with watershed modelling giving a range from zero to several hundred mm/year,

depending on spatial location. The high values arise due to flow focussing in ephemeral

channels, and subsequent channel bed infiltration. The need to characterise in detail the

response of a deep unsaturated zone, led to the application at Yucca Mountain of a wide

range of alternative methods for recharge estimation. Hence Flint et al. also review results

from methods including analysis of physical data from unsaturated zone profiles of

moisture and heat, and the use of environmental tracers. These methods operate at a range

of spatial scales, and the results support the modelling conclusions that great spatial

variability of recharge can be expected at the site scale, at least for comparable systems of

fractured bedrock.

The Yucca Mountain work illustrates that high spatial variability occurs at the

relatively small spatial scale of an individual site. More commonly, a broader scale of

assessment is needed, and broader scale features become important. For example, Wilson

and Guan (2004) introduce the term ‘mountain-front recharge’ (MFR) to describe the

important role for many aquifer systems in arid or semi-arid areas of the contribution

from mountains to the recharge of aquifers in adjacent basins. They argue that mountains

have higher precipitation, cooler temperatures (and hence less evaporation) and thin soils,

all contributing to greater runoff and recharge, and that in many arid and semi-arid areas

this will dominate over the relatively small contribution to recharge from direct

infiltration of precipitation from the adjacent arid areas.

It is clear from the above discussion that appropriate representation of spatial

variability of precipitation and the subsequent hydrological response is required for the

estimation of recharge at catchment or aquifer scale, and that even at local scale, these

effects are important.

The preceding discussion illustrates some of the particular characteristics of arid

areas which place special requirements on hydrological modelling, for example for flood,

water resources or groundwater recharge estimation. One evident area of difficulty is

rainfall, especially where convective storms are an important influence. The work of

Michaud and Sorooshian (1994) demonstrated the sensitivity of flood peak simulation to

the spatial resolution of rainfall input. This obviously has disturbing implications for

flood modelling, particularly where data availability is limited to conventional raingauge

densities. Indeed, it appears highly unlikely that suitable raingauge densities will ever be

practicable for routine monitoring. However, the availability of 2km resolution radar data

22

in the USA can provide adequate information and radar could be installed elsewhere for

particular applications. Morin et al. (1995) report results from a radar located at

Ben-Gurion airport in Israel, for example. Where convective rainfall predominates,

rainfall variability is extreme, and raises specific issues of data and modelling. However,

in general, as seen from the discussion of Mountain Front Recharge, the spatial

distribution of precipitation is important.

One way forward for the problems of convective rainfall is to develop an

understanding of the properties of spatial rainfall based on high density experimental

networks and/or radar data, and represent those properties within a spatial rainfall model

for more general application. It is likely that this would have to be done within a

stochastic modelling framework in which equally-likely realisations of spatial rainfall are

produced, possibly conditioned by sparse observations.

Some simple empirical first steps in this direction were taken by Wheater et al.

(1991a,b) for S.W.Saudi Arabia and Wheater et al. (1995) for Oman. In the Saudi Arabian

studies, as noted earlier, raingauge data was available at approximately 10km spacing and

spatial correlation was low. Hence a multi-variate model was developed, assuming

independence of raingauge rainfall. Based on observed distributions,

seasonally-dependent catchment rainday occurrence was simulated, dependent on

whether the preceding day was wet or dry. The number of gauges experiencing rainfall

was then sampled, and the locations selected based on observed occurrences (this allowed

for increased frequency of raindays with increased elevation). Finally, start-times,

durations and hourly intensities were generated. Model performance was compared with

observations. Rainfall from random selections of raingauges was well reproduced, but

when clusters of adjacent gauges were evaluated, a degree of spatial organisation of

occurrence was observed, but not simulated. It was evident that a weak degree of

correlation was present, which should not be neglected. Hence in extension of this

approach to Oman (Wheater et al., 1995), observed spatial distributions were sampled,

with satisfactory results.

However, this multi-variate approach suffers from limitations of raingauge density,

and in general a model in continuous space (and continuous time) is desirable. A family

of stochastic rainfall models of point rainfall was proposed by Rodriguez-Iturbe, Cox and

Isham (1987, 1988) and applied to UK rainfall by Onof and Wheater (1993,1994). The

basic concept is that a Poisson process is used to generate the arrival of storms.

Associated with a storm is the arrival of raincells, of uniform intensity for a given

duration (sampled from specified distributions). The overlapping of these rectangular

pulse cells generates the storm intensity profile in time. These models were shown to

have generally good performance for the UK in reproducing rainfall properties at

different time-scales (from hourly upwards), and extreme values.

Cox and Isham (1988) extended this concept to a model in space and time, whereby

the raincells are circular and arrive in space within a storm region. As before, the

overlapping of cells produces a complex rainfall intensity profile, now in space as well as

23

time. This model has been developed further by Northrop (1998) to include elliptical cells

and storms and is being applied to UK rainfall (Northrop et al., 1999).

Work by Samuel (1999) explored the capability of these models to reproduce the

convective rainfall of Walnut Gulch. In modelling point rainfall, the Bartlett-Lewis

Rectangular Pulse Model was generally slightly superior to other model variants tested.

Table 3 shows representative performance of the model in comparing the hourly statistics

from 500 realisations of July rainfall in comparison with 35 years from one of the Walnut

Gulch gauges (gauge 44), where Mean is the mean hourly rainfall (mm), Var its variance,

ACF1,2,3 the autocorrelations for lags 1,2,3, Pwet the proportion of wet intervals, Mint

the mean storm inter-arrival time (h), Mno the mean number of storms per month, Mdur

the mean storm duration (h).This performance is generally encouraging (although the

mean storm duration is underestimated), and extreme value performance is excellent.

Table 3 Performance of the Bartlett-Lewis Rectangular Pulse Model in representing July

rainfall at gauge 44, Walnut Gulch

Mode 0.103 1.082 0.193 0.048 0.026 0.032 51.17 14.34 1.68

Data 0.100 0.968 0.174 0.040 0.036 0.042 53.71 13.23 2.38

Work with the spatial-temporal model was only taken to a preliminary stage, but

Figure 5 shows a comparison of observed spatial coverage of rainfall for 25 years of July

data from 81 gauges (for different values of the standard deviation of cell radius) and

Figure 6 the corresponding fit for temporal lag-0 spatial correlation. Again, the results are

encouraging, and there is promise with this approach to address the significant problems

of spatial representation of convective rainfall for hydrological modelling.

24

1

0.9

0.8

0.7

0.6

Data

Coverage

1

0.5 2

5

10

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0

0.75 0.8 0.85 0.9 0.95 1

Frequency

G

Figure 5 Frequency distribution of spatial coverage of Walnut Gulch rainfall.

Observed vs. alternative simulations

0.9

0.8

0.7

0.6

Data

1

0.5 2

5

10

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0

0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000

Distance (m)

Observed vs. alternative simulations

25

Where spatial rainfall variability is less extreme, and coarser time-scale modelling is

appropriate (e.g. daily rainfall), recent work has developed a set of stochastic rainfall

modelling tools that can be readily applied to represent rainfall, including effects of

location (e.g. topographic effects or rainshadow) and climate variability and change (e.g.

Chandler and Wheater, 2002, Yang et al., 2005). These use Generalised Linear Models

(GLMs) to simulate the occurrence of a rainday, and then the conditional distribution of

daily rainfall depths at selected locations over an area. Although initially developed and

evaluated for humid temperate climates, work is currently underway to evaluate their use

for drier climates, with application to Iran.

Appropriate strategies for water resource development must recognise the essential

physical characteristics of the hydrological processes. As noted above, groundwater is a

resource particularly well suited to arid regions. Subsurface storage minimises

evaporation loss and can provide long-term yields from infrequent recharge events. The

recharge of alluvial groundwater systems by ephemeral flows can provide an appropriate

resource, and this has been widely recognised by traditional development, such as the

“afalaj” of Oman and elsewhere. There may, however, be opportunities for augmenting

recharge and more effectively managing these groundwater systems. In any case, it is

essential to quantify the sustainable yield of such systems, for appropriate resource

development.

It has been seen that observations of surface flow are ambiguous, due to upstream

tansmission loss, and do not define the available resource. Similarly, observed

groundwater response does not necessarily indicate upstream recharge. Figure 7 presents

a series of groundwater responses from 1985/86 for Wadi Tabalah which shows a

downstream sequence of wells 3-B-96, -97, -98, -99 and -100 and associated surface

water discharges. It can be seen that there is little evidence of the upstream recharge at

the downstream monitoring point.

In addition, records of surface flows and groundwater levels, coupled with

ill-defined histories of abstraction, are generally insufficient to define long term

variability of the available resource.

26

Figure 7 Longitudinal sequence of wadi alluvium well hydrographs and associated

surface flows, Wadi Tabalah, 1985/6

To capture the variability of rainfall and the effects of transmission loss on surface

flows, a distributed approach is necessary. If groundwater is to be included, integrated

modelling of surface water and groundwater is needed. Examples of distributed surface

water models include KINEROS (Wheater and Bell, 1983, Michaud and Sorooshian,

1994), the model of Sharma (1997, 1998) and a distributed model, INFIL2.0, developed

by the USGS to simulate net infiltration at Yucca Mountain (Flint et al., 2000).

A distributed approach to the integrated modelling of surface and groundwater

response following Wheater et al.(1995) is illustrated in Figure 8. This schematic

framework requires the characterisation of the spatial and temporal variability of rainfall,

distributed infiltration, runoff generation and flow transmission losses, the ensuing

groundwater recharge and groundwater response. This presents some technical

difficulties, although the integration of surface and groundwater modelling allows

maximum use to be made of available information, so that, for example, groundwater

response can feed back information to constrain surface hydrological parameterization. A

distributed approach provides the only feasible method of exploring the internal response

of a catchment to management options.

27

DATA MODELS

ANALYSIS RAINFALL SIMULATION

RAINFALL RUNOFF

CALIBRATION DISTRIBUTED RAINFALL-RUNOFF

MODEL

GROUNDWATER RECHARGE

GROUNDWATER

CALIBRATION DISTRIBUTED GROUNDWATER

MODEL

This integrated modelling approach was developed for Wadi Ghulaji, Sultanate of

Oman, to evaluate options for groundwater recharge management (Wheater et al., 1995).

The catchment, of area 758 km2, drains the southern slopes of Jebal Hajar in the

Sharqiyah region of Northern Oman. Proposals to be evaluated included recharge dams to

attenuate surface flows and provide managed groundwater recharge in key locations. The

modelling framework involved the coupling of a distributed rainfall model, a distributed

water balance model (incorporating rainfall-runoff processes, soil infiltration and wadi

flow transmission losses), and a distributed groundwater model (Figure 9).

28

yhpumhssGnlulyh{vyG

JEBEL PLANE

Water Balance Model

WADI BED

ALLUVIAL PLANE

Water Balance Model Transmission Lose

Model

nyv|uk~h{lyGtvklsG

The representation of rainfall spatial variability presents technical difficulties, since

data are limited. Detailed analysis was undertaken of 19 rain gauges in the Sharqiyah

region, and of six raingauges in the catchment itself. A stochastic multi-variate temporal-

spatial model was devised for daily rainfall, a modified version of a scheme orgininally

developed by Wheater et al., 1991a, b. The occurrence of catchment rainfall was

determined according to a seasonally-variable first order markov process, conditioned on

rainfall occurrence from the previous day. The number and locations of active raingauges

and the gauge depths were derived by random sampling from observed distributions.

The distributed water balance model represents the catchment as a network of

two-dimensional plane and linear channel elements. Runoff and infiltration from the

planes was simulated using the SCS approach. Wadi flows incorporate a linear

transmission loss algorithm based on work by Jordan (1977) and Walters (1990).

Distributed calibration parameters are shown in Figure 10.

29

Figure 10 Distributed calibration parameters, water balance model

Finally, a groundwater model was developed based on a detailed hydrogeological

investigation which led to a multi-layer representation of uncemented gravels,

weakly/strongly cemented gravels and strongly cemented/fissured gravel/bedrock, using

MODFLOW.

The model was calibrated to the limited flow data available (a single event) (Table

4), and was able to reproduce the distribution of runoff and groundwater recharge within

the catchment through a rational association on loss parameters with topography, geology

and wadi characteristics. Extended synthetic data sequences were then run to investigate

catchment water balances under scenarios of different runoff exceedance probabilities

(20%, 50%, 80%), as in Table 4, and to investigate management options.

Groundwater

Scenario Rainfall Evaporation Runoff %Runoff

recharge

Wet 88 0.372 12.8 4.0 4.6

Average 33 0.141 11.2 3.5 4.0

Dry 25 0.106 5.5 1.7 3.2

30

This example, although based on limited data, is not untypical of the requirements to

evaluate water resource management options in practice, and the methodology can be

seen as providing a generic basis for the assessment of management options. An

integrated modelling approach provides a powerful basis for assimilating available hard

and soft surface and groundwater data in the assessment of recharge, as well as providing

a management tool to explore effects of climate variability and management options.

1.5 Conclusions

This Chapter has attempted to illustrate the hydrological characteristics of arid and

semi-arid areas, which are complex, and generally poorly understood. For many

hydrological applications, including the estimation of groundwater recharge and

surface/groundwater interactions, these characteristics present severe problems for

conventional methods of analysis. Much high quality experimental research is needed to

develop knowledge of spatial rainfall, runoff processes, infiltration and groundwater

recharge, and to understand the role of vegetation and of climate variability on runoff and

recharge processes. Recent data have provided new insights, and there is a need to build

on these to develop appropriate methods for water resource evaluation and management,

and in turn, to define data needs and research priorities.

Groundwater recharge is one of the most difficult fluxes to define, particularly in

arid and semi-arid areas. However, reliable quantification is essential to maximise the

potential of groundwater resources, define long-term sustainable yields and protect

traditional sources. This requires an appropriate conceptual understanding of the

important processes and their spatial variability, and the assimilation of all relevant data,

including surface water and groundwater information. It is argued that distributed

modelling of the integrated surface water/groundwater system is a valuable, if not an

essential tool, and a generic framework to achieve this has been defined, and a simple

application example presented. However, such modelling requires that the dominant

processes are characterised, including rainfall, rainfall-runoff processes, infiltration and

groundwater recharge, and the detailed hydrogeological response of what are often

complex groundwater systems.

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37

by Wolfgang Kinzelbach, Peter Bauer, Tobias Siegfried, and Philip Brunner

problems and scientific tools

Institute for Hydromechanics and Water Resources Management, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Groundwater is a strategic resource due to its usually water cannot be renewed artificially on a large scale its non-sustain-

high quality and perennial availability. However, able use is a serious danger. This will be illustrated in the following

with various examples.

groundwater management all over the world often lacks

sustainability as evidenced by falling water tables, dry-

ing wetlands, increasing sea-water intrusion and gen- Sustainable water management

eral deterioration of water quality, As groundwater can-

not be renewed artificially on a large scale, sustainable For an assessment of the ground water situation in a catchment, a

definition of sustainable resource utilization is necessary as a starting

management of this resource is vital. A number of scien- point. In the following we will define it as a set of management prac-

tific tools are available to assist in his task. Three items tices, which avoids an irreversible or quasi-irreversible damage to

are discussed here. They include methods for the deter- the resource water and the natural resources depending on it such as

soil and ecosystems. Such management allows the resource water to

mination of groundwater recharge, groundwater model- extend its service, including ecological service, over very long peri-

ing including the estimation of its uncertainty, and the ods of time.

interfacing to the socio-economic field. Generally the The abstraction from a ground water reservoir should in the

quality of water management work can be largely long term not be larger than the long-term average recharge. The

storage property of course allows temporary overpumping. As the

enhanced with new tools available, including remote quantities abstracted may be used consumptively (e.g. by evapotran-

sensing, digital terrain models, differential GPS, envi- spiration in agriculture) and reduce the downstream flows, sustain-

ronmental tracers, automatic data collection, modeling able management with respect to quantity requires that abstraction is

limited to a fraction of recharge in order to guarantee a minimum

and the coupling of models from different disciplines availability of water in the downstream. These principles are violated

in many aquifers all over the world.

Introduction Overpumping of an aquifer

Ground water contributes worldwide about 20% of people’s fresh Steadily falling ground water levels are an indicator of over-

water. Despite this relatively small proportion its role is important pumping. A famous example is the Ogallala aquifer in the United

for two reasons: On the one hand, ground water is well suited for the States. Up to 1990, 162 km3 of water above the natural recharge

supply of drinking water due to its usually high quality. On the other were abstracted from this aquifer. Finally, the pumping had to be

hand, ground water basins are important long-term storage reser- reduced drastically as the pumping costs rose to a level which made

voirs, which in semi-arid and arid countries often constitute the only irrigation with ground water unfeasible (HPUWC, 1998). In North-

perennial water resource. The storage capacity is evident if one com- ern China, Eastern India and North- and South Africa ground water

pares the volumes of surface and ground water resources. Globally levels drop at a speed of 1 to 3 m/yr. The abstractions in the Sahara

the volume of fresh water resources in rivers and lakes is about and in Saudi Arabia empty aquifers, which since the last ice age have

100,000 km3. With about 10,000,000 km3, the volume of ground not had any recharge worth mentioning. It is estimated that by 2010

water is two orders of magnitude larger (e.g. Gleick, 1993, Postel et the water reserves of the deeper aquifers of Saudi Arabia will contain

al., 1996). For sustainable water management, however, the renewal less than one half of what there was in 1998.

rate is more relevant, and for this quantity the situation is reversed. The cause of overpumping is in all cases the large-scale irriga-

The renewal rate of surface water resources is 30,000 km3/a, that of tion with ground water. The quantities pumped for drinking water

ground water only about 3,000 km3/a. Worldwide, about 800 km3 of are small in comparison. Globally, the water use in households is

ground water are utilized by mankind annually. This number still only 8% of the total consumption, while irrigation accounts for 70%.

looks considerably smaller than the yearly renewal rate. However, In arid and semi-arid regions, the proportion of irrigation in total

the global comparison does not do justice to the real situation. Aver- water use may be as large as 90%.

age figures hide the fact that of the yearly withdrawal rate about one Long before an aquifer is dried up by overpumping other phe-

quarter is supplied by non-renewable fossil ground water reserves nomena occur, which indicate a non-sustainable situation.

(Sahagian et al., 1994).

Similarly, in a globally averaged analysis the average pollutant Consequences of ground water table decline

concentrations of ground water become negligible. The natural bal-

ance unit for water resources is the catchment of a river, a spring or Large drawdowns of the ground water table or pressure head

a well. And on that scale things look very different on a case-by-case lead to increased pumping costs, which will limit pumping rates for

basis. Ground water resources are degraded in the long term by over- economic reasons. But increased cost is not the only consequence of

pumping and pollution, and the local and regional utilization of drawdowns. Pressure reduction may lead to land subsidence in soft

ground water is impaired or even has to be abandoned. As ground strata, as happens in Bangkok and Mexico City for example. Long

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280

before an issue of water supply develops, the stability of buildings not be solved by artificial drainage. Of the irrigated 230 Mio. ha agri-

requires the reduction or even halt of ground water abstraction. cultural land worldwide around 80 Mio. ha are in one way or the

If a ground water table is declining too quickly or to a too-deep other afflicted by soil salination.

level the roots of trees relying on ground water (Phreatophytes) may Soil salination is not irreversible, but the time spans for rehabil-

not be able to follow, which leads to their dying off. This is critical itation of the soil can be very long. Soil salination is a problem in all

in dry areas such as the Sahel, where the loss of the capability of trees irrigated areas. Strongly affected countries are Iraq, Egypt, Australia,

to withstand wind leads to an increase in aeolic soil erosion. In wet- the USA, Pakistan and China, to mention only a few.

lands and swamps, in which the visible water table is often a mani-

festation of a ground water table above ground, a drawdown will

lead to their drying up. Scientific methods

Sea water intrusion and upconing of salt water The implementation of water resources management strategies is in

A special consequence of ground water level decline is shown the end a political and economic question. Still, in the analysis of

in coastal areas. Due to the density difference between fresh water on sustainability and the search for solutions, modern methods of water

the land side and salt water on the sea side a salt water wedge devel- research can make a contribution. Three areas are discussed further:

ops, which progresses inland until the pressure equilibrium at the 1. The quantification of ground water recharge

salt-fresh water interface is reached. Every perturbation of this equi- 2. The use of ground water models including the estimates of

librium by reducing the fresh water flow will lead to a further pro- uncertainty; and

gression of the salt water wedge inland, until it eventually reaches 3. The incorporation of economical aspects of sustainability

and destroys the pumping wells. Sea water intrusion is notorious

along the coasts of India, Israel, China, Spain and Portugal, to men-

tion just a few. In the Egyptian Nile Delta, the zone where ground Determination of ground water recharge

water quality is impaired by sea water, reaches up to 130 km inland. rates

On islands in the sea the fresh water lens formed by recharge from

precipitation is often used for drinking water supply. In this situation

the drawdown due to pumping can cause a rise of the salt-fresh water Ground water recharge is the most important parameter for sustain-

interface (upconing). If the interface reaches the well, the well has to ability in arid and semi-arid regions. Despite that fact, it is not yet

be abandoned. possible to measure this important hydrological quantity with suffi-

Similarly, saline water from salt lakes (Chotts) in Tunisia and cient accuracy. Recharge is not directly measurable, and indirect

Algeria, in the vicinity of which ground water is pumped, can be methods introduce various uncertainties. To make things worse, rain

attracted to the wells. A ground water level decline inland can lead to and recharge events in dry climates are of an extremely erratic

the rise of saline water from underlying aquifers. This tendency is nature. Integral methods such as the Wundt method, based on low

seen in Brandenburg, Germany. It can also not be excluded in the flow analysis of rivers are very useful in humid climates, but do not

Upper Rhine Valley. work in arid zones, where the low flow is usually zero. The method

of hydrological water balance is notoriously inaccurate: In the long-

term, average and under neglect of surface runoff recharge is the dif-

Degradation of ground water quality ference between precipitation and evapotranspiration. As these

The discussion of seawater intrusion shows, that the definition quantities are both of the same magnitude and inaccurately known,

of sustainability must include both quantity and quality aspects. The their difference is even more inaccurate. Only if long time series of

available resources are diminished by pollution. Sea water intrusion balance components are available is the balance method feasible, as

is certainly the most widely spread pollution of ground water world- in this case systematic errors accumulate, and can be identified as

wide. It is followed by pollution by nitrates and pesticides from agri- such.

culture. In industrial areas, chlorinated hydrocarbons and mineral oil The methods based on Darcy's law, in which the flow Q through

hydrocarbons are still the main problem. an aquifer cross-section is computed from the cross-sectional area A,

Ground water pollution is in principle not irreversible. In the the hydraulic conductivity K and the hydraulic gradient I as

case of sea water intrusion, a diminishing or abandoning of abstrac-

tions will in the long term let the system return to the original state. Q = A*K*I (1)

In other pollution cases eradication of the source will lead to clean-

ing up within the typical renewal time of the resource. But this time are very inaccurate, as it is extremely difficult to find a representa-

span may be so long that the aquifer cannot be used for drinking tive effective value on the large scale for the usually abnormally dis-

water purposes for several generations, or alternatively money has to tributed hydraulic conductivity K.

be spent on the processing of this water to make it suitable for drink- Both methods can easily be a factor of 10 to 50 off. Better esti-

ing. mates can be obtained at least in sand-gravel aquifers using environ-

The experience of industrialized nations shows that aquifer pol- mental tracers. The classical tracer for recharge estimation is Tritium

lution is a lengthy affair even if active remediation measures are from the nuclear bomb experiments in the 1960s. The atmospheric

taken. The remaining option of treating the water to bring it up to peak of those years reaches the springs and pumping wells with a

drinking water quality is not available for small and decentralized delay. The interpretation of the concentration observed in the well

ground water users in the third world. requires a model for the residence time distribution in the aquifer.

Often, simple black box model concepts are used. In the simplest

Soil salination case a plug flow is assumed. If more information on the geometry of

the aquifer is available, more realistic residence time distributions

A further non-sustainable practice, which must be mentioned can be derived by means of numerical ground water flow models,

here due to its connection with ground water, is soil salination. It is which are able to take into account a more realistic aquifer structure.

caused by too high ground water tables. If in arid climates the ground It has to be remembered however that the interpretation leads to pore

water table rises (e.g. due to irrigation) to a distance of 1 to 2 m velocities and not specific fluxes. Both are connected by the effec-

below the ground surface evaporation of ground water through cap- tive porosity, a quantity, which in sand gravel aquifers is reasonably

illary rise starts. The dissolved salts precipitate and accumulate in the well known and much less variable than the hydraulic conductivity.

topsoil, finally leading to infertility of the land. In regions with very In principle, every non-reactive trace substance in the atmos-

small gradients and little permeable soil, this problem can usually phere with a well-known concentration history and distribution can

December 2003

40

be used in a similar fashion as Tritium. This is of great interest, as

the Tritium peak has lost much of its usefulness by decay. A new

group of tracers are the freons and SF6, the atmospheric concentra-

tions of which have been growing exponentially since the middle of

the last century. The freon concentrations have been stagnating or

declining for the last few years due to the ban on their production.

These molecules are however not a complete replacement for Tri-

tium, as Tritium moves as part of the water molecule, while freons as

gases diffuse much faster through the unsaturated zone and only in

the ground water are they transported with the velocity of the water

in which they are dissolved.

In Southern Botswana we used freon tracers for a crude test. In

this desert-like region one can occasionally find fresh water in the

middle of a very saline environment. The question is now whether

this water has been formed recently or whether it is a just a nest of

fossil fresh water, which would not survive a prolonged pumping Figure 1 10-yearly mean of the difference between precipitation

test. Freons were found only in wells in which another method — the and evapotranspiration in (mm/a) from remotely sensed data.

chloride method — which is described below, also indicated rela-

tively large recharge. But while the chloride method cannot say any- year in similar fashion. This can be proved by principal component

thing about the time of recharge, the presence of freons confirmed analysis. The spatial information from satellite images therefore

that these aquifers have had recent recharge, and pumping them already allows a more realistic spatial distribution of recharge than

makes sense. would be arrived at with the assumption of homogeneity over the

In combination with its decay product Helium-3, Tritium can be whole region. But the absolute value must be adjusted, and it can be

employed as a stop watch. The ratio of the concentration of both iso- obtained from an average of all chloride values of the region. That

topes allows a direct age determination over a time of up to 40 years. this procedure makes sense can also be seen from a comparison of

In the beginning, there is no Helium-3 as long as it can escape as gas recharge rates obtained from remote sensing data and the recharge

to the atmosphere. As soon as a water drop reaches the saturated rates obtained from well clusters in the same pixels. These show a

zone, Helium-3 can no longer escape, and is enriched relative to Tri- correlation coefficient of about 70%. The correlation can be used to

tium. This method is independent of source strength. Corrections are calibrate the recharge map obtained from remote sensing. It is

necessary due to oversaturation of ground water with air and possi- encouraging to see that the sub-region with the highest computed

ble inputs of Helium from mantle and crust (Schlosser et al., 1989). recharge rates is also the region with the highest observed ground

Stable isotopes such as oxygen 18 and Deuterium can also yield water levels.

information on recharge and relevant processes. Their concentration Generally, remote sensing, be it from an airplane or a satellite

in water is determined by phase transitions. In the project in platform, opens up new avenues for water resources management

Botswana we could have, for example, very reliably determined the especially in large countries with weak infrastructure. Local hydro-

proportion of water in a well coming from the nearby river or from logical research can be interpolated and completed into more areal

the native ground water as the river water has a clear evaporation sig- data sets. Generally, remote sensing data are always of interest if

nature. Stable isotopes can be employed as mixing tracers as well as they allow reduction of the degrees of freedom of a model by an

transient tracers. For very old water, carbon 14 can be used as an age objective zonation of the whole region considered. We use satellite

tracer. The progress in mass spectroscopy will in future make many images not only in the determination of precipitation and evapotran-

more tracer groups available for hydrology e.g. isotope ratios of rare spiration; from the vegetation distribution and the distribution of

earths or metals. open water surfaces after the rainy season hints of the spatial distrib-

A method often employed successfully in arid regions is the ution of recharge can be abstracted. Multi-spectral satellite images

chloride method. This method uses the deposition of wind-blown sea can show the distribution of salts at the soil surface. For large areas,

salt aerosol. The resulting chloride concentration in soil water the GRACE mission will allow the contribution of soil water bal-

increases by evaporation and transpiration. If the surface runoff is ances calculated from variations in the gravitational field of the

negligible, the concentration increase is proportional to the evapo- earth. New developments in geomatics allow us to obtain accurate

transpiration rate and the recharge rate can be derived from digital terrain models on small scales from laser scanning or

stereophotometric methods and on a large scale from radar satellite

R = (cP*P+D)/(cB) (2) images. In both cases, checkpoints on the surface are required which

can be obtained with differential GPS. Digital terrain models are

where cP is the chloride concentration in rain water, P the pre- important in all cases where the distance to ground water table or a

cipitation and D the dry deposition of chloride. cB is the chloride flooded area at varying water surface elevation play a role. The com-

concentration below the zero upward flux plane. It can be approxi- bination of remote sensing, automatic sensors with data loggers,

mated by the concentration in shallow ground water. The method GPS, and environmental tracers in combination with the classical

requires the long term observation of wet and dry deposition of chlo- methods of hydrology and hydrogeology allows us to introduce into

ride, and of course there must not be any other source of chloride water resource studies a new quality, especially in those cases in

such as evaporates in the subsoil. which in earlier times lack of infrastructure and poor accessibility

Contrary to the inaccurate large-scale water balance methods, were limiting.

the chloride method yields more accurate but very local estimates of

recharge rates. Because of this complementarity a combination of the

two methods is promising. In northern Botswana the difference

between precipitation and evapotranspiration was determined using

Ground water modeling

satellite images over 10 years (Brunner et al., 2002). This difference

indicated a recharge potential. The precipitation can be obtained Modeling is indispensable in the field of ground water, as in the geo-

from METEOSAT data, and the evapotranspiration can be estimated sciences in general, as the accessibility of the objects of study is very

from NOAA-AVHRR data using for example the SEBAL algorithm limited. Because of the rather slow reactions of a ground water sys-

(Bastiaanssen et al., 1998). The result (on the basis of 97 utilizable tem to changes in external conditions, a tool for prediction and plan-

NOAA images) its shown in Figure 1. While the numerical values ning is necessary. Ground water models allow us to bring all avail-

themselves are unreliable the pattern is stable, and shows up every able data together into a logical holistic picture on a quantitative

41

282

wells for different configurations of wells with the same total

abstraction rate.

Despite the widespread use of models, care is advisable. Mod-

els are notoriously uncertain, and their prognostic ability is often

overestimated. The necessary input data are usually known only par-

tially or only at certain points, instead of in their spatial distribution.

Lacking input parameters have to be identified during calibration,

which, as a rule, does not yield a unique solution. Ground water

models are usually overparameterized, and good model fits are fea-

sible with different sets of parameters, which in a prognostic appli-

cation of the model however would yield different results. A respon-

sible use of models acknowledges their uncertainty and takes it into

account when interpreting results. For the estimation of model

uncertainty, several methods are available today, which go far

Figure 2 Computed horizontal and vertical distributions of the beyond the classical engineering philosophy of best case-worst case

freshwater lens under Weizhou Island (In the vertical section the analysis. The spectrum of stochastic modeling methods contains

upconing caused by the central well is visible). error propagation, as do Monte Carlo simulation and many others.

Let us look for example at the often-used formula (1) which

estimates the flow through an aquifer cross-section with Darcy's law.

basis. As the first step, the system with all its dominant processes None of the three factors is known exactly, and would therefore be

must be understood. In this calibration phase observation data are considered a stochastic variable with uncertainty. The hydraulic con-

integrated and parameters identified. Only a calibrated model can be ductivity for example is usually lognormally distributed and even if

utilized for predictions. In the prognostic application the strength of we know the value of this variable at several points in the aquifer the

models lies in the ease with which scenarios can be compared to each spatial average value estimated from those still allows for a consid-

other. Finally, the integrative effect a model can develop in a project erable estimation variance. The measured hydraulic gradients are

should not be underestimated. It forces the participants to undertake also not exact numbers, not so much due to the measurement accu-

disciplined and goal-oriented cooperation. racy of the dipper, but due to inaccuracies in the leveling of the well

An example of a model application done in cooperation with and temporal variations of heads. Finally there is some leeway in the

Chinese colleagues is given in Figure 2 (Li, 1994). A ground water cross-sectional area, which might be obtained from a geophysical

model is used to study the sustainability of ground water abstraction. method. The product of three stochastic variables is again a stochas-

On the island of Weizhou, off the South China coast, an increase of tic variable into which the uncertainties of the factors propagate. In a

ground water pumping for the extension of tourism is planned. numerical model this process takes place in every cell of the dis-

About a third of the available recharge is required for the additional cretized model domain, as every flux across a finite difference cell

water supply. In principle, shallow or even horizontal wells would be for example is also calculated by (1). It is therefore advisable to show

advisable in order to avoid saltwater upconing. But due to the unfa- modesty when heading towards prognostic use of models. How a

vorable conductivity of the upper strata, the fresh

water lens on Weizhou is best pumped in a deeper

aquifer layer. If the pumping is concentrated in one

well, within a few years, the salinity of the pumped

water becomes unacceptable due to saltwater upcon-

ing. If the pumping is distributed over two wells at a

4 km distance, an acceptable final salinity is

reached. It the pumping rate is distributed over four

wells sitting on a square with side length 1 km, the

chloride concentration stays below 200 mg/l all of

the time (Figure 3). The model in this case allows us

to find a technical solution to the problem, as the

total pumping rate stays well below the total

Figure 4 Catchment area of a well: deterministic and stochastic approaches, a)

recharge. If the pumping rate is higher than total

Result of deterministic modeling, b) Unconditional stochastic modeling, c) Stochastic

recharge the best model in the world can not find a

modeling with conditioning by 11 long term observed heads.

pumping strategy that avoids salt water intrusion.

December 2003

42

283

more appropriate stochastic procedure could look like is discussed As long as the pumping rate of the n users is smaller than QN,

with the example of the determination of catchment areas of wells the difference between recharge and consumptive use will flow out

(Vassolo et al., 1998, Stauffer, et al., 2002). of the basin to a receiving stream. It is clear that in the long term the

It is reckless to draw the catchment of a well by a precise line, total abstraction cannot surpass the recharge rate. Sooner or later, the

as shown in Figure 4a. It will never be possible to determine a catch- abstraction has to adapt to the availability of water. It is however

ment with this precision. A stochastic approach calculates all catch- wise to get to that equilibrium at an early stage, i.e. at a relatively

ments which result from parameter combinations within the uncer- high water table. First, the higher water table allows larger short-

tainty limits of the parameters (e.g. transmissivities of n zones and term overpumping to overcome a drought, for example. Secondly,

recharge rates of m zones). In the simplest procedure, this is possible the higher water table reduces the specific pumping cost for all users.

by sampling the parameter combination from the individual distribu- If every user goes for a large drawdown and a deep well, all users

tions. Then, for each set of parameters a catchment is computed, will in the end have to shoulder higher specific pumping costs.

yielding a set of catchments which can be analyzed for their statisti- Ground water is a resource which rewards partnership and punishes

cal properties. By superimposing all catchments, every point on the egotism. Negri showed (Negri, 1989) how a collective decision in

surface can be assigned a probability of belonging to the real catch- the common pool problem leads to a better solution than the sum of

ment of the well. This distribution is usually rather broad (Figure all independent, individual decisions. In the soil salination problem,

4b). It does not yet take into account measured data for state vari- the situation is similar, only with the opposite sign in the water table

ables such as heads, spring flows or tracer concentrations. Through change. All irrigators infiltrate water and cause the ground water

this information the distribution can be conditioned. Only the subset table rise. At a depth to water table of less than 2 m, the already

of catchments is selected which is compatible with the observations. saline ground water starts to evaporate, leading to rapid salinization.

Incorporating 11 long-term observation data of piezometric heads Collective self-restraint will again lead to a better solution. The soil

the distribution of Figure 4b is narrowed considerably (Figure 4c). salination problem in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation District in Aus-

This is the typical way we gain knowledge in the earth sciences. In tralia is of this type. The irrigation of rice leads to considerable per-

the beginning, almost everything is conceivable. Measurements colation, and results in ground water table rise. If the present prac-

allow us to filter the realistic cases which are compatible with the tices are continued, up to another 35% of the arable land could be

data from the set of imaginable cases. This procedure corresponds to salinized before an equilibrium between the input of irrigation water

the Bayes principle. From an a priori distribution, an a posteriori dis- from the river, the outflow from drains and the output by evaporation

tribution is obtained by conditioning with data. Data are valuable if is reached. With model calculations it has been shown (Zoellmann,

they lead to a reduction of the width of the stochastic distribution. To 2001) that reducing the rice growing area by one half will basically

be fair, it has to be mentioned that stochastic modeling needs data to halt the salination process at present levels. Figure 5 shows a com-

yield reasonably narrow distributions. These data are however of a parison between the ground water table rise after 30 years for the

slightly different nature than usual. What is required besides the present rice growing area and for a 50% reduced rice growing area.

usual scarce observation data of state variables are distribution char- In a project of our institute in Xinjiang, China, it was investi-

acteristics of parameters. gated how far the pumping of ground water for irrigation could keep

The usefulness of models need not suffer from the admission the water table at a suitable depth in order to prevent salination.

that they are uncertain. The resource engineer is not interested in Again, this is primarily an economic problem, as the pumped ground

every detail of nature; he wants to propose a robust solution which water costs about 10 times as much as river water, which has been

will function also if the underground does not exactly look as antici- used exclusively up to now and which has led to considerable ground

pated. For this type of decision the stochastic approach is adequate. water table rise. The choice of the system boundary for optimization

It allows even the quantification of the risk to take a wrong decision. is crucial. If downstream ecological benefits are taken into account,

the higher cost of ground water may be bearable.

The soil salination problem illustrates another basic economic

Socio-economic aspects aspect. If one applies the classic economic principle of optimizing

discounted net benefits, the discount rate plays an important role. At

a discount rate of 5%, costs and benefits in 40 years' time are already

Decisions on sustainability take place in the economic-political

so small that they have no impact on the optimization. The short-

sphere. Models are therefore more useful the more they manage to

term gain has much more weight. For slow processes such as salina-

interface with socio-economic aspects. The aquifer exploitation

tion, the time scale of which can be easily 40 years or more, the usual

problem is a typical common pool problem. Consider the situation of

economic optimization is unable to take those future penalties into

n users of an aquifer, which receives a total recharge QN.

Figure 5 Modeled groundwater table rise over 30 years in Murrumbidgee Irrigation District, Australia, a) at present rice growing area, b)

at 50% reduction of rice growing area.

43

284

account. Alternatives to the classical optimization are required Brunner, P., M. Eugster, P. Bauer, W. Kinzelbach, Using Remote Sensing to

which give a greater value to the future, e.g., by constraints on the regionalize local precipitation recharge rates obtained from the Chloride

final value of the agricultural land and its salinity. Of course the state Method, Journal of Hydrology, accepted, 2003.

can repair this deficiency by regulations, which enter the optimiza- Gleick P.H. (editor), 1993. Water in Crisis, A Guide to the World's Fresh

Water Resources, Oxford University Press, New York.

tion problem as constraints. HPUWC, 1998. High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No.1,

The Ogallala Aquifer, http://www.hub.of the.net/hpwd/ogallala.html.

Li, G.-M., 1994. Saltwater Intrusion in Island Aquifers, Dissertation (in Chi-

Conclusions nese), China University of Geosciences, Wuhan.

Negri, D.H., 1989. The common property aquifer as a differential game.

Water Resources Research 25, 9-15.

The sustainable management of aquifers is a burning problem in Postel S. L., Daily G. C., Ehrlich P. R., 1996. Human Appropriation of

many countries. New scientific tools can assist in its solution, both in Renewable Fresh Water, SCIENCE, Vol. 271.

the analysis of whether the present management is sustainable and in Sahagian D.L., Schwartz F. W., Jacobs D.K., 1994. Direct Anthropogenic

the definition of strategies and measures to achieve sustainability. Contributions to Sea Level Rise in the Twentieth Century, NATURE,

Models will always play a role in this task. A new model generation Vol. 367.

can use new data sources such as environmental tracers, remote sens- Schlosser, P. Stute M., Sonntag, C. und Münnich, K. O., 1989. Tritiogenic

3He in shallow ground water. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 94, p. 245-256.

ing data and geophysical data. It must however not only simulate an

average deterministic situation but also analyze the uncertainty of its Stauffer, F., S. Attinger, S. Zimmermann, W. Kinzelbach, 2002. Uncertainty

estimation of well catchments in heterogeneous aquifers, WRR, 38(11),

predictions by a stochastic approach in order to remain credible. p. 20.1-20.8.

Finally, the natural and engineering sciences have to interface much Vassolo, S., W. Kinzelbach, W. Schäfer, 1998. Determination of a well head

more with economics and politics to be of real practical use. protection zone by stochastic inverse modelling. Journal of Hydrology

206, p. 268-280.

Zoelmann, K., 2001. Nachhaltige Bewässerungslandwirtschaft in semi-ari-

References den Gebieten, Diss. ETH Zürich, Nr. 1399

(1998). A remote sensing surface energy balance algorithm for land

(SEBAL). 1. Formulation. Journal of Hydrology, 212-213:213-229.

Germersheim, Germany, in 1949. mental sciences at Swiss Federal

Educated as a physicist he turned to Institute of Technology (ETH). He

environmental engineering and received his master degree for the

devote his research to flow and development of a groundwater flow

transport phenomena in the aquatic and transport model of a small basin

environment. He received his doc- in Botswana. He deepened his stud-

toral degree from Karlsruhe Univer- ies at the London School of Econom-

sity in 1978. After professorships at ics in the field of International Rela-

Kassel University and Heidelberg tions as a postgraduate. In his cur-

University he is presently the head rent PhD work at the Institute of

of the Institute of Hydromechanics Hydromechanics and Water

and Water Resources Management Resources Management at ETH, he

at the Swiss Federal Institute of is concerned with optimal utilisation

Technology (ETH) in Zurich. His of a large-scale non-renewable

research interests are in environ- groundwater resource in Northern

mental hydraulics, nuclear waste Africa.

disposal and sustainable water

resources management.

mental engineering at the Swiss concepts for the sustainable water

Federal Institute of Technology management in the Okavango Delta,

(ETH). He currently works at the Botswana. He received his Diploma

Institute of Hydromechanics and at the Swiss Federal Institute of

Water Resources Management as a Technology thesis in 1999.

PhD student. His research focuses

on the modelling of the water and

salt fluxes through an agriculturally

used basin in Xinjiang, China. The

final goal of the PhD- project is to

understand and reproduce the

process of salination and to develop

sustainable strategies of water- and

salt management.

December 2003

44

Coinceptual Models For Recharge Sequences In Arid And Semi-Arid

Regions Using Isotopic And Geochemical Methods

W.M. Edmunds 1

ABSTRACT

The application of hydrogeochemical techniques in understanding the water

quality problems of semi-arid regions is described and follows the chemical pathway

of water from rainfall through the hydrological cycle. In this way it becomes possible

to focus on the question of modern recharge, how much is occurring and how to

recognise it as well as the main processes controlling water composition. It is vital to

be able to recognise the interface between modern water and palaeowaters as a basis

for sustainable management of water resources in such regions. The relative

advantages of chemical. isotopic and related methods are introduced and it is

emphasized that a conjunctive multitracer approach is usually required. Chemical and

especially isotopic methods help to distinguish groundwater of different generations.

In fact, the development of water quality may be viewed as an evolution series over

time: i) undisturbed evolution under natural conditions; ii) the development phase

with some disturbance of natural conditions, especially stratification; iii) development

with contamination, and iv) artificially managed systems. A number of case studies

from Sudan, Nigeria, Senegal as well as North African counties and China are used to

illustrate the main principles.

INTRODUCTION

Groundwater quality issues now assume major importance in semi-arid and arid

zones, since scarce reserves of groundwater (both renewable and non-renewable) are

under threat due to accelerated development as well as a range of direct human

impacts. In earlier times, settlement and human migration in Africa and the Middle

East region were strictly controlled by the locations and access to fresh water mainly

close to the few major perennial rivers such as the Nile, or to springs and oases,

representing key discharge points of large aquifers that had been replenished during

wetter periods of the Holocene and the Pleistocene. This is a recurring theme in

writings of all the early civilisations where water is valued and revered (Issar 1990).

The memory of the Holocene sea level rise and pluvial periods is indicated in the

story of the Flood (Genesis 7:10) and groundwater quality is referred to in the book of

Exodus (15:20). More recent climate change may also be referred to in the Koran

(Sura 34; 16).

In present times groundwater forms the primary drinking water source in arid

and semi-arid regions, since river flows are unreliable and large freshwater lakes are

1

Oxford Centre for Water Research, School of Geography and the Environment,

South Parks Road,,Oxon. OX1 3TB, UK. E-mail: wme@ouce.ox.ac.uk.

45

either ephemeral (e.g. Lake Chad) or no longer exist. The rules of use and exploitation

have changed dramatically over the past few decades by the introduction of advanced

drilling technology for groundwater (often available alongside oil exploitation), as

well as the introduction of mechanised pumps. This has raised expectations in a

generation or so of the availability of plentiful groundwater, yet in practice falling

water levels testifies to probable over-development and inadequate scientific

understanding of the resource, or failure of management to act on the scientific

evidence available. In addition to the issues related to quantity, quality issues

exacerbate the situation. This is because the natural groundwater regime established

over long time scales has developed chemical (and age) stratification in response to

recharge over a range of climatic regimes and geological controls. Borehole drilling

cuts through the natural quality layering and abstraction may lead to deterioration in

water quality with time as water is drawn either from lower transmissivity strata, or is

drawn down from the near-surface where saline waters are commonplace.

Investigations of water quality are therefore needed alongside, and even in

advance of widespread exploitation. The application of hydrogeochemical techniques

are needed to fully understand the origins of groundwater, the timing of its recharge

and whether or not modern recharge is occurring at all. The flow regime at the present

day may differ from that at the time of recharge due to major changes in climate from

the original wetter recharge periods; this may affect modelling of groundwater in

semi-arid and arid regions and geochemical investigation may help to create and to

validate suitable models.

Study is needed of the extent of natural layering and zonation as well as chemical

changes taking place along flow lines due to water-rock interaction (predicting for

example if harmful concentrations of certain elements may be present naturally). The

superimposed impacts of human activity and the ability of the aquifer system to act as

a buffer against surface pollution can then be determined against natural baselines.

Typical landscape elements of (semi-)arid regions are shown in Figure 1, using

the example of North Africa, where a contrast is drawn between the infrequent and

small amounts of modern recharge as compared with the huge reserves of

palaeowaters recharged during wetter climates of the Pleistocene and Holocene.

Broad wadi systems and palaeo-lakes testify to former less arid climates. Against this

background the main water quality issues of arid and semi-arid regions can be

considered both for North Africa and other similar regions. Geochemical techniques

can be applied for defining and mitigating several of the key water issues in (semi-

)arid areas. These issues include salinisation, recharge assessment, residence time

estimation and the definition of natural (baseline) water quality, as a basis for

studying pollution and human-induced changes more generally. In this context it is

noted that the mainly continental sandstones indicated in the diagram are highly

oxidised and that dissolved O2 can persist to considerable depths in many basins.

Under oxidising conditions several elements (Mo, Cr, As) or species such as NO3

remain stable and may persist or build up along flow pathways.

46

Figure 1. Landscape hydrogeology and hydrogeochemical processes in arid and semi-

arid regions. The generalised cross-section illustrates the geological environment

found in North Africa, where sedimentary basins of different ages overstep each other

unconformably and may be in hydraulic continuity with each other.

This paper describes the application of hydrogeochemical techniques in

conceptualising groundwater quality in semi-arid regions, especially in Africa, and

follows the chemical pathway of water from rainfall through the hydrological cycle.

In this way it becomes possible to focus on the question of modern recharge, how

much is occurring and how to recognise it. It is vital to be able to recognise the

interface between modern water and palaeowaters as a basis for sustainable

management of water resources in such regions. Chemical and especially isotopic

methods can help to distinguish groundwater of different generations and to

understand water quality evolution.

METHODS OF INVESTIGATION

Hydrogeochemical investigations consist of two distinct steps – sampling and

analysis. Special care is needed with sampling because of the need for

representativeness of sample, the question of mixtures of water (especially

groundwaters which may be stratified), the need to filter or not to filter, as well as the

stability of chemical species. For groundwater investigations a large range of tools is

available, both chemical and isotopic, for investigating chemical processes and overall

water quality in (semi-)arid regions. However, it is essential that unstable variables

such as pH, temperature, Eh and DO be measured in the field. Some details on field

approaches are given by Appelo & Postma (1993) and also by Clark & Fritz (1997).

47

Table 1. Principal geochemical tools for studies of water quality in (semi-)arid zones.

Examples and references to the literature are given in the text

Geochemical/ Role in evaluating water quality and salinity

isotopic tool

Master variable: Inert tracer in nearly all geochemical processes, use in

Cl

recharge estimation and to provide a record of recharge history.

Br/Cl Use to determine geochemical source of Cl.

Half-life 3.01u105 years. Thermonuclear production - use as tracer of Cl

36 cycling in shallow groundwater and recharge estimation. Potential value

Cl

for dating over long time spans and also for study of long-term recharge

processes. However, in situ production must be known.

Cl/35Cl

saline/hypersaline environments, may allow finger printing.

Inorganic tracers: Diagnostic ratio for (modern) sea water.

Mg/Ca Diagenetic reactions release incompatible trace elements and may provide

diagnostic indicators of palaeomarine and other palaeowaters.

Sr, I, etc.

Metals indicative of oxidising groundwater. Nitrate stable under aerobic

Mo,Cr,As,U,NO3,

conditions.

Fe2+

Indicative of reducing environments.

Nutrients: (NO3,K, Nutrient elements characteristic of irrigation return flows and pollution.

PO4 – also DOC)

Essential indicators, with Cl, of evaporative enrichment and to quantify

į18O, į 2H evaporation rates in shallow groundwater environments. Diagnostic

indicators of marine and palaeomarine waters.

Sr,11B

carbonate environments.

Indicator for evolution of sea-water sulphate undergoing diagenesis.

į 34S

Characterisation of evaporite and other SO4 sources of saline waters.

Recognition of modern recharge: past 50 years. Mainly unreactive. CFC-12, CFC-

CFC’s, SF6

11 and CFC-113 used conjunctively.

3

H Recognition of modern recharge (half-life 12.3 years).

C, į 13C

of carbon geochemistry (including use of 13C) is essential to interpretation.

groundwaters in arid and semi-arid areas is given in Table 1. Chloride can be regarded

as a master variable. It is chemically inert and is therefore conserved in the

groundwater system - in contrast to the water molecule, which is lost or fractionated

during the physical processes of evapotranspiration. The combined use of chloride

and the stable isotopes of water (į18O, į2H) therefore provide a powerful technique

48

for studying the evolution of groundwater salinity as well as recharge/discharge

relationships (Fontes 1980; Clark & Fritz 1997; Coplen et al. 1999). A major

challenge in arid zone investigations is to be able to distinguish saline water of

different origins including saline build-up from rainfall sources, formation waters of

different origins, as well as relict sea water. The Br/Cl ratio is an important tool for

narrowing down different sources of salinity (Rittenhouse 1969; Edmunds 1996;

Davis et al. 1998), discriminating specifically between evaporite, atmospheric and

marine Cl sources. The relative concentrations of reactive tracers, notably the major

inorganic ions, must be well understood, as they provide clues to the water-rock

interactions which give rise to overall groundwater mineralisation. Trace elements

also provide an opportunity to fingerprint water masses; several key elements such as

Li and Sr are useful tools for residence time determinations. Some elements such as

Cr, U, Mo and Fe are indicative of the oxidation status of groundwater. The isotopes

of Cl may also be used: 36Cl to determine the infiltration extent of saline water of

modern origin (Phillips 1999) and į37Cl to determine the origins of chlorine in saline

formation waters. The measurement precision (better than ±0.09‰) makes the use of

chlorine isotopes a potential new tool for studies of environmental salinity (Kaufmann

et al. 1993). In addition, several other isotope ratios: į15N (Heaton 1986), į87Sr

(Yechieli et al. 1992) and į11B (Bassett 1990; Vengosh & Spivak 1999) may be used

to help determine the origins and evolution of salinity. Accumulations of 4He may

also be closely related to crustal salinity distributions (Lehmann et al. 1995).

For most investigations it is likely that conjunctive measurement by a range of

methods is desirable (e.g. chemical and isotopic; inert and reactive tracers). However,

several of the above tools are only available to specialist laboratories and cannot be

widely applied, although it is often found that the results of research using detailed

and multiple tools can often be interpreted and applied so that simple measurements

then become attractive. In many countries advanced techniques are not accessible and

so it is important to stress that basic chemical approaches can be adopted quite

successfully. Thus major ion analysis, if carried out with a high degree of accuracy

and precision, can prove highly effective; the use of Cl mass balance and major

element ratios (especially where normalised to Cl) are powerful investigative

techniques.

Isotopic and chemical techniques are diagnostic for time scales of water

movement and recharge, as well as in the reconstruction of past climates when

recharge occurred. In this way the application of hydrogeochemistry can help solve

essentially physical problems and can assist in validating numerical models of

groundwater movement.

A palaeohydrological record for Africa has been built up through a large number

of palaeolimnological and other archives which demonstrate episodic wetter and drier

interludes throughout the late Pleistocene and Holocene (Servant & Servant-Vildary

1980; Gasse, 2000). The late Pleistocene was generally cool and wet although at the

time of the Last Glacial Maximum much of North Africa was arid, related to the much

49

lower sea surface temperatures. The records show, however, that the Holocene was

characterised by a series of abrupt and dramatic hydrological events, mainly related to

monsoon activity, although these events were not always synchronous over the

continent. Evidence (isotopic, chemical and dissolved gas signatures) contained in

dated groundwater forms important and direct proof of the actual occurrence of the

wet periods inferred from the stratigraphic record as well as the possible source,

temperature and mode of recharge of the groundwater. Numerous studies carried out

in North Africa contain pieces of a complex hydrological history.

There is widespread evidence for long-term continuous recharge of the

sedimentary basins of North Africa based on sequential changes in radiocarbon

activities (Gonfiantini et al. 1974; Edmunds & Wright 1979; Sonntag et al. 1980).

These groundwaters are also distinguishable by their stable isotopic composition;

most waters lie on or close to the global meteoric water line (GMWL) but with lighter

compositions than at the present day. This signifies that evaporative enrichment was

relatively unimportant and that recharge temperatures were lower than at present. This

is also supported by noble gas data, which show recharge temperatures at this time

typically some 5-7 oC lower than at present (Fontes et al. 1991; 1993; Edmunds et al.

1999). Following the arid period at the end of the Pleistocene, groundwater evidence

records episodes of significant recharge coincident with the formation of lakes and

large rivers, with significant recharge from around 11 kyr BP. Pluvial episodes with a

duration of 1-2000 years are recorded up until around 5.5 kyr BP, followed by onset

of the aridity of the present day from around 4.5 kyr BP.

In Libya, during exploration studies in the mainly unconfined aquifer of the Surt

Basin, a distinct body of very fresh groundwater (<50 mg L-1) was found to a depth of

100 m which cross-cuts the general NW-SE trend of salinity increase in water dated to

the late Pleistocene (Edmunds & Wright 1979). This feature (Figure 2) is around 10

km in width and may be traced in a roughly NE-SW direction for some 130 km. The

depth to the water table is currently around 30-50 m. Because of the good coverage of

water supply wells for hydrocarbon exploration a three-dimensional impression could

be gained of the water quality. It is clear that this feature is a channel that must have

been formed by recharge from a former ancient river system. No obvious traces of this

river channel were found in the area, which had undergone significant erosion,

although Neolithic artefacts and other remains testify that the region had been settled

in the Holocene. Whereas the regional, more mineralised groundwater gave values of

0.7-5.4% modern carbon, indicating a late Pleistocene age, the fresh water gave

values from 37.6-51.2% modern carbon (corresponding ages ranging from 5000-7800

years) and were also distinctive in their hydrogeochemistry. Evidence from shallow

wells in the vicinity, however, proved that fresh water of probable Holocene age was

also present more widely at the water table, indicating that direct recharge was

simultaneously occurring at a regional scale. Similar channels, preserving the

Holocene/ Pleistocene interface, have been described by Pearson & Swarzenski (1974)

from Kenya. In Mali the records of Holocene floods from northward migration of the

Niger River inland delta are also well recorded (Fontes et al. 1991).

50

Figure 2 Chloride concentration contours in groundwater from the Surt Basin, Libya,

define a freshwater feature cross-cutting the general water quality pattern. This feature

is younger water from a former wadi channel, superimposed on the main body of

palaeowater.

In comparison with the distinctive light isotopic composition of late Pleistocene

recharge which lies close to the GMWL, Holocene groundwater is characterised by

heavier, more evaporated compositions (Edmunds & Wright 1979; Darling et al. 1987;

Dodo & Zuppi 1997). Extrapolation of these light isotopic compositions along lines of

evaporation on the delta diagrams to the GMWL allow identification of the

composition of the parent rains. It is proposed (Fontes et al. 1993) that these

systematically light isotopic compositions were caused by an intensification of the

monsoon coincident with northward movement of the ITCZ, resulting in convective

heavy rains with low condensation temperatures. From the distribution of such

groundwaters over the Sahara it is implied that the ITCZ moved some 500 km to the

north during the Holocene.

51

RAINFALL CHEMISTRY

Information on the conservative chemical components of rainfall is required by

hydrologists to perform chemical mass balance studies of river flow and recharge.

Rainfall may also be considered as the 'titrant' in hydrogeochemical processes, since it

represents the initial solvent in the study of water-rock interaction. A knowledge of

rainfall chemistry can also contribute to our fundamental understanding of air mass

circulation, both from the present day synoptic viewpoint, as well as for past climates. In

fact, very little information is available on rainfall composition. This is particularly true

for Africa, where only limited rainfall chemical data are available. However, a

reasonable understanding of the isotopic evolution of rainfall in (semi-) arid areas is

emerging, for example within the African monsoon using isotopes (Taupin et al. 1997;

2000). The stable isotope (į18O and į2H) composition of precipitation can aid

identification of the origin of the precipitated water vapour and its condensation history,

and hence give an indication of the sources of air masses and the atmospheric circulation

(Rozanski et al. 1993). Several chemical elements in rainfall (notably Cl) behave inertly

on entering the soil and unsaturated zone and may be used as tracers (Herczeg &

Edmunds 1999). The combined geochemical signal may then provide a useful initial

tracer for hydrologists, as well as providing a signal of past climates from information

stored in the saturated and unsaturated zones (Cook et al. 1992; Tyler et al. 1996; Tyler

& Edmunds 2001). In fact, over much of the Sahara-Sahel region rainfall-derived solutes,

following concentration by evapotranspiration, form a significant component of

groundwater mineralisation (Andrews et al. 1994).

Rainfall chemistry can vary considerably in both time and space, especially in

relation to distance from the ocean. This is well demonstrated in temperate latitudes

for North America (Junge & Werby 1957); the basic relationship between decreasing

salinity and inland distance has also been demonstrated for Australia (Hingston &

Gailitis 1976). The chemical data for Africa are very limited and it is not yet possible

to generalise on rainfall chemistry across the continent. The primary source of solutes

is marine aerosols dissolved in precipitation, but compositions may be strongly

modified by inputs from terrestrial dry deposition. Because precipitation originates in

the ocean, its chemical composition near the coast is similar to that of the ocean.

Aerosol solutes are dissolved in the atmospheric moisture through release of marine

aerosols near the sea surface (Winchester & Duce 1967). This initial concentration is

distinctive in retaining most of the chemical signature of sea water, for example the

high Mg/Ca ratio as well as a distinctive ratio of Na/Cl. As rainfall moves inland

towards the interior of continents, sulphate and other ions may increase relative to the

Na and Cl ions.

The more detailed studies of African rainfall have used stable isotopes in relation

to the passage of the monsoon from its origins in the Gulf of Guinea (Taupin et al.

2000) towards the Sahel, where the air masses track east to west in a zone related to

the position and intensity of the Inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ). While the

inter-annual variations and weighted mean compositions of rainfall are rather similar,

consistent variations are found at the monthly scale which are related to temperature

52

and relative humidity. This is found from detailed studies in southern Niger, where

the isotopic compositions reflect a mixture of recycled vapour (Taupin et al. 1995).

Chloride may be regarded as an inert ion in rainfall, with distribution and

circulation in the hydrological cycle taking place solely through physical processes. A

study of rainfall chemistry in northern Nigeria has been made by Goni et al. (2001).

Data collected on an event basis throughout the rainy seasons from 1992 to 1997

showed weighted mean Cl values ranging from 0.6 to 3.4 mg L-1. In 1992, Cl was

measured at five nearby stations in Niger with amounts ranging from 0.3 to 1.4 mg L-1.

The spatial variability at these locations is notable. However, it seems that apart from

occasional localized convective events, the accumulation pattern for Cl is temporally

and spatially uniform during the monsoon; chloride accumulation is generally

proportional to rainfall amount over wide areas. This is an important conclusion for

the use of chloride in mass balance studies.

Bromide, like chloride, also remains relatively inert in atmospheric processes,

though there is some evidence of both physical and chemical fractionation in the

atmosphere relative to Cl (Winchester & Duce 1967). The Br/Cl ratio may thus be used

as a possible tracer for air mass circulation, especially to help define the origin of the Cl.

The ratio Br/Cl is also a useful palaeoclimatic indicator (Edmunds et al. 1992), since

rainfall ratio values may be preserved in groundwater in continental areas. Initial Br

enrichment occurs near the sea surface with further modifications taking place over

land. The relative amounts of chloride and bromide in atmospheric deposition result

initially from physical processes that entrain atmospheric aerosols and control their

size. A significant enrichment of Br over Cl, up to an order of magnitude, is found in

the Sahelian rains (Goni et al. 2001), when compared to the marine ratio. Some Br/Cl

enrichment results from preferential concentration of Br in smaller sized aerosol

particles (Winchester & Duce 1967. However, the significant enrichment in the

Nigerian ratio is mainly attributed to incorporation of aerosols from the biomass as

the monsoon rains move northwards, either from biodegradation or from forest fires.

What is clear is that atmospheric dust derived from halite is unimportant in this region,

since this would give a much lower Br/Cl ratio.

Diffuse recharge through the unsaturated zone over time scales ranging from

decades to millennia is an important process in controlling the chemical composition

of groundwater in (semi-)arid regions. In this zone fluctuations in temperature,

humidity and CO2 create a highly reactive environment. Below a certain depth (often

termed the zero-flux plane) the chemical composition will stabilise, and in

homogeneous porous sediments near steady-state movement (piston flow) takes place

towards the water table. It is important that measurements of diffuse groundwater

recharge only consider data below the zero-flux plane. Some vapour transport may

still be detectable below these depths at low moisture fluxes, however, as shown by

the presence of tritium at the water table in some studies (Beekman et al. 1997). The

likelihood of preferential recharge via surface runoff (see below) is also important in

many (semi-)arid regions.

53

In indurated or heterogeneous sediments in (semi-)arid systems in some terrains,

by-pass (macropore or preferential) flow may also be an important process. In older

sedimentary formations joints and fractures are naturally present. In some otherwise

sandy terrain where carbonate material is present, wetting and drying episodes may

lead to mineralisation in and beneath the soil zone, as mineral saturation (especially

calcite) is repeatedly exceeded. This is strictly a feature of the zone of fluctuation

above the zero-flux plane, however, where calcretes and other near-surface deposits

may give rise to hard-grounds with dual porosities. Below a certain depth the

pathways of soil macropore movement commonly converge and a more or less

homogeneous percolation is re-established. In some areas, such as the southern USA,

by-pass flow via macropores is found to be significant (Wood & Sandford 1995;

Wood 1999). In areas of Botswana it is found that preferential flow may account for

at least 50% of fluxes through the unsaturated zone (Beekman et al. 1999; De Vries et

al. 2000).

Four main processes influence soil water composition within the upper

unsaturated zone:

i) The input rainfall chemistry is modified by evaporation or evapotranspiration.

Several elements such as chloride (also to a large extent Br, F and NO3) remain

conservative during passage through this zone and the atmospheric signal is retained.

A build-up of salinity takes place, although saline accumulations may be displaced

annually or inter-annually to the groundwater system.

ii) The isotopic signal (į2H, į18O) is modified by evaporation, with loss of the

lighter isotope and enrichment in heavy isotopes with a slope of between 3 to 5

relative to the meteoric line (with a slope of 8). Transpiration by itself, however, will

not lead to fractionation (Fontes 1982).

iii) Before passage over land, rainfall may be weakly acidic and neutralisation by

water-rock interaction will lead rapidly to an increase in solute concentrations.

iv) Biogeochemical reactions are important for the production of CO2, thus assisting

mineral breakdown. Nitrogen transformations are also important (see below),

leading frequently to a net increase in nitrate input to the groundwater.

These processes may be considered further in terms of the conservative solutes

that may be used to determine recharge rates and recharge history. The reactive

solutes provide evidence of the controls during reaction, tracers of water origin and

pathways of movement, as well as an understanding of the potability of water supplies.

Tritium has been widely used in the late 20th century to advance our knowledge

of hydrological processes, especially in temperate regions (Zimmerman et al. 1967). It

has also been used in a few key studies in (semi-)arid zones where it has been applied,

in particular, to the study of natural movement of water through unsaturated zones. In

several parts of the world including the Middle East (Edmunds & Walton 1980;

Edmunds et al. 1988), North Africa (Aranyossy & Gaye 1992; Gaye & Edmunds

54

1996) and Australia (Allison & Hughes, 1978), classical profiles from the unsaturated

zone show well-defined 1960s tritium peaks some metres below surface, indicating

homogeneous movement (piston flow) of water through profiles at relatively low

moisture contents (2-4 wt%). These demonstrate that low, but continuous rates of

recharge occur in many porous sediments. In some areas dominated by indurated

surface layers, deep vegetation or very low rates of recharge, the tritium peak is less

well defined (Phillips 1994), indicating some moisture recycling to greater depths (up

to 10 m), although overall penetration of modern water can still be estimated. Some

problems have been created with the application of tritium (and other tracers) to

estimate recharge, through sampling above the zero-flux plane, where recycling by

vegetation or temperature gradients may occur (Allison et al. 1994).

The usefulness of tritium as a tracer has now largely expired due to weakness of

the signal following cessation of atmospheric thermonuclear testing and radioactive

decay (half-life 12.3 years). It may still be possible to find the peak in unsaturated

zones, but this is likely to be at depths of 10-30 m based on those areas where it has

been successfully applied. Other radioisotope tracers, especially 36Cl (half-life

301,000 years), which also was produced during weapons testing, still offer ways of

investigating unsaturated zone processes and recharge at a non-routine level. However,

in studies where both 3H and 36Cl have been applied, there is sometimes a discrepancy

between recharge indications from the two tracers due to the non-conservative

behaviour of tritium (Cook et al. 1994; Phillips 1999). Nevertheless, the position and

shape of the tritium peak in unsaturated zone moisture profiles provides convincing

evidence of the extent to which 'piston displacement' occurs during recharge, as well

as providing reliable estimates of the recharge rate.

An example of tritium profiles (with accompanying Cl profiles) sampled in 1977

from adjacent sites in Cyprus is shown in Figure 3, which shows peaks at between 9

and 13 m depth. These peaks correspond with rainfall tritium (uncorrected) for the

period from the 1950s to 1970s. The profiles approximate piston displacement and the

peaks align well. A vertical moisture movement of 0.9 m yr-1 is calculated and the

recharge rates are 52 and 53 mm yr-1; these figures compare well with estimates using

Cl (Edmunds et al. 1988). A further example of tritium as a timescale indicator is

shown in Figure 4.

55

C l (mg l-1)

-1

Cl (mg l )

0 100 200 0 100 200

0 0

AK 2 AK3

5 5

1963

10 1963 10

Depth (m)

Depth (m)

15 15 C s =120

20 20

C s = 119

25 25

Water Table

30 30

0 100 200 0 100 200

Tritium (TU) Tritium (TU)

Figure 3. Tritium and chloride profiles from Akrotiri Cyprus with corresponding

rainfall tritium.

5

MC G18O GH Cl 3

H NO3

10

SAHEL

15 1963

Depth (m)

DROUGHT

20

25

30

35

40

0 2 4 6 8 10 -5 0 5 -60 -40 -20 0 20 400 20 40 60 80 100 0 20 40 60 80 100

0 10 20 30 40

Moisture Content 18

G O (per mil) 2

G H (per mil) Chloride (mg l-1) 3

H (Tritium Units) NO3-N (mg l-1)

Figure 4. Profiles of tritium, stable isotopes, chloride and nitrate in the unsaturated

zone from the same location – profile L18, Louga, Senegal. This profile records the

impact of the Sahel drought from 1969 to 1989.

Stable isotopes

Stable isotopes have been used in the study of recharge but in general only semi-

quantitative recharge estimates can be obtained. In (semi-)arid regions, however, the

56

fractionation of isotopes between water and vapour in the upper sections of

unsaturated zone profiles has been used successfully to calculate rates of discharge

(Barnes & Allison 1983; Fontes et al. 1986) and to indicate negligible recharge

(Zouari et al. 1985).

At high rainfall, the recharging groundwater undergoes seasonal fractionation

within the zone of fluctuation (Darling & Bath, 1988), but any seasonal signal is

generally smoothed out with the next pulse of recharge and little variation remains

below the top few metres. In (semi-) arid zones, however, where low recharge rates

occur, the record of a sequence of drier years may be recorded as a pulse of 18O-

enriched water, as recorded for example from Senegal (Gaye & Edmunds 1996).

Isotopic depletion in deep unsaturated zones in North America has been used to infer

extended wet and dry intervals during the late Pleistocene (Tyler et al 1996). Extreme

isotopic enrichment in the unsaturated zone accompanies chloride accumulation over

intervals when recharge rates are zero (Darling et al. 1987).

Chloride

Numerous studies using Cl as a conservative tracer in recharge calculations have

been reported, and Cl mass-balance methods probably offer the most reliable

approach to recharge estimation for semi-arid and arid regions (Allison et al. 1994). In

addition, Cl analysis is inexpensive and is widely applicable, bringing it within the

budgets of most water resource organisations, although the capacity for accurate

measurements at low Cl concentrations is required. The methods of investigation are

straightforward and involve the recovery of dry samples by augur, percussion drilling,

or dug wells followed by the measurement of moisture content and the elution of Cl.

A number of criteria must be satisfied or taken into account for successful application

of the technique: That no surface runoff occurs, that Cl is solely derived from rainfall,

that Cl is conservative with no additions from within the aquifer, and that steady-state

conditions operate across the unsaturated interval where the method is applied

(Edmunds et al. 1988; Herczeg & Edmunds 1999; Wood 1999). As with tritium, it is

important that sampling is made over a depth interval which passes through the zone

of fluctuation. For the example shown in Figure 3, from Cyprus, the mean (steady-

state) concentrations of Cl in the pore waters (119 and 122 mg L-1 respectively)

provide recharge estimates of 56 and 55 mm yr-1. These estimates are derived using

mean Cl data over three years at the site for rainfall chemistry and the measured

moisture contents. Macropore flow is often present in the soil zone, but in the Cyprus

and northern African profiles, in the absence of large trees this is restricted to the top

2-4 m of the profile.

Nitrate

Groundwater beneath the arid and semi-arid areas of the Sahara is almost

exclusively oxidising. The continental aquifer systems contain little or no organic

matter and dissolved oxygen concentrations of several mg L-1 may persist in

palaeowater dated in excess of 20,000 years old (Winograd & Robertson 1982,

57

Heaton et al. 1983). Under these conditions nitrate also is stable and acts as an inert

tracer recording environmental conditions. Nitrate concentrations in Africa are often

significantly enriched and frequently exceed 10 mg L-1 NO3-N (Edmunds & Gaye

1997; Edmunds 1999). High nitrate concentrations may be traced in interstitial waters

through the unsaturated zone to the water table and are clearly the result of

biogeochemical enrichment. This enrichment is well above concentrations from the

atmosphere, allowing for evapotranspiration, and the source is most likely to be

naturally occurring N-fixing plants such as acacia, though in the modern era some

cultivated species may also contribute. In Senegal (Edmunds & Gaye 1997), the NO3-

N/Cl ratio can even exceed 1.0. A record of nitrate in the unsaturated zone can

therefore be used as an indicator of vegetation changes, including land clearance and

agriculture.

The main process of groundwater mineralisation takes place by acid-base

reactions in the top few metres of the earth's crust. Natural rainfall acidity is between

pH 5 and 5.5. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations are low, but may increase significantly

due to microbiological activity in the soil zone. In warmer tropical latitudes the

solubility of CO2 is lower than in cooler mid-high latitude areas and weathering rates

will be somewhat lower (Tardy, 1970; Berner & Berner, 1996). The concentration of

soil CO2 (pCO2) is nevertheless of fundamental importance in determining the extent

of a reaction; an open system with respect to the soil/atmosphere reservoir may be

maintained by diffusion to a depth of several metres.

Investigation of the geochemistry of pore solutions in the unsaturated zone is

usually hampered by low moisture contents. Elutriation using distilled water is

possible for inert components but not for reactive solutes, since artefacts may be

created in the process. Where moisture contents exceed about 5 wt% it may be

possible to extract small volumes by immiscible liquid displacement (Kinniburgh &

Miles 1983). Results for one profile from Nigeria (see Edmunds et al. 1999) illustrate

the trends for some elements in relation to Cl (Figure 5). An increase in Na/Cl above

that in rainfall indicates that some reaction with the rock is taking place (probably

feldspar dissolution). Concentrations of Fe and Al show strong gradients, probably

related to low pH in the top 10 m of the profile.

58

0

rain rain

2

Cl

4

6

Depth (m)

8 Al

10

12 NO3-N Fe (total)

14

16

water table mNa/Cl mMg/Cl Sr/Ca.103

18

0 20 40 60 80 100 0 4 8 12 16 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.00.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0 5 10 150.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0 5 10 15 20

mgl-1 mg l-1

3

mgl-1 mgl-1 mNa/Cl mMg/Cl mSr/Ca.10

from northern Nigeria with concentrations and ratios for a number of elements. The

molar N/Cl (u10) is also plotted on the nitrate diagram.

Recharge history

In deep unsaturated zones where piston flow can be demonstrated and where

recharge rates are very low it may be possible to reconstruct climate and recharge

history. Such profiles have been used to examine the recharge history over the decadal

to century scale (or longer) in several parts of the world, as well as to reconstruct the

related climate change (Edmunds and Tyler, 2002). More recently global estimates of

recharge have been made based mainly on Cl mass balance and these are examined in

relation to climate variability (Scanlon et al. 2006). Records up to several hundreds of

years have been recorded from China (Ma and Edmunds 2005) and for several

millennia from USA (Tyler et al. 1996)

An example of an integrated study from Senegal using tritium, Cl and stable

isotopes is given in Figure 4, based on Gaye & Edmunds (1996) and Aranyossy &

Gaye (1992). Samples were obtained from Quaternary dune sands where the water

table was at 35 m and where the long-term (100 year) average rainfall is 356 mm yr-1

(falling by 36% to 223 mm since 1969 during the Sahel drought). The tritium peak

clearly defines the 1963 rainfall as well as demonstrating that piston displacement is

occurring. A recharge rate of 26 mm yr-1 is indicated and little if any by-pass flow is

taking place.

The profile has a mean Cl concentration (23.6 mg L-1) that corresponds to a

recharge rate of 34.4 mm yr-1, calculated using a value for rainfall Cl of 2.8 mg L-1

and an average rainfall of 290 mm yr-1. This rate is in close agreement with the

tritium-derived value, indicating homogeneous movement with little dispersion of

both water and solute. Oscillations in Cl with depth are due to variable climatic

conditions, and the prolonged Sahel drought is indicated by the higher Cl

concentrations. These profiles have been used to create a chronology of recharge

events (Edmunds et al. 1992). The stable isotope values are consistent with the trends

in recharge rates indicated by Cl, the most enriched values corresponding to high Cl

59

and periods of drought, but the stable isotopes are unable to quantify the rate of

recharge, unlike Cl and 3H.

Spatial Variability

The use of the chloride mass balance in the unsaturated zone is now being widely

adopted for diffuse recharge estimation in semi-arid regions (Allison et al., 1994; Gaye

and Edmunds, 1996; Wood and Sandford, 1995). Conservative rainfall solutes,

especially chloride, are concentrated by evapotranspiration and the consequent build-

up in salinity is inversely proportion to the recharge rate. This method is therefore

ideally suited to the measurement of low recharge rates; it is also attractive since, in

sharp contrast to instrumental approaches, decadal or longer average rates of recharge,

preserved in thick unsaturated zone profiles may be obtained. The results of recent

applications of the chloride mass balance approach using profiles to derive recharge

assessments in different parts of the northern hemisphere (Africa and Asia) are shown

in Figure 6. Some of these are single data points but for some areas multiple sites are

represented for the same area; only those profiles are shown which are 8m in length,

where steady state moisture and chloride are recorded, indicating net downward flux of

moisture. The sources of data are given in the caption. Several interesting features

emerge:

i) There is a cut off point around 200 mm mean annual rainfall which signifies the

lower limit for effective recharge.

ii) Above this threshold there is the possibility for recharge as in Cyprus where 100

mm recharge is measured from 400 mm rainfall. Nevertheless, the technique

records small but finite recharge rates in some areas with rainfall as high as 550

mm.

iii) At any one site a large range of recharge may occur in a small area implying that

spatial variability is likely to be considerable, due to soil, geology or vegetation

controls, since seasonal rainfall variability is likely to be evened out over the

decadal timescales of most profiles.

iv) Finite, if low, recharge rates still occur even in those areas with mean annual

rainfall below 200mm (eg. Tunisia, Saudi Arabia). However these low rates also

signify moderate salinity in the profiles; with the absence of recharge, salinity

accumulation will be continuous as found in southern Jordan.

60

Figure 6. Recharge estimates from different countries using the Cl mass balance

Most of the profiles are from sandy terrain (sandstones or unconsolidated dune

sands). Few examples are shown of clay-rich sediments. An exception is the Damascus

Basin profile which is predominantly clay-loam (Abou Zakhem and Hafez, 2001) and

which shows very low recharge. Two profiles from China are from loess sediments and

these show modest rates of recharge. The recharge phenomenon is examined further

with reference to the data from Senegal where a wide range of recharge rates has been

measured across the Sahel region with rainfall ranging from 290-720 mm/yr.

One way to determine the spatial variability of recharge using geochemical

techniques is to use data from shallow dug wells. Water at the immediate water table in

aquifers composed of relatively homogeneous porous sediments represents that which

is derived directly from the overlying unsaturated zone. Recharge estimates may then

be compared with those from unsaturated-zone profiles to provide robust long term

estimates of renewable groundwater, taking into account the three dimensional

moisture distributions and based on timescales of rainfall from preceding decades. A

series of 120 shallow wells in a 1600 km2 area of NW Senegal (Figure 7) were used to

calculate the areal recharge from the same area from which the point source recharge

estimates were obtained (Edmunds and Gaye, 1994). Average chloride concentration

for seven separate profiles at this site is 82 mg L-1, giving a spatially averaged recharge

of 13 mm yr-1.

61

Figure 7. Spatial distribution of Cl measured in dug wells in NW Senegal and regional

recharge estimates. Unsaturated zone profiles were measured at the research sites

indicated and gave good correlation for diffuse recharge rates

The topography of this area has a maximum elevation of 45m and decreases

gently towards the coast and to the north; the natural groundwater flow is to the north-

west. The dug wells are generally outside the villages and human impacts on the water

quality are regarded as minimal; the area is either uncultivated savannah or has been

62

cleared and subjected to rainfed agriculture. The Cl concentrations in the shallow wells

have been contoured, and range from <50 to >1000 mg/l Cl (Figure 3a). These are

proportional to recharge amounts which vary from >20 to <1mm a-1 (Figure 3b) The

spatial variability may be explained mainly by changes in sediment grain size between

the central part of the dune field and its margins where the sediments thin over older,

less permeable strata. Over the whole area the renewable resource may be calculated at

between 13 000 and 1100 m3/ km2/yr.

Focused recharge

The paper has focused so far on diffuse recharge where regional resource

renewal takes place through mainly homogeneous sandy terrain, typical of much of

North Africa. In areas of hard rock or more clay-rich terrain or where there is a well

developed drainage system, it is likely that recharge will be focused along wadi lines

and some recharge will occur via storms and flash floods, even where the mean

annual average rainfall is below 200mm.

One example of this has been described from Sudan (Darling et al. 1987;

Edmunds et al. 1992). The wadi system (Wadi Hawad) flows as a result of a few

heavy storms each year in a region with rainfall around 200mm/yr. The regional

terrain (the Butana Plain) is mainly clay sediments and it can be shown that there is no

net diffuse recharge, demonstrated by fact that Cl is accumulating in the unsaturated

zone. The deep groundwater in the region is clearly a palaowater with recharge having

occurred in the Holocene. Shallow wells at a distance of up to 1 km from the wadi

line contain water with tritium, all of which indicated a large component of recent

recharge (24-76 TU). Samples of deep wells from north of the area, away from the

main Wadi Hawad, all gave values d 9 T.U. Thus the wadi acts as a linear recharge

source and sustains the population of small villages and one small town through a

freshwater lens that extends laterally from the wadi.

REGIONS

From the foregoing discussion it is evident from geochemical and isotopic

evidence that significant recharge to aquifer systems does not occur at present in most

arid and semi-arid regions. In the Senegal example illustrated above, recharge rates to

sandy areas with long-term average rainfall of around 350 mm are between <1 and 20

mm. It is likely that these results could be extrapolated to other regions with similar

landscape, geology and climate over much of northern Africa, though preferential

recharge along drainage systems is also important, providing areas with small but

sustainable supplies. These present-day low recharge conditions will have an impact

on the overall chemistry due to lower water-rock ratios and larger residence times,

leading to somewhat higher salinities and evolved hydrogeochemistry.

Africa is characterised by several large overstepping sedimentary basins (Figure

1) which contain water of often excellent quality. Much of this water is shown to be

63

palaeowater recharged during the late Pleistocene or Holocene pluvial periods.

Hydrogeochemical processes observed in these aquifers have principally been taking

place along flow-lines under declining heads towards discharge points in salt lakes or

at the coast. Present rates of groundwater movement in the large sedimentary basins

are likely to be less than one metre per year; in the Great Artesian Basin of Australia

rates as low as 0.25 mm yr-1 are recorded (Love et al. 2000). Piezometric decline has

generally been occurring, since fully recharged conditions and transient conditions are

likely to be still operating at the present day as adjustment continues towards modern

recharge conditions. Groundwater in large basins is never ‘stagnant’ and water-rock

interaction will continue to occur. The evolution of inorganic groundwater quality is

considered here in the light of the isotopic evidence, which provides information on

the age and different recharge episodes in the sedimentary sequences.

The integrated use of inert chemical and isotopic techniques provides a powerful

means of determining the origin(s) of groundwater in semi-arid regions. To a large

extent these tracers (Cl, į18O, į2H) are the same as used in studies of the unsaturated

zone and may be adopted to clearly fingerprint water from past recharge regimes.

However, the longer time scales of groundwater recharge require the assistance of

radiocarbon dating and, if possible, other radioisotopic tools such as 36Cl, 81Kr and

39

Ar (Loosli et al. 1999). Noble gas isotopic ratios also provide evidence of recharge

temperatures which are different from those of the present day (Stute & Schlosser

2000).

Several elements, especially Br and Br/Cl ratios, remain effectively inert in the

flow system and may be used to follow various input sources and the evolution of

salinity in aquifers (Edmunds 1996a; Davis et al. 1998). An example is given from the

Continental Intercalaire in Algeria (Edmunds et al. 2003) along a section from the

Saharan Atlas to the discharge area in the Tunisian Chotts (Figure 6). The overall

evolution is indicated by Cl, which increases from around 200 to 800 mg L-1. The

sources of salinity are shown by the Br/Cl ratio; the increase along the flow-lines for

some 600 m is due to the dissolution of halite from one or more sources, whilst in the

area of the salt lakes (chotts) some influence of marine formation waters is indicated

(possibly from water flowing to the chotts from a second flow-line). Fluorine remains

buffered at around 1 mg L-1 controlled by saturation with respect to fluorite and iodine

follows fluorine behaviour, being released from the same source as F possibly from

organic rich horizons. The Cl and Br concentrations and ratio are related to inputs and

differ from F and I, which are principally controlled by water-rock interaction.

The degree of groundwater mineralisation in the major water bodies in semi-arid

and arid zones, recharged during the Holocene and the late Pleistocene, is likely to be

a reflection of atmospheric/soil chemical inputs, the relatively high recharge rates

during the pluvial episodes, the aquifer sedimentary facies and mineralogy. Most of

64

North Africa south of latitude 28oN comprises variable thicknesses of continental

sediments overlying crystalline basement, whereas to the north, marine facies may

occur containing residual formation waters and intra-formational evaporites which

lead to high salinities. Similar relationships are found in the coastal aquifers of West

Africa, as well as on the Gulf of Guinea. In the Surt Basin of Libya the change of

facies to marine sediments is marked by a progressive change in chemistry (especially

Sr increase) as groundwater moves north of latitude 28o30c (Edmunds 1980). For

many of the large basins of the Sahara and Sahel, away from coastal areas, the

groundwater chemistry for inert solutes reflects, to a significant extent, inputs from

the atmosphere (Fontes et al 1993). Superimposed on these inputs, the effects of

water-rock interactions in mainly silicate dominated rock assemblages are recorded.

Important changes in reactive tracers (major and trace elements) also occur,

which can be followed by (time-dependent) water-rock reactions. In addition to the

chemical signature derived from atmospheric inputs, the chemistry of groundwater is

determined to a significant extent by reactions taking place in the first few metres of

the unsaturated or saturated zone and reflecting the predominant rock type. Any

incoming acidity will be neutralised by carbonate minerals or, if absent, by silicate

minerals. In the early stages of flow the groundwater will approach saturation with

carbonates (especially calcite and dolomite) and thereafter will react relatively slowly

with the matrix in reactions where impurities (e.g. Fe, Mn and Sr) are removed from

these minerals, and purer minerals are precipitated under conditions of dynamic

equilibrium towards saturation limits with secondary minerals (e.g. fluorite and

gypsum).

During this stage, other elements may accumulate with time in the groundwater

and indicate if the flow process is homogeneous or not; discontinuities in the

chemistry are likely to indicate discontinuities in the aquifer hydraulic connections.

An example from the Continental Intercalaire aquifer in Algeria/Tunisia (Edmunds et

al. 2003) shows how the major elements may vary along the flow line. The ratios of

reactive versus an inert tracer are used to indicate the evolution. The very constant

Na/Cl ratio (weight ratio of 0.65) throughout the flow path as salinity increases

indicates the dissolution of halite with very little reaction; at depth a different source

is indicated. The Mg/Ca ratio indicates that saturation with respect to calcite (0.60) is

approached after a short distance but that this is disturbed at depth by water depleted

in Mg, probably from the dissolution of gypsum. The K/Na ratio increases along the

flow-line from 0.05 to 0.18, suggesting a time-dependent release of K from feldspars

or other silicate sources.

Redox reactions

Under natural conditions, groundwater undergoes oxidation-reduction (redox)

changes moving along flow-lines (Champ et al. 1979; Edmunds et al. 1984). The

solubility of oxygen in groundwater at the point of recharge (around 10-12 mg L-1)

reflects the ambient air temperature and pressure. The concentration of dissolved

oxygen (DO) in newly recharged groundwater may remain high (8-10 mg L-1),

indicating relatively little loss of DO during residence in the soil or unsaturated zone

65

(Edmunds et al. 1984). Oxygen slowly reacts with organic matter and/or with Fe2+

released from dissolution of impure carbonates, ferromagnesian silicates or with

sulphides. Oxygen may persist, however, for many thousands of years in unreactive

sediments (Winograd & Robertson 1982). Complete reaction of oxygen is marked by

a fall in the redox potential (Eh) by up to 300 mV. This provides a sensitive index of

aquifer redox status. A decrease in the concentration of oxygen in pumped

groundwater therefore may herald changes in the input conditions. An increase in

dissolved iron (Fe2+) concentration as well the disappearance of NO3 may be useful as

secondary indicators.

The Continental Intercalaire aquifer illustrates redox conditions for a typical

continental aquifer system in an arid zone. The redox boundary corresponds with a

position some 300 km along the flow path in the confined aquifer and in waters of late

Pleistocene age (Edmunds et al. 2003). Neither Eh nor O2 measurements were

possible in the study, but the position of the redox change is clearly marked by the

disappearance of NO3, the increase in Fe2+, as well as in the sharp reduction in

concentrations of several redox-sensitive metals (Cr, U for example), which are

stabilised as oxy-anions under oxidising conditions.

Salinity generation

Salinity build up in groundwater in (semi-)arid regions has several origins, some

of which are referred to in the preceding sections. Edmunds & Droubi (1998) review

the topic and discuss the main issues and techniques for studies in such regions. Three

main sources are important – atmospheric aerosols, sea water of various generations

and evaporite sequences, all of which may be distinguished using a cocktail of

chemical or isotopic techniques (Table 1).

Atmospheric inputs that slowly accumulate over geological time scales are of

great importance as a source of salinity. The impact on groundwater composition will

be proportional to the inputs (including proximity to marine or playa source areas),

climate change sequences and the turnover times of the groundwater bodies. The

accumulation of salinity from atmospheric sources is most clearly demonstrated from

the Australian continent (Hingston & Galitis 1976), where the landscape and

groundwaters reflect closely the deposition of aerosols over past millennia.

Formation waters from marine sediments are important as a salinity source in

aquifers near to modern coastlines. Different generations of salinity may be

recognised, either from formation waters laid down with young sediments or from

marine incursions arising from eustatic or tectonic changes. Evaporites containing

halite and/or gypsum are an important cause of quality deterioration in many aquifers

in present day arid and semi-arid regions. Formation evaporites are usually associated

with inland basins of marine or non-marine origin. The different origins and

generations of salinity in formation waters may be characterised by a range of isotopic

and chemical tracers, such as į87Sr and į11B (Table 1).

66

CONCLUSIONS

This paper has focused on water quality from a number of different viewpoints: a)

as a diagnostic tool for understanding the occurrence evolution of groundwater; b) as

a means for determining the recharge amounts; and c) as a means for studying the

controls on groundwater quality dependent on geology and time scales. Emphasis has

been placed on natural processes rather than direct human impacts such as pollution.

Nevertheless, in arid regions the deterioration of groundwater quality due to human

activity, such as excessive pumping, may lead to loss of resources through salinisation

and the approach adopted here will assist in a better understanding of what may be

going on. Salinity increase is also a consequence of point source (single well/village)

or regional (town and city) pollution, and any overall quality deterioration may be

monitored using simple parameters such as specific electrical conductance (SEC) or

chloride.

The approach adopted here has been to recognise that water contains numerous

items of chemical information that may be interpreted to aid water management.

Measurement in the field and in the laboratory of the basic chemistry can

inexpensively provide additional information during exploration, development and

monitoring of groundwater resources. Too often only physical parameters are seen as

important. For example, it is important to understand not only that water levels are

falling, but why they are falling. Some key recommendations that emerge from this

chapter may be summarised as:

Data requirements

Useful information may be obtained through the measurement and careful

interpretation of a few key parameters. In the field, the measurement of T, pH and

SEC are thus recommended. Temperature is essential, since it provides a proxy for the

depth of sample origin in cases where details of production are unknown. Field

measurement of pH is essential if meaningful interpretation of the results, especially

for groundwater modelling, is to be made, since loss of CO2 will take place between

the well head and the laboratory, leading to a pH rise; laboratory pH is therefore

meaningless. SEC is a key parameter in both surveys and monitoring, enabling the

hydrogeologist to quickly detect spatial or temporal changes in the groundwater. In

the field, two filtered (0.45ȝm) samples (one acidified to and the other not acidified)

can then be taken for laboratory analysis (Edmunds 1996b).

In hydrochemical studies the measurement of chloride is particularly important,

since Cl behaves as an inert tracer which allows it to be used as a reference element to

follow reactions in the aquifer and to interpret physical processes such as groundwater

recharge, mixing and the development of salinity. Chloride should always be

measured, and it is recommended that rainfall Cl also be measured in collaboration

with meteorologists.

Most central laboratories are able to cope with at least major ion analyses and

these should be measured as the basic data set for water quality investigations, after

first establishing that there is an ionic balance (Appelo & Postma 1993). Minor and

67

trace elements described above are helpful in the diagnosis of processes taking place

in the aquifer as well as in determining potability criteria. The more detailed

measurements described in this chapter are desirable, but are not essential for routine

investigations. Nevertheless, the implications of case studies where combined isotopic

and chemical data have been used should be digested and extrapotated for local

studies. The results of expensive and specialised case studies are often of considerable

value, since at practical and local level these then allow simple tools such as nitrate or

chloride to be subsequently used for monitoring.

In (semi-)arid regions the main resources issue is the amount of modern recharge.

In this paper stress has been placed on how to determine whether modern recharge is

taking place and, if so, how much. In sandy terrain, or other areas with unconsolidated

sediments, it is recommended that attention be paid to information contained in the

unsaturated zone. The use of Cl to measure the direct recharge component is

recommended. However, the distribution of Cl on a regional scale is also important,

since salinity variations will be proportional to the amount of recharge. The use of

isotopes and additional chemical parameters will then be needed to help confirm

whether this recharge belongs to the modern cycle or is palaeowater.

Important information can be obtained during the siting and completion of new

wells or boreholes. Chemical information obtained at the end of pumping tests

provides the 'initial' baseline chemistry against which subsequent changes may be

monitored. It is recommended that analyses of all major ions, minor ions and also

stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen if possible, be carried out during this initial

commissioning phase.

In more extensive groundwater development it is recommended that exploration

of the quality variation with depth be made. One or more boreholes should be

regarded as exploration wells for this purpose. Depth information can be obtained

during the drilling using packer testing, air-lift tests or similar, which can then help

determine the optimum screen design or well depth, for example to minimise salinity

problems. Alternatively, single wells can be drilled to different depths in a well field

for purposes of studying the stratification in quality or in age (e.g. whether modern

groundwater overlies palaeowater). It should be remembered that subsequent pumped

samples are inevitably going to be mixtures in terms of age and quality, and this initial

testing will enable assessment of changes to be made as the wells are used.

Most water sampling programmes are heavily oriented towards suitability for

drinking use, having regard to health-related problems. In this chapter emphasis has

been placed on understanding the overall controls on water quality evolution. Natural

68

geochemical reactions taking place over hundreds or thousands of years will thus give

rise to distinctive natural properties. It is important to recognise this natural baseline,

without which it will be impossible to identify if pollution from human activity is

taking place. It has also been shown how salinity distribution is related to natural

geological and climatic factors. In addition, the oxidising conditions prevalent in

many (semi-)arid regions may give rise to enhanced concentrations of metals such as

Cr, As, Se and Mo. Prolonged residence times may also lead to high fluoride and

manganese concentrations. Under reducing conditions, high Fe concentrations may

occur.

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73

1000

800 Cl

Cl (mg l-1)

600

400

30

200

0

8

7 Br

Br (mg l-1)

6

5

4

3

2

1

0

0.006

0.005 Br/Cl

Br/Cl (wt)

0.004 seawater

0.003

0.002

0.001

halite

0.000

0.0005

I/Cl

0.0004

I/Cl (wt)

0.0003

0.0002

0.0001 -6

(seawater - 3.1x10 )

0.0000

2.0

F

1.5

F (mg l-1)

1.0

0.5

0.0

0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800

ATLAS MTS CHOTTS

(ALGERIA) Distance (km) (TUNISIA)

Intercalaire aquifer from the Atlas mountains of Algeria to the discharge area in the

Chotts of southern Tunisia. The chloride profile indicates a progressive increase in

salinity: The other halogen elements Br, I, F help to explain the origins of salinity and

the general chemical evolution down-gradient.

74

Numerical Modeling of Groundwater Flow in Heihe River Basin

Xu-Sheng Wang

PR China

1. Introduction

Heihe River Basin is located in the arid west-north part of China with area of land

surface about 13u104 km2. Heihe River, the primary stream in the basin with a length

about 821 km, runs down from Qilian Mountain (upper reaches)to the sedimentary

basin on Hexi Corridor(middle reaches), travels to the Ejina Basin in inner Mongolia

(lower reaches) and then disappears when it reaches Juyan Lakes. The middle

segment of Heihe River is controlled by two outlets from upper reaches to lower

reaches: Yingluo Gorge and Zhengyi Gorge.

In the middle reaches of Heihe River Basin, oasis is strongly developed around

Zhangye City and Jiuquan City by introducing stream flow into channels to irrigate

farm land in this arid area near by Badain Jaran Desert. Since average annual

precipitation is less than 200 mm locally on the contrast, annual potential evaporation

is greater than 2000 mmˈthe oasis is strictly dependent on the surface water resources

came from Qilan Mountain. Together with Heihe River, there are more than twenty

streams developed in Qilan Mountain which provide about 30u108 m3 of water

resources annually to the north area. 2/3 or more of the water resources is expended at

middle reaches. With increasing of population and strength of economic activities,

demand of water resources in the middle reaches area increases rapidly and reduces

the residual stream flow. It is a disadvantage to the oasis at lower reaches. In 1961,

West Juyan Lake was dried up. Thirty years later, the same fate fell on East Juyan

Lake. To prevent further deteriorating of ecological environment at Ejina oasis,

Chinese government started a project from 2001 to control export of surface water at

middle reaches of Heihe River. It leaded to a good result: water level in East Juyan

Lake was rising and has covered 35 km2 until 2004. However, West Juyan Lake is

still drying.

Although surface water is the initial water resources in the middle reaches area,

groundwater also plays an important role in terrestrial water cycle and utilization of

water resources. Firstly, more than half of water flow out from Qilian Mountain leaks

down as recharge of groundwater through beds of rivers and channels. Secondly,

groundwater flows out through springs or directly discharges into Heihe River at the

lower north part of the middle reaches area, provides water resources to irrigation.

75

The amount of discharge flow is about 10u108 m3 annually. In addition, groundwater

is directly abstracted, by over 6000 wells, from aquifers to irrigated farm lands. The

amount of annual groundwater pumping flow is about 3u108 m3 recently.

An aquifer system is composed of Quatemary sediments with sandy gravel or

sand with calyey interbeds under the middle reaches area. Underlying Tertiary

sediments of sand-stones and shale-stones is relatively weak permeable and is

normally regarded as the impermeable bed of the groundwater basin. Thickness of the

aquifer system varies from 20 m to 1800 m. Groundwater table can be deeper than

200 m under the slopy plain (pluvial fans) near Qilian Mountain and comes to be

shallow or overflow in the flat fluvial plain on the north area.

To research the behavior of groundwater and its contribution to water resources at

middle reaches of Heihe River Basin, numerical modeling has been developed in the

last two decades.

Scale

km

Heihe River

Zhengyi Gorge

Jiuquan

Heihe River

Middle

Reaches

Area

Yingluo Gorge

Zhangye

Qilian

Mountain

Heihe River

Figure 1 Plan view of Heihe River Basin and the area of middle reaches

76

2. Browsing on the numerical models developed

Groundwater flow in the aquifer system in the middle reaches area of Heihe

River Basin has been studied through numerical modeling since 1990. Zhou X.Z., et.

al. (1990) treated the aquifer system as a single-layer unconfined aquifer and built a

two-dimensional numerical model with finite-difference method on a polygonal grid.

It is called Model-1990 in this presentation. Control equation of groundwater flow in

the aquifer is written as follow

w § wH · w § wH · wH

¨ K xb ¸ ¨¨ K y b ¸¸ W Sy (1)

wx © wx ¹ wy © wy ¹ wy

Where: H is the groundwater level; Kx and Ky are the hydraulic conductivity along

X-axis and Y-axis respectively (in fact, the aquifer is treated as homogenous porous

medium in which Kx=Ky); b is the thickness of saturated zone from groundwater table

to the bottom of the aquifer; Sy is the specific yield; W is the recharge rate of

groundwater. In this numerical model, transmissivity T=Kxb=Kyb is applied in fact and

treated as constant parameter identified by statistic analysis of pumping testes. The

transmissivity varies from 200 m2/d to 6000 m2/d in five parameter-zones and

increases with increasing of the thickness of Quatemary deposit. The value of

transmissivity and specific yield were adjusted to make the transient numerical

modeling of groundwater flow satisfied to phreatic water table changes in 65

observation wells from 1987 to 1989. The result shown that total discharge of

groundwater is 11.7~12.5u108 m3/a through springs and 4.7~5.1u108 m3/a through

evaporation in 1987~1989.

Two numerical model of groundwater flow in the middle reaches area were

developed by Zhang G.X., et. al. (2004) with finite-element method: a single-layer

model (Model-2004-1) and a double-layers model (Model-2004-2). Model-2004-1 is

similar to Model-1990. However, 60 parameter zones are arranged for distribution of

transmissivity and specific yield. Purpose of the model is to evaluate the regional

groundwater balance under changes of hydrological and agricultural conditions since

1990. In Model-2004-2, the aquifer system is treated as an unconfined aquifer (with

shallow groundwater) overlies on a confined aquifer (with deep groundwater). Leaky

condition is simulated to configure interaction of shallow groundwater and deep

groundwater. This double-layers model can show a three-dimensional pattern of

groundwater flow: in the recharge area near Qilian Mountain a downward flow is

developed; in the discharge area far away Qilian Mountain a upward flow is

developed. However, it is a quasi-three-dimensional model.

The numerical model developed by Hu L.T. and Chen C.X. (2006, 2007), which

is called Hu-Chen Model in this presentation, is a three-dimensional model with

8-layers. Finite difference method with random polygon grid is applied in the model.

77

The governing equation for groundwater flow is given in three-dimensional pattern as

follows

w § wH · w § wH · w § wH · wH

¨ Kh ¸ ¨ Kh ¸ ¨ Kv ¸w Ss (2)

wx © wx ¹ wy ¨© wy ¸¹ wz © wz ¹ wt

the source-sink term, Ss is the specific storage of the aquifer medium. Kh is

0.01~43.75 m/d and Kv is 0.002~11.0 m/d as assigned in 20 parameter zones of 8

model-layers. Relationships between groundwater and surface water such as rivers

and springs are treated. Also multi-layer wells are simulated with coupling

seepage-pipe flow model. Both the trial-and-error method and the Fibonacci

optimization method (Chen and Tang, 1994) are applied to calibrate the model

parameters against observed groundwater level (1995-2000), flow rate of springs and

baseflow of Heihe River along the lower-part in the middle reaches area. The results

of Hu-Chen Model show that, in the main middle reaches area (without the West part

of Jiuquan sub-basin) of Hiehe River Basin, 9.65u108 m3/a of surface water leaks

from river-channel beds and irrigated farm lands as recharge of groundwater, however,

9.93u108 m3/a of groundwater flow out through springs and discharges as baseflow of

lower-part Heihe River. Taking into account the exploitation of groundwater from

wells, 2.25 m3/a, the total discharge rate of groundwater is significantly greater than

the recharge rate. Consequently, a continued withdrawal of groundwater storage was

arising before 2000 and leaded to decreasing of flow rate of springs and residual flow

of Heihe River across Zhengyi gorge.

A double-layers model was also developed by Jia Y.W., et al, (2006) as a part of

the hydrological model WEP-Heihe. It is called WEP-GW Model in this presentation.

The structure of WEP-GW Model is similar to Model-2004-2. Exchange of

groundwater and river water is treated. However, arrangement of aquifer-parameters

and processing of groundwater-surface water interactions are not reported in detail.

3. Issues

While numerical models are developed for groundwater flow in Heihe River Basin

at middle reaches, the modelers face the complexity of terrestrial water cycle in the

studied area. Surface water run down from Qilian Moutain to the sedimentary basin,

recharges to groundwater through river-channel leakage and irrigated farm land or

losses to atmosphere by evaportranspiration. A thick vadose zone always exists over

groundwater table in the recharge area. Almost all of natural river-beds are dried up

early before arriving the lower reaches of Heihe River. At the other part of the same

sedimentary basin, groundwater flows out the aquifer system from springs or directly

discharge to the Heihe River as baseflow across Zhengyi gorge for the lower reaches

area. A large number of wells are spread in agriculture districts abstracting

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groundwater. Also lumped pumping wells are developed at several locations to supply

water for industrial purpose.

These characteristics of terrestrial water cycle make difficulties in numerical

modeling of groundwater flow with conventional approaches. Modelers try to handle

the main features of this groundwater system with different methods.

3.1 Vadose Zone

phreatic surface directly (as done in Model-1990, Model-2004-1 and Model-2004-2).

However, it is well known that when infiltrated water reaches to groundwater table, it

should travel through vadose zone. Recharge patterns would be quite different from

the patterns of infiltration. In the middle reaches area of Heihe River Basin,

groundwater table can be deeper than 100 m under slopy pluvial fans in the vicinity of

Qilian Moutain. Then thick vadose zone exists. It do significant effect to the recharge

of groundwater.

In considering of the effect of vadose zone to groundwater recharge in numerical

modeling of groundwater flow, Chen (1998) present a method called Delayed

Recharge Function (DRF) Method. It assumed that infiltration rate P at the time i

(month) is distributed in recharge rate at the time i, i+1, i+2, and so on. The

contribution in recharge at the time j (month, j >i), Rij, of infiltration at the time i

(month), Pi, is given as

Rij Z ( j i ) Pi (3)

Where, Z(j-i) is the distribution power. Chen (1998) gave an empirical function of

Z(j-i) as follows

( D / B ) j i

Z ( j i) exp( D / B ) (4)

( j i )!

properties in the vadose zone. This method provides a simple way to treat the effect of

vadose zone to groundwater recharge with only an additional parameter.

In Hu-Chen Model, DRF Method is applied. The factor B is identified in several

parameter-zones to make the numerical results match the observed response of

groundwater level to recharge from surface water.

In WEP-GW Model, a transition layer is hypothetically arranged between

top-soil layer and the underlying unconfined aquifer to consider the thick vadose zone.

An experiential function is introduced to configure the flow and storage of this

transition layer. However, it is not described in detail in publications

79

3.2 Interactions between groundwater and surface water

3.2.1 Rivers

of boundary is dependent on the relation between groundwater and river. In the

middle reaches area of Heihe River Basin, Heihe River can not be regarded as a single

type of boundary for groundwater flow.

When Heihe River and the other rivers run out of Qilian Moutain, they lie on a

thick vadose zone of the aquifer system. Surface water within them can not touch

groundwater directly but leaks as groundwater recharge. In 1967 and 1985,

investigation of leakage of Heihe River was conducted. It was found that 0.32~1.52 %

of stream flow leaks along per kilometer of the sharp river beds just leave Qilian

Moutain, 4~10 % of stream flow leaks along per kilometer of the wide river beds

before arriving the flat fluvial plain. In Model-1990, Model-2004-1 and

Model-2004-2, this kind of leakage is calculated previously as well as leakage from

channels, and prepared as linear sources for groundwater flow model. However, in

Hu-Chen Model, a semi-permeable riverbed is considered. When groundwater level is

less than the bottom of a riverbed, the hydraulic connection of groundwater and the

river is called “infiltration type” and leakage from surface water is determined as

follow

K zc

Qr Ar ( H s Z s ) (5)

Mc

Where: Qr is the leakage flux to a node-zone where the river goes through in the

discrete grid; Kcz and Mc are the hydraulic conductivity and thickness of the riverbed

respectively; Ar is the area controlled by river node; Hs and Zs are the river stage and

bottom elevation of the riverbed respectively. In addition, Qr is not treated as direct

recharge of groundwater but DRF Method is applied to consider the effect of vadose

zone. In WEP-GW Model, a similar treatment of river leakage is selected and delay of

recharge is handled by a transition layer.

In the flat fluvial plain far away Qilian Moutain where groundwater level is

shallow buried and river beds cuts down the aquifer in directly touching with

groundwater, general head boundary can be arranged for Heihe River as done in

Model-1990, Model-2004-1 and Model-2004-2. In Hu-Chen Model, exchange of

water between river and the aquifer in this condition is determined as follow

K zc

Qr Ar ( H s H s1 ) Qh (6)

Mc

Where Qr is the exchange rate of water (it is positive when river recharges to the

aquifer), Hs is the river stage and Hs+1 is the hydraulic head of aquifer-layer lower

than the riverbed-within layer, Qh is the discharge of groundwater at the node duce to

80

horizontal flow among the riverbed-within layer. However, the river stage, Hs, is

given previously according to observed water level within wells in the vicinity of

Heihe River. In WEP-GW Model, Darcy law is also applied to calculate the exchange

of water between river and the aquifer through riverbed, a stream flow model is

coupled with the groundwater flow model in the regional hydrological model.

3.2.2 Springs

boundary with constant discharge rate, or head boundary with constant head equal to

its elevation, or drain boundary similar to a segment of river discharge groundwater.

In the middle reaches area of Heihe River Basin, springs are widely developed in the

fluvial plain where local low-lying land release the phreatic surface. They can not bee

treated as constant flow rate boundary because the flow rate is varying with time

associated to local or regional groundwater level.

In Model-1990, a two steps method is applied for a spring: at the first step, it is

treated as constant head boundary and a flow rate is calculated through local water

balance; at the second step, if the calculated flow rate is zero or less than zero, the

spring-node switches to a normal node. However, this model is a single-layer

unconfined aquifer model with a large thickness. How groundwater flows to a

point-sink (a spring) at the top of the aquifer can not been configured successfully in

this type of two-dimensional model.

In Model-2004-1 and Model-2004-2, no single spring is identified but the springs

are hypothetically distributed in average in a overflow region. The overflow region is

defined as the location where depth of groundwater table under normal surface ground

is less than 3.5 m. Elevation of all the nodes in overflow region is artificially lowered

(abstract 3.5 m) to produce spring-nodes (lowered elevation is less than groundwater

level). A spring-node is treated as drain boundary in which discharge of groundwater

is proportional to the difference of groundwater level and elevation of drain bottom.

In Hu-Chen Model, the elevation of a spring, Zs, is a constraint to spring flow

occurrence. A semi-permeable layer is considered under the spring and the discharge

rate, Qsp, is determined as follow

K zc

Qsp Asp ( H s1 Z s ) Qh , H s1 ! Z s (7)

Mc

Qsp 0 , H s 1 d Z s (8)

Where Kcz , Mc , Asp, Qh and Hs+1 are factors similar to that in considering of

river-groundwater interaction as shown in Eq.(6). Two springs (S3 and S6) with

long-time measured data are typically studied to identify the parameters of

spring-nodes. However, the other springs are lack of observation data and have been

81

treated as normal spring nodes in the mode.

In WEP-GW Model, it is not clear how springs are processed.

3.3 Wells

There are two types of wells drilled in the middle reaches area of Heihe River

Basin: shallow agricultural wells that are spread in irrigation districts; deeper

industrial wells to supply water for a factory or drinking water for a city.

It is impossible to simulate each agricultural wells since the number of

agricultural wells is very large (more than 6000). Hence in numerical modeling, they

are usually assumed uniform distributed in an irrigation district and the total pumping

rate is apportioned to each node in the area. A trouble for multi-layer model (Hu-Chen

Model) is to apportion the total pumping rate for every associated layer. Depth of

agricultural wells was roughly investigated statistically. The data is used in

determining the proportion of pumping rate for a model-layer with a certain range of

depth.

Industrial wells are located in several pumping sites. Each pumping site has

several wells pumping groundwater at the same time. However, distance between the

wells is small and can not be distinguished in a regional numerical model. So a

single-well is normally arranged at a node within the pumping site and is assumed to

be equal to the group of wells. Another problem is, these wells are drilled deeply

(100~200 m) across several aquifer layers that are called multi-layer wells. In

multi-layer model, the total pumping rate of a multi-layer well is a result of

groundwater contribution for each layer. It is typically considered in Hu-Chen Model

with coupling seepage-pipe flow model that developed by Chen, et al (1999). An

equivalent vertical hydraulic conductivity is calculated for a multi-layer well

dependent on the flow rate and is introduce into the integrated vertical conductance of

the aquifer-well system. Also this coupling seepage-pipe flow model is applied to

obtain groundwater level within several deep observation wells that can be regarded

as multi-layer pumping well with zero pumping rate.

4. Expectations of Further Development

Recently, it is a challenge for the middle reaches area of Heihe River Basin to

find a sustainable way in utilizing water resources. This way should take care of water

demand in the lower reaches area to maintain a well condition of ecological

environment. To achieve the goal, it is necessary to understand the role of

groundwater as well as the relationship of surface water and subsurface water.

The behavior of groundwater has been studied at the basin scale via numerical

modeling that developed previously. A principle finding is that the vadose zone, the

rivers and channels, the springs and the pumping wells do effect on and be affected by

the regional groundwater flow in an integrated way. It indicates the further

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development of groundwater flow model in the future. Physical based variable

saturation model may give a more reasonable understand of flow in thick vadose zone

instead of empirical functions. Coupling of groundwater flow model with models of

surface flow system such as rivers and channels is required while the whole

hydrological processes should be quantitative evaluated. When pumping wells and

springs provide irrigation water at the same time, an inner water cycle may produce

and will increase the complexity of groundwater flow locally. Numerical model

should be carefully designed to configure the feature. Currently, limited data is a

difficulty in built up an basin-scale integrated hydrological model in which a

three-dimensional groundwater model is coupled with models of surface water system

and soil-vegetation-atmosphere system, especially with a reasonable parameterized

scheme of human activities. Solving of the problem is dependent on the development

of regional field investigation and data collection of hydrological and ecological

conditions.

Acknowledgement

The author is grateful to the support of Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and

Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou. The author

also appreciates Prof. Chen C.X. and Dr. Hu L.T for suggestions in understanding

their work on Heihe River Basin.

References

[1] Chen CX, Jiao JJ. 1999. Numerical simulation of pumping test in multilayer wells with

non-Darcian flow in the wellbore. Ground Water, 37(3): 465–474.

[2] Chen CX, Tang ZH. 1994. Numerical Modeling of Groundwater Flow. Wuhan: China

University of Geosciences Publishing House. [in Chinese]

[3] Chen CX. 1998. Delayed recharge function: A method to treat delay recharge of rainfall to

unconfined aquifer. Hydrogeology and Engineering Geology, (6): 22-24. [in Chinese]

[4] Hu L.T, Chen C.X., Jiao J.J, et. al., 2007. Simulated groundwater interaction with rivers and

springs in the Heihe river basin. Hydrological Processes, in Press, DOI: 10.1002/hyp.6497.

[5] Hu Li Tang, Chen Chong Xi, 2006. Dynamical Simulation for Multilayer Aquifer System at

Middle Reach of Heihe River Basin. Journal of System Simulation, 18(7): 1966-1975. [in

Chinese]

[6] Jia Yang Wen, Wang Hao, Yan Deng Hua, 2006. Distributed model of hydrological cycle

system in Hihe River Basin I: Model development and verification. Shuili Xuebao, 37(5):

534-543. [in Chinese]

[7] Jia Yang Wen, Wang Hao, Yan Deng Hua, 2006. Distributed model of hydrological cycle

system in Hihe River Basin II: Applications. Shuili Xuebao, 37(6): 655-662. [in Chinese]

83

[8] Zhang Guang Hui, Liu Shao Yu, Xie Yue Bo, et. al., 2004, Water Cycle and Development of

Groundwater in the Inland Heihe River Basin in West-North China. Beijing: Geology

Publication House. [in Chinese]

[9] Zhou Xing Zhi, Zhao Jian Dong, Wang Zhi Guang, et. al., 1990, Survey of groundwater

resources and analysis on its application in the middle reaches area of Heihe River in Gansu.

Zhangye: The Second Hydrogeoloical and Engineering Geology Team, Gansu Bureau of

Geology and Mineral Exploitation and Development, Technical Report-1990. [in Chinese]

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Variable density groundwater flow:

Kooi, Ling Li, Vincent Post, Henning Prommer, Rene Therrien, Clifford Voss, James

1

School of Chemistry, Physics and Earth Sciences

(craig.simmons@flinders.edu.au)

DRAFT Book Chapter for GWADI Workshop, Beijing, China, June 11-15, 2007.

85

1. Introduction

Arid and semi-arid climates are mainly characterised as those areas where precipitation is

less (and often considerably less) than potential evapotranspiration. These climate regions are

ideal environments for salt to accumulate in natural soil and groundwater settings since

evaporation and transpiration remove essentially freshwater from the system, leaving residual

salts behind. Similarly, the characteristically low precipitation rates reduce the potential for salt

to be diluted by rainfall. Thus arid and semi-arid regions make ideal “salt concentrator”

hydrologic environments. Indeed, salt flats, playas, sabkhas and saline lakes, for example, are

therefore ubiquitous features of arid and semi-arid regions throughout the world [Yechieli and

Wood, 2002]. In such settings, variable density flow phenomena are expected to be important,

especially where hypersaline brines overlie less dense groundwater at depth. In contrast, seawater

intrusion in coastal aquifers is a global phenomenon that is not constrained to only arid and

semi-arid regions of the globe and is inherently a variable density flow problem by its very

nature. These two examples make it clear that variable density flow problems both occur in, but

importantly extend beyond, arid and semi-arid regions of the globe. The intention of this book

chapter is therefore not to limit ourselves to modelling of arid zone hydrological systems, but

rather to present a more general treatment of variable density groundwater flow and solute

transport phenomena and modelling. The concepts presented in this chapter are therefore not

climatologically constrained to arid or semi-arid zones of the world, although they do apply

equally there. The objective of this book chapter is to illustrate the state of the field of variable

density groundwater flow as it applies to both current modelling and applications. Throughout,

we highlight approaches, current resolutions, and explicitly point to future challenges in this area.

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2. Importance of variable density flow

It has long been known that the density of a fluid can be modified by changing its solute

concentration, temperature and, to a lesser extent, its pressure. Indeed, researchers in the area of

fluid mechanics have studied how fluid density affects flow behaviour for well over a century,

both in fluids only and in fluid-filled porous media. It was understood that areas of application

for these studies was wide and varied including applications to astrophysics, chemical reactor

engineering, energy storage and recovery, geophysics, geothermal reservoirs, material science,

metallurgy, nuclear waste disposal and oceanography, to name just a few. More recently, there

has been a massive explosion in the field because of worldwide concern about the future of our

energy resources and the pollution of our environment. These have been a principal catalyst for

the application of earlier developments made in traditional fluid mechanics to the study of

groundwater hydrology. In the preface to their popular text Convection in Porous Media, Nield and

Bejan [1999] state that “Papers on convection in porous media continue to be published at a rate of over 100

per year”. In groundwater hydrology in particular, Table 1 summarises some key areas in variable

density flow research. The listed references are intended to be illustrative rather than exhaustive.

This table clearly demonstrates the widespread importance, diversity, extent and interest in

applications of variable density flow phenomena in groundwater hydrology. As noted in

Simmons [2005] some key areas include seawater intrusion, fresh-saline water interfaces and

saltwater upconing in coastal aquifers, subterranean groundwater discharge, dense contaminant

plume migration, DNAPL studies, density driven transport in the vadose zone, flow through salt

formations in high level radioactive waste disposal sites, heat and fluid flow in geothermal

systems, palaeohydrogeology of sedimentary basins, sedimentary basin mass and heat transport

and diagenesis, processes beneath sabkhas and salt lakes and buoyant plume effects in applied

tracer tests. The modelling of these physical systems is central to hydrogeologic analyses.

Simmons [2005] presented an overview of variable density flow phenomena, including

current challenges, and future possibilities for this field of groundwater investigation. The

widespread importance and interest in variable density flow phenomena in groundwater

hydrology are also illustrated in exhaustive review articles on this topic by Diersch and Kolditz

[2002] and Simmons et al. [2001]. In addition, the text by Holzbecher [1998] is an excellent

source of material relating to the modelling of density dependent flows in porous media. The

reader is referred to these texts for an exhaustive review of this subject matter. In particular,

Diersch and Kolditz [2002] recently reviewed the state of the art in modelling of density-driven

flow and transport in porous media. They discuss conceptual models for density driven

convection systems, governing balance equations, critical phenomenological laws and

87

constitutive relations for fluid density and viscosity, and the numerical methods employed for

solving the resulting nonlinear problems. Furthermore, these authors discuss the major

limitations of current model-verification (benchmarking) test cases used in the testing of

numerical models and methods. Diersch and Kolditz [2002] and Simmons [2005] provide

detailed treatments of the current challenges that face the field of variable density groundwater

flow phenomena, from both physical and modelling viewpoints. The reader is referred to those

discussions as an accompaniment to this text.

Nield and Bejan [2006] provide an excellent discussion of the topic of convection in

porous media including historical and new conceptual developments within this field. Some of

the earliest work in this field was carried out in the field of traditional fluid mechanics. A logical

trend emerged in the way this field evolved. Earliest work in the early 1900’s involved heated fluids

only (Benard, [1900]; Rayleigh, [1916]), followed by a move to combined heat and porous media

studies in the 1940’s (Horton and Rogers [1945]; Lapwood, [1948]), solute and porous media studies

in the 1950’s and 1960’s (Wooding [1969, 1963, 1962, and 1959]) and finally combined

thermohaline studies in porous media in the 1960’s [Nield, 1968]. Most of these studies were

designed to discover the most fundamental aspects of the behaviour of variable density flow

behaviour and were typically either laboratory or analytically based. In comparison, as groundwater

hydrologists, our interest in energy and solute transport is relatively recent (post 1950’s in general).

Therefore, it is challenging to find much evidence of interest and exploration in variable density

flow groundwater applications at all throughout the earlier historical development of groundwater

hydrology. But, there is one clear exception – the problem of seawater intrusion. Some of the

earliest pioneering work traces back to that of Badon-Ghyben [1888] and Herzberg [1901] whose

analyses could be used to determine the steady position of saltwater-freshwater interfaces in coastal

aquifers. Some of the earliest analytical solutions for the sharp saltwater-freshwater interface in an

infinitely thick confined aquifer emerged in the 1950’s [Glover, 1959; Henry, 1959]. In the problem

of seawater intrusion, Hele-Shaw cell analogs [Bear, 1972] were used in some of the earliest

exploratory studies of seawater intrusion and clearly predated numerical solutions to these

problems. Some of the earliest numerical analyses emerged in studies by Pinder and Cooper [1970],

Segol et al., [1976], Huyakorn and Taylor [1976] and Frind, [1982a,b]. Table 1 illustrates that the

interest in variable density groundwater flow applications has grown to include many other

important areas of hydrogeology. In more recent times, groundwater modelling codes have begun

to employ a range of new and improved numerical techniques and this coupled to faster computers

88

with larger memories has allowed for the simulation and solution of more complex problems, with

fully-coupled flow and solute transport in even 3D cases. Recent developments in modelling efforts

have included simultaneous heat and transport in thermohaline convection problems [Diersch and

Kolditz, 2002; Graf and Therrien, 2007b], adaptation of these to heterogeneous systems including

fractured rock hydrology [Graf and Therrien, 2005; Graf, 2005] and even chemically reactive

transport [Freedman and Ibaraki 2002; Post and Prommer, 2007]. Indeed, it may be argued that one

major limitation of the current field of variable density flow is not necessarily the availability of

numerical models with the inherent capacity to solve these sorts of very complex problems, but is

perhaps the availability of real data to occupy, test and verify the emerging new generation of

computer models.

4.1 Overview

Field, laboratory and modelling studies demonstrate that fluid density gradients caused by

variations in concentration and temperature (and to a much lesser degree fluid pressure) are

recognised to play a significant role in solute and/or heat transport in groundwater systems.

Figures 1 and 2 show how fluid density varies as a function of concentration and temperature. It

is easy to accept that fluid density should be at least one factor influencing groundwater flow

processes because in many systems, groundwater concentrations can vary by several orders of

magnitude (e.g., salt lakes, seawater intrusion) and in all cases, the earth’s geothermal gradient has

the potential to set up circulations where warm fluid at depth can rise and shallower cooler fluids

can sink. Simmons [2005] considered a typical groundwater hydraulic gradient of say a 1m

hydraulic head drop over a lateral distance of a kilometre i.e., a gradient of 1 in a 1000 and

showed that the equivalent “driving force” in density terms would be a density difference of 1

kg/m3 relative to a reference density of freshwater whose density is 1000 kg/m3. This is a

solution whose concentration is only about 2g/L (about 5% of seawater!) and this is quite dilute

in comparison to many plumes one may encounter in groundwater studies.

Whether density driven flow is important in a physical hydrogeologic setting is

determined by a number of competing factors. These involve a complex interplay between fluid

properties, the interaction within mixed convective flow of fluid motion driven by both density

differences (free convection) and hydraulic gradients (advection or forced convection) and

89

finally, the properties of the porous medium. The ability to maintain a density gradient and a

convective flow regime is dissipated by dispersive mixing processes. The density contrast and its

stable or unstable configuration (e.g., light fluid overlying dense fluid as in a stable case of

seawater intrusion, or dense fluid overlying light fluid as in the potentially unstable case of a

leachate plume migrating from a landfill) is also of critical importance. These will directly affect

solute transport processes and the way in which variable density flow processes are subsequently

manifested. For example, in a steady state coastal setting, density effects create a seawater wedge

that penetrates inland for some distance. Although tidal effects do create mixing, a thin

interfacial mixing-layer is maintained by a slow flow of less saline groundwater over the wedge.

This sort of rotational flow associated with seawater intrusion phenomena is the manifestation of

variable density flow physics and may be referred to as the ‘‘Henry circulation’’ [Henry, 1964]. In

some specialised cases, where there are large unstable density inversions, transport can be

characterised by rapid instability development where lobe-shaped instabilities (fingers) form and

sink under gravitational influence resulting in enhanced solute transport and greater mixing

compared to diffusion alone [Simmons et al., 2001]. The complexity of the problems involved

generally increases as one moves from situations where the light fluid overlies the dense fluid to

potentially unstable situations where the dense fluid overlies the less dense fluid. The challenges

for numerical simulation appear to grow in the same way, as will be discussed in later sections of

this chapter.

It is important to note that, in all cases, the propensity for density driven flow is largest

where there are large density gradients and the porous media is of high permeability. In contrast,

dispersion acts to reduce the density gradient and therefore to dissipate density driven flow. Text

books such as Nield and Bejan [2006] and Holzbecher [1998] provide a comprehensive overview

of the theoretical treatment of density driven flow in porous media. Critical dimensionless

numbers such as the Rayleigh Number (Ra) and Mixed Convection ratio (M), are important

parameters used in the characterisation of such systems.

of convective flow velocity, the onset of instability is determined by the value of a

nondimensional number called the Rayleigh number (Ra). This dimensionless number is the

ratio between buoyancy driven forces and resistive forces caused by diffusion and dispersion.

90

U c H gk ( C max - C min )H Buoyancy and Gravitatio n (1)

Ra = = =

Do T Q 0 D0 Diffusion and Dispersion

E

where Uc is the convective velocity, H is the thickness of the porous layer, D0 is the molecular

diffusivity, g is the acceleration due to gravity, k is the intrinsic permeability, E UwUwC is

the linear expansion coefficient of fluid density with changing fluid concentration, Cmax and Cmin

are the maximum and minimum values of concentration respectively, T is the aquifer porosity,

Q0=PU is the kinematic viscosity of the fluid. Simmons et al., [2001] and Simmons [2005]

discuss some of the difficulties encountered in the application of the Rayleigh number to

practical field based settings. For sufficiently high Rayleigh numbers greater than some critical

Rayleigh number Rac, gravity induced instability will occur in the form of waves in the boundary

layer that develop into fingers or plumes. This critical Rayleigh number defines the transition

between dispersive/diffusive solute transport (at lower than critical Rayleigh numbers) and

convective transport by density-driven fingers (at higher the critical Rayleigh numbers).

In many cases, the system we are studying is a mixed-convective system where both free

and forced convection operate to control solute distributions. In those cases, it is interesting to

examine the relative strengths of each process in controlling the resultant transport process. The

ratio of the density-driven convective flow speed to advective flow speed determines the

dominant transport mechanism. In the case of an isotropic porous medium the mixed

convection ratio may be written as (see for example, Bear [1972]):

§ 'U ·

¨¨ ¸¸

© U o ¹ Free convective speed

M (2)

§ 'h · Forced convective speed

¨ ¸

© 'L ¹

If M>>1, then free convection is dominant. If M<<1, then forced convection is dominant.

Where M~1 they are of comparable magnitude. Here, ¨U is the density difference, URis the

lower reference density [both free convection parameters], ¨h is the hydraulic head difference

measured over a length ¨L [both forced convection parameters].

Despite being one of the seemingly simplest methods of analysing variable density flow

systems, the correct application of the equivalent freshwater head is actually more complicated

than is often understood. Post et al., [in press] present a detailed analysis on the use of hydraulic

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head measurements in variable density flow analyses. By way of introduction, freshwater head at

point i may be defined as:

Pi

h f ,i zi (3)

Ufg

where zi (elevation head) represents the (mean) level of the well screen, Pi is pressure of the

ground water at the well screen, ȡf is fresh water density and g is acceleration due to gravity. A

common error that occurs in practice is for equivalent freshwater head to be used in the standard

non-density dependent version of Darcy’s Law that does not include a buoyancy gradient term

critical in vertical flow calculations. This leads to errors in predicting flow rates and directions

where vertical flow effects are of interest in vertically stratified layers (with respect to density) of

fluid. In a recent issue paper by Post et al., [in press], it is noted that the use of EFH without

care, can be particularly problematic. Indeed, Lusczynski [1961] who originally formulated the

concept recognized that equivalent freshwater heads cannot be used to determine the vertical

hydraulic gradient in an aquifer with water of non-uniform density. The term Environmental

Water Head (EWH) was established for this purpose [Lusczynski, 1961]. However, it can be

demonstrated that this Environmental Water Head is equivalent to using Equivalent Freshwater

Head where the appropriate density dependent version of Darcy’s Law is used (as was actually

shown in Appendix 3 of the original Lusczynski study). Post et al., [in press] argue that, provided

that the proper corrections are taken into account, fresh water heads can be used to analyze both

horizontal and vertical flow components. To avoid potential confusion, they recommended that

the use of the so-called environmental water head, which was initially introduced to facilitate the

analysis of vertical groundwater flow, be abandoned in favour of properly computed freshwater

head analyses.

Indeed, some variable density groundwater flow simulators such as FEFLOW and

SEAWAT (see Table 2) employ the equivalent freshwater head formulation in the variable

density version of Darcy’s Law in the familiar form (for the vertical flow component):

ª wh §U Uf ·º

qz K f « f ¨ ¸» (4)

¨ ¸

¬« wz © U f ¹¼»

Where Kf is the fresh water hydraulic conductivity, hf is the freshwater head, ȡ is fluid density and

U Uf

ȡf is fresh water density. Here the term , represents the relative density contrast, and

Uf

accounts for the buoyancy effect on the vertical flow. In the case of horizontal flow

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components, this term is neglected in the respective horizontal flow velocity formulations in

Eqn. 3.

An excellent treatment on this subject was presented in a review article by Diersch and

Kolditz [2002] and the reader is referred to that material for an exhaustive discussion on this

topic. The limited number of analytical solutions for variable density flow problems creates a

heavy dependence on numerical simulators. A large and growing number of numerical simulators

now exist for the simulation of variable density flow phenomena, as illustrated in Table 2. Several

of these codes will be demonstrated in later sections of this book chapter where it will be seen

that there are numerous formulations that are used for governing equations and their numerical

solution. In this section, we demonstrate the approach to variable density flow modelling by

using the specific case of the widely used SUTRA [Saturated-Unsaturated TRAnsport Model]

numerical model [Voss, 1984] to demonstrate key issues in variable density flow simulation.

SUTRA is one of the earliest codes that emerged for the simulation of variable density flow

phenomena, and is in wide use today. A summary of the history of SUTRA and its use may be

found in Voss [1999].

Using the example of the SUTRA (Saturated-Unsaturated-TRAnsport) code [Voss,

1984], we demonstrate the general form of the governing equations used by variable density

numerical models. The SUTRA code is a numerical solver of two general balance equations for

variable-density single-phase saturated-unsaturated flow and single-species (solute or energy)

transport based on Bear [1979]. Further details on this code may be found in Voss [1984]. The

summary presented below is originally found in the texts by Voss [1999] and Voss and Provost

[2003].

Voss and Provost [2003] provide a detailed discussion on this subject. Simulation using

SUTRA is in two or three spatial dimensions. A pseudo-3D quality is provided for 2D, in that

the thickness of the 2D region in the third direction may vary from point to point. A 2D

simulation may be done either in the areal plane or in a cross sectional view. The 2D spatial

coordinate system may be either Cartesian (x,y) or radial-cylindrical (r,z). Areal simulation is

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usually physically unrealistic for variable-density fluid and for unsaturated flow problems. The

3D spatial coordinate system is Cartesian (x,y,z).

Ground-water flow is simulated through numerical solution of a fluid mass-balance

equation. The ground-water system may be either saturated, or partly or completely unsaturated.

Fluid density may be constant, or vary as a function of solute concentration or fluid temperature.

SUTRA tracks the transport of either solute mass or energy in flowing ground water through a

unified equation, which represents the transport of either solute or energy. Solute transport is

simulated through numerical solution of a solute mass-balance equation where solute

concentration may affect fluid density. The single solute species may be transported

conservatively, or it may undergo equilibrium sorption (through linear, Freundlich, or Langmuir

isotherms). In addition, the solute may be produced or decay through first- or zero-order

processes. Energy transport is simulated through numerical solution of an energy-balance

equation. The solid grains of the aquifer matrix and fluid are locally assumed to have equal

temperature, and fluid density and viscosity may be affected by the temperature.

Most aquifer material, flow, and transport parameters may vary in value throughout the

simulated region. Sources and boundary conditions of fluid, solute and energy may be specified

to vary with time or may be constant. SUTRA dispersion processes include diffusion and two

types of fluid velocity-dependent dispersion. The standard dispersion model for isotropic media

assumes direction-independent values of longitudinal and transverse dispersivity. A flow-

direction-dependent dispersion process for anisotropic media is also provided. This process

assumes that longitudinal and transverse dispersivities vary depending on the orientation of the

flow direction relative to the principal axes of aquifer permeability.

The general fluid mass balance equation that is usually referred to as the 'ground-water flow

model' is:

§ wS · wp § wU · wU ª§ kk U · º

¨¨ S w US0p HU w ¸¸ ¨ HS w ¸ «¨¨ r ¸¸ p Ug» Qp (5)

© wp ¹ wt © wU ¹ wt ¬© P ¹ ¼

where:

Sw is the fractional water saturation [1]

H is the fractional porosity [1]

p is the fluid pressure [kg/m•s2]

94

t is time [s]

U is either solute mass fraction, C [kgsolute/kgfluid], or temperature, T [°C]

k is the permeability tensor [m2]

kr is the relative permeability for unsaturated flow [1]

P is the fluid viscosity P(T ) [kg/ m•s]

g is the gravity vector [m/s2]

Qp is a fluid mass source [kg/m3•s].

Additionally,

U is the fluid density [kg/m3], expressed as:

wU

U U0 U U0 (6)

wU

where:

U0 is the reference solute concentration or temperature

U0 is fluid density at U0

wU

is the density change with respect to U (assumed constant)

wU

and,

S 0p is the specific pressure storativity [kg/m•s2]-1

S 0p 1 HD HE (7)

where:

D is the compressibility of the porous matrix [kg/m•s2]-1

E is the compressibility of the fluid [kg/m•s2]-1.

§ kk U ·

v ¨¨ r ¸¸ p Ug (8)

© HS w P ¹

95

The solute mass balance and the energy balance are combined in a unified solute/energy balance

equation usually referred to as the 'transport model':

wt (9)

Qpc w U U *

HSw UJ1wU 1 H

Us J1sUs HSw UJ0w 1 H

Us J 0s

where:

cw is the specific heat capacity of the fluid [J/kg·°C]

cs is the specific heat capacity of the solid grains in porous matrix [J/kg·°C]

Vs is the diffusivity of energy or solute mass in the solid grains

(as defined below)

I is the identity tensor [1]

D is the dispersion tensor [m2/s]

within the fluid (zero-order production rate)

within the fluid (zero-order production rate)

In order to cause the equation to represent either energy or solute transport, the following

definitions are made:

Ow Os

U{T U* { T * Vw { Vs { J1w { J1s { 0

Uc w Uc w

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for solute transport

U{C Us { C s U* { C * V w { Dm Vs { 0 c s { N1

cw { 1

where:

Ow is the fluid thermal conductivity [J/s·m·°C]

Os is the solid-matrix thermal conductivity [J/s·m·°C]

T is the temperature of the fluid and solid matrix [°C]

C is the concentration of solute (mass fraction) [kgsolute/kgfluid]

Cs is the specific concentration of sorbate on solid grains [kgsolute/kggrains]

N1 is a sorption coefficient defined in terms of the selected equilibrium sorption isotherm

(see Voss (1984) for details).

Dii v

2

d v2

L i dT v 2j (10a)

Dij v

2

dL dT v iv j (10b)

with:

dL DL v (10c)

dT DT v (10d)

where:

dL is the longitudinal dispersion coefficient [m2/s]

dT is the transverse dispersion coefficient [m2/s]

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DL is the longitudinal dispersivity [m]

DT is the transverse dispersivity [m]

A very useful generalization of the dispersion process is included in SUTRA allowing the

longitudinal and transverse dispersivities to vary in a time-dependent manner at any point

depending on the direction of flow. The generalization is:

DL max DL min

DL (11a)

DL min cos 2 Tkv DL max sin2 Tkv

D T max D T min

DT (11b)

D T min cos 2 Tkv D T max sin2 Tkv

where:

DL max is the longitudinal dispersivity

for flow in the maximum permeability direction [m]

DL min is the longitudinal dispersivity

for flow in the minimum permeability direction [m]

D T max is the transverse dispersivity

for flow in the maximum permeability direction [m]

D T min is the transverse dispersivity

for flow in the minimum permeability direction [m]

Tkv is the angle from the maximum permeability direction

to the local flow direction [degrees].

These relations (11a,b) provide dispersivity values that are equal to the square of the radius of an

ellipse that has its major axis aligned with the maximum permeability direction. The radius

direction is the direction of flow.

In the case of variable density saturated flow with non-reactive solute transport of total dissolved

solids or chloride, and with no internal production of solute, equations (5), (8) and (9), are greatly

simplified. The fluid mass balance is:

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US0p wwpt §¨ H wwUU ·¸ wwUt ª«§¨¨ kPU ·¸¸ p Ugº» Qp (12)

© ¹ ¬© ¹ ¼

§ kU ·

v ¨¨ ¸¸ p Ug (13)

© HP ¹

wt

Qp C* C (14)

Again, using the example code SUTRA, we demonstrate how one popular variable

density numerical model solves the above governing equations. A previous summary of the

discussion by Voss [1999] on this subject is repeated below.

The numerical technique employed by the SUTRA code to solve the above equations

presented in Section 5.1 uses a modified two-dimensional Galerkin finite-element method with

bilinear quadrilateral elements. Solution of the equations in the time domain is accomplished by

the implicit finite-difference method. Modifications to the standard Galerkin method that are

implemented in SUTRA are as follows. All non-flux terms of the equations (e.g. time derivatives

and sources) are assumed to be constant in the region surrounding each node (cell) in a manner

similar to integrated finite-differences. Parameters associated with the non-flux terms are thus

specified nodewise, while parameters associated with flux terms are specified elementwise. This

achieves some efficiency in numerical calculations while preserving the accuracy, flexibility, and

robustness of the Galerkin finite-element technique. Voss [1984] gives a complete description of

these numerical methods as used in the SUTRA code.

An important modification to the standard finite-element method that is required for

variable-density flow simulation is implemented in SUTRA. This modification provides a

velocity calculation within each finite element based on consistent spatial variability of pressure

gradient, p , and buoyancy term, Ug , in Darcy’s law, equation (13). Without this ‘consistent

velocity’ calculation, the standard method generates spurious vertical velocities everywhere there is

a vertical gradient of concentration within a finite-element mesh, even with a hydrostatic

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pressure distribution [Voss, 1984; Voss and Souza, 1987]. This has critical consequences for

simulation of variable density flow phenomena. For example, the spurious velocities make it

impossible to simulate a narrow transition zone between fresh water and seawater with the

standard method, irrespective of how small a dispersivity is specified for the system.

The two governing equations, fluid mass balance and solute mass (or energy) balance, are

solved sequentially on each iteration or time step. Iteration is carried out by the Picard method

with linear half-time-step projection of non-linear coefficients on the first iteration of each time

step. Iteration to the solution for each time step is optional. Velocities required for solution of

the transport equation are the result of the flow equation solution (i.e. pressures) from the

previous iteration (or time step for non-iterative solution).

SUTRA is coded in a modular style, making it convenient for sophisticated users to

modify the code (e.g. replace the existing direct banded-matrix solver) or to add new processes.

Addition of new terms (i.e. new processes) to the governing equations is a straightforward

process usually requiring changes to the code in very few lines. Also to provide maximum

flexibility in applying the code, all boundary conditions and sources may be time-dependent in

any manner specified by the user. To create time-dependent conditions, the user must modify

subroutine BCTIME. In addition, any desired unsaturated functions may be specified by user-

modification of subroutine UNSAT.

Two numerical features of the code are not often recommended for practical use:

upstream weighting and pinch nodes. Upstream weighting in transport simulation decreases the

spatial instability of the solution, but only by indirectly adding additional dispersion to the

system. For full upstream weighting, the additional longitudinal dispersivity is equivalent to one-

half the element length along the flow direction in each element. Pinch nodes are sometimes

useful in coarsening the mesh outside of regions where transport is of interest by allowing two

elements to adjoin the side of a single element. However, pinch nodes invariably increase the

matrix bandwidth possibly increasing computational time despite fewer nodes in the mesh.

Diersch and Kolditz [2002] provide a very comprehensive summary of model test cases

and benchmarks, including details on the successes and limitations of each case. As summarised

from that article, the major test cases that are used for numerical simulators currently include:

1. The Hydrostatic Test: This type of benchmark is quite simple, but is very instructive. It is

a test of the velocity consistency under hydrostatic and sharp density transition

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conditions as originally proposed by Voss and Souza [1987]. A closed rectangular region

containing fresh water above highly saline water, separated by a horizontal transition

zone one element wide and with a hydrostatic pressure distribution [Voss and Souza,

1987]. No simulated flow may occur in the cross section under transient or steady state

conditions.

2. The Henry seawater intrusion problem: This test case has been performed on coarse

meshes [Voss and Souza, 1987] and on a very fine mesh [Segol, 1993]. Note that until

Segol [1993] improved Henry’s approximate semi-analytical solution [Henry, 1964], this

test was merely an inter-comparison of numerical code results. No published results had

matched the Henry solution. Segol’s result provides a true analytic check on a variable-

density code. Some confusion has existed in the literature over the correct choice of

diffusion to use in the model test case and apparently two diffusivity values have been

employed that differ by a factor of porosity. In addition to this problem, the Henry

problem has some other deficiencies. An unrealistically large amount of diffusion is often

introduced which results in a wide transition zone. This assists with the numerical

solution, making the solution smooth and less problematic. However, as pointed out by

Diersch and Kolditz [2002], the Henry problem is not appropriate for testing purely

density-driven flow systems. This is because a large component of the flow system

response is actually driven by forced convection and not free convection. As a result,

additional benchmark tests are necessary to test numerical models for free convection

problems (such as the Elder problem) and for cases with very narrow transition zones

(such as the salt dome problem).

3. The Elder natural convection problem: [Voss and Souza, 1987], an unstable transient

problem consisting of dense fluid circulating downwards under buoyancy forces from a

region of high specified concentration along the top boundary. The Elder problem

serves as an example of free convection phenomena, where the bulk fluid flow is driven

purely by fluid density differences. Elder [1967a, 1967b] presented both experimental

results in a Hele-Shaw cell and numerical simulations concerning the thermal convection

produced by heating a part of the base of a porous layer (what we often call now the

“Short Heater Problem”). The Elder problem is a very popular benchmark case and its

convective flow circulation patterns (see Figure 3) are still the subject of scientific

discussion. No exact or qualified measurements exist for the Elder problem and as such

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the test case relies on an intercode comparison between numerical simulators. The main

issue that has been discussed widely in relation to this problem is the nature of both the

number of fingers and either the central upwelling or downwelling patterns, which are

now recognised to be highly dependent on the nature of the grid discretisation (i.e.,

coarse, fine, extremely fine grids all lead to very different spatiotemporal patterns of

behaviour). It is likely that convergence has been achieved at extremely fine grid

resolutions (15,000-1,000,000 nodes) as reported in Diersch and Kolditz [2002].

4. The HYDROCOIN salt-dome problem: [e.g. see Konikow et al., 1997], a steady state

and transient problem, initially consisting of a simple forced fresh-water flow field

sweeping across a salt dome (specified concentration located along the central third of

the bottom boundary). This generates a separated region of brine circulating along the

bottom. The nature of the circulation patterns has been shown to be sensitive to the way

in which the bottom boundary condition is represented and implemented, and the

importance choice of mechanical dispersion. These are seen to affect the circulation

patterns that arise in the system.

5. The Salt Lake problem: First introduced by Simmons et al., [1999], this is a very

complicated, transient system in which an evaporation-driven density driven fingering

process evolves downwards in an area of upward-discharging ground water in a Hele-

Shaw cell experiment (see Figure 4). Numerical results are compared with laboratory

measurements (see Figure 5). There has been much discussion on this test case in recent

literature. In particular, the number of fingers and their temporal evolution appear to be

intimately related to the choice of numerical discretisation and the numerical solution

procedure. Interestingly, and paradoxically, several authors have now found that better

agreement between numerical results and experimental results is obtained using a coarser,

rather than finer, mesh [Mazzia et al., 2001; Diersch and Kolditz, 2002]. Numerical grid

convergence has not been achieved for this problem. The higher Rayleigh number of this

test case problem (about 10 times larger than for the Elder problem) is clearly in a range

where oscillatory convection flow regimes are expected. In comparison to the Elder

problem, the salt lake problem is much more complicated. Grid convergence for the

Elder problem required extremely fine numerical resolution, and we therefore expect this

to be increased further again for the case of the salt lake problem. The major challenge

here is that this problem is extremely dynamic and that it is unstable. Moreover,

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numerical perturbations and dispersion can both trigger fingering and control associated

dispersion (creating either fatter or skinner fingers!) and these are all intimately related to

both the patterns of finger formation as well as their subsequent growth/decay

processes. It is clear that the numerical simulation of such phenomena is extremely

challenging and appears to be currently unresolved.

6. The Salt Pool Problem: The saltpool problem was introduced by Johannsen et al., [2002].

It represents a three dimensional saltwater upconing process in a cubic box under the

influence of both density driven flow and hydrodynamic dispersion. A stable layering of

saltwater below freshwater is considered in time for both a low density case (1% salt

mass fraction) and a high density case (10% salt mass fraction). A laboratory experiment

was used as part of the model testing process. As freshwater sweeps over the stable

saltier water at the bottom of the cube, the breakthrough curves at the outlet point are

measured. The position of the salt water – freshwater interface was measured using

nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques. Numerous authors have attempted to

model this problem and have achieved variable success. The challenge appears to lie in

the small dispersivity values and the large density contrasts, particularly in the high

density cases. The experiment and test case are resolved for low density contrasts and for

early time behaviour. Some questions do remain about the simulation of high density

contrasts and late time behaviour. Previous studies have emphasised the need for a

consistent velocity approximation in the accurate simulation of the salt pool problem. As

noted by Diersch and Kolditz [2002], the saltpool experiment does provide reliable

quantitative results for a three-dimensional saltwater mixing process under density effects

which were not available prior to its introduction. It is seen that extreme mesh

refinement is required in order to accurately simulate the problem.

More recently than the publication of the work by Diersch and Kolditz [2002], a very new test

case suite has been proposed by Weatherill et al., [2004] that has an exact and irrefutable

solution based upon an analytic stability theory. This is:

7. Convection in infinite, finite, and inclined porous layers: A body of work was developed

in the 1940’s originally by Horton and Rogers [1945] and independently by Lapwood

[1948] to examine the convective stability of an infinite layer with an unstable density

configuration applied across it. The work has an exact analytical solution for both the

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onset of convection (a critical Rayleigh number of 4ư2) and the wavelength of the

convection pattern. Unlike all previous test cases, the availability of analytically based

stability criteria offers an excellent way of testing a numerical code, which does not rely

on a comparison with other numerical simulators. Additionally, these stability criteria

have been applied in traditional convection problems in the field of fluid mechanics for

many decades both within numerical and laboratory based frameworks – from a

scientific viewpoint they are well understood, robust and irrefutable. They are therefore

ideal for testing numerical models. In their study, Weatherill et al., [2004] compared

numerical results using SUTRA with these previous studies and showed that SUTRA

results (for both the onset conditions for instability and its resultant wavelength) were in

excellent agreement with the traditional stability criteria. Numerical solutions to

extensions of this original problem, namely cases of finite layers and inclined layers

(where analytical stability criteria also exist), were seen to be in excellent agreement with

stability criteria and previous results reported in the traditional fluids mechanics

literature. Given the availability of exact and irrefutable stability criteria for these “box

problems”, it is expected that they will become commonplace in future numerical model

testing. They also have solutions which can be extended into 3D benchmark test cases.

Simmons [2005] and Diersch and Kolditz [2002] highlighted some current challenges that

face the field of variable density groundwater flow and these clearly have critical implications for the

modelling of such phenomena. Simmons [2005] identified a number of emerging challenges and

suggested that there is little, if any, evidence in current literature that points to the future extinction

of this field of hydrogeology. Future drivers for both research and practical application in this area

will drive numerical modelling needs. Just some future drivers for variable density flow research,

and hence modelling, identified by Simmons [2005] included, amongst others, : (i) the need to better

understand the relationship between variable density flow phenomena and dispersion, (ii) better

geological constraints on variable density flow analyses using lineaments, sedimentary facies data

and structural properties of fractured rock aquifers, (iii) improving the resolution of geophysical,

geoprospecting and remote sensing tools for non-invasive characterisation of dense plume

phenomena and heterogeneity, (iv) linking the fields of tracer and isotope hydrogeology and variable

density flow phenomena, (v) double-diffusive and multiple species transport problems in variable

density flow phenomena, (vi) links between climate change phenomena and the response of variable

density flow phenomena, such as sea level and coastline position change, and the impact of

104

transgression and/or regression cycles on aquifer salinisation will be critical, (vii)the gas-liquid phase

chemistry of carbon sequestration processes and its efficiency, safety and long term viability as a

storage option will necessarily involve an understanding of variable density transport dynamics with

multiple phases, (viii) links between variable density flow phenomena and a number of

hydroecological applications (e.g., how does variable density flow effect baseflow accessions and

other surface-groundwater interactions, or salt budge profiles under vegetation, or the

spatiotemporal distribution of stygofauna and biota in subsurface groundwater ecosystems?), (ix)

Some of the above issues point to the need for more detailed and accurate coupling of surface

water, vadose zone and groundwater models – and which will drive an inherent increase in the

complexity of the modelling approach. The numerous future possibilities outlined above suggest

both short term and long term prognoses for variable density flow research and its applications are

very good. It is also therefore logical to conclude that there are many issues that remain largely

unexplored and poorly understood in the numerical modelling of variable density phenomena.

Some major future challenges for the field of variable density flow phenomena are

summarised below. Here, those matters of particular importance to the modelling of variable

density flow systems are highlighted. This extended analysis is based on the treatment presented

recently by Simmons [2005]. Some major challenges identified in that study include:

1. Large mix of spatial and temporal scales: Variable density flow phenomena may be triggered,

grow and decay over a very large mix of different spatial and temporal scales. The particular

challenge lies in the fact that information on very small spatial scales and short time scales is

needed to feed into long time and large spatial scale processes and simulations. Measuring field

scale parameters across this large range of spatial and temporal scales as input for modelling

approaches is a major challenge. Additionally, many current groundwater systems are highly

transient and steady assumptions may be an oversimplification, especially where solute transport

is concerned. For example, tidal oscillations and sealevel rise create the need for transient

analyses in seawater intrusion phenomena. In unstable problems, the onset and growth/decay

of instabilities requires a truly transient analysis of the system. Furthermore, the source of dense

plumes (e.g., leachate from a landfill) are often represented by simplified constant head, flux or

concentration boundary conditions and yet the style of loading is expected to be important

[Zhang and Schwartz, 1995]. There are challenges in better understanding how transient

boundary conditions will affect variable density flow phenomena (e.g., continuous or

intermittent sources).

105

2. Heterogeneity and dispersion: It is only more recently that heterogeneity has been considered in

the study of dense plume migration [e.g., Schincariol and Schwartz, 1990; Schincariol et al.,

1997]. Schincariol et al., [1997] explain that heterogeneity in hydraulic properties can perturb

flow over many length scales (from slight differences in pore geometry to larger

heterogeneities at the regional scale), triggering instabilities in density stratified systems. This

is particularly true for physically unstable situations but is also important in other situations.

For example, the mixing process along a saltwater-freshwater interface can be significantly

modified by nonuniform velocities. This can lead to local physical instabilities resulting in a

corrugated interface that at larger scales is interpreted as increased dispersion. Modelling

narrow transition zones and low dispersion situations is challenging, most often requiring

very fine numerical grids and increased computational power. Current research is suggesting

that heterogeneity may serve as a physical perturbation in fingering processes and is therefore a

critical feature controlling the onset, growth and/or decay in variable density flow processes.

For example, low-permeability lenses can effectively dampen instability growth or even

completely stabilize a weakly unstable plume. Dense plume migration, particularly at high

density differences and in highly heterogeneous distributions, is therefore not easily

amenable to prediction [Schincariol et al., 1997; Simmons et al., 2001; Nield and Simmons,

2006]. Whilst some studies have examined dense plume migration in fractured rock using

numerical models [Shikaze et al., 1998; Graf and Therrien, 2005], there is still a need to explore

how more complex and realistic fracture geometries affect variable-density flow processes and

to better understand the links with macroscopic dispersion [e.g., Welty et al., 2003; Kretz et al.,

2003; Schotting et al., 1999].

3. Fluids, solutes and fluid-matrix interaction: Previous studies have typically been limited to single

species conservative transport but some have examined heat and solute transport

simultaneously within thermohaline convection regimes [see Diersch and Kolditz, [2002] for a

discussion on this topic in their exhaustive review of variable density modelling] which may be

important in understanding many processes including mineralization and ore formation in

sedimentary basins, geothermal extraction processes and flow near salt domes. The

simultaneous interaction of heat and solute creates challenges of its own and this complexity is

exemplified where multiple species with differing diffusivities interact. In a subset of these

“double-diffusive” processes, instabilities can occur even where the net density is increasing

downwards. Here, it is the difference in the diffusivities of the heat and solute that drives

transport and it should be realised that the simultaneous interaction of heat and solute creates

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many challenges of its own and that this complexity will be exemplified where multiple species

with differing diffusivities interact. Multiple species studies (beyond the two species heat and

salt) are fairly limited in groundwater literature. However, more recent studies [e.g., Zhang and

Schwartz, 1995] suggest that the chemical composition and reactive character of a plume can

greatly influence plume dynamics. Other studies have begun to examine how chemical reactions

can be coupled with density-dependent mass transport. For example, Freedman and Ibaraki

[2002] incorporated equilibrium reactions for the aqueous species, kinetic reactions between the

solid and liquid phases, and full coupling of porosity and permeability changes that result from

precipitation and dissolution reactions in porous media and showed that complex concentration

distributions result in the variable density flow system. Recently, Ophori [1998] suggested that

the variable viscosity nature of fluids is typically ignored in variable density groundwater flow

problems and suggest that plume migration pathways and rates are inaccurately predicted in the

absence of the variable-viscosity relationship. Other studies have suggested that dense plume

migration is significantly affected by the extent of porous medium saturation. Thorenz et al.,

[2002] and Boufadel et al., [1997] demonstrate that significant lateral flows and coupled density-

driven flow may take place in the partially saturated region above the water table and at the

interface between the saturated and partially saturated zones. All these studies suggest that

further investigation in relation to multiple species transport, non-conservative solute transport,

fluid-matrix interactions and a more complex representation of the chemical and physical

properties of the dense fluid than has previously been assumed is warranted. The coupling of

variable density flow phenomena with more complex chemical and fluid property

characterisation is an area that is still in its infancy and warrants further exploration. As

additional complexity is added to the numerical simulator in this area, there will be a need to

identify new test cases that actually test those newly added features of the code.

4. Numerical modelling: In general, variable density flow problems do not lend themselves easily

to analytical study except under the most simplified of conditions. However, a number of

numerical codes such as those outlined in Table 2 now exist to simulate variable density flow

phenomena. There has been good success simulating variable-density flow at low to

moderate density contrasts and in benchmarking the codes that are used. As was seen in the

analysis of test case problems, numerical modelling efforts were most successful in the cases

of stable problems (e.g., the Henry salt water intrusion case), but increasing problems are

encountered in the case of unstable problems (e.g., confusion over downwelling/upwelling

patterns and the massive computational power required for grid convergence in the case of

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the Elder problem, and the currently unresolved nature of the Salt Lake problem where grid

convergence has not currently been achieved). But it appears that even seemingly simple

matters in numerical modelling remain unresolved and appear to be currently overlooked.

For example, Kooi [submitted], noted that Fickian-type dispersive flux equations are

implemented in models where the dispersive flux is linearly related to the gradient of solute

concentration. He argued that this classical approach, in combination with solute boundary

conditions, fails to properly represent back-dispersion at outflow boundaries and produces

spurious, unphysical dispersive boundary layers. It is clear from Kooi’s [submitted] analysis

that greater insight in the exact nature of dispersive transport at outflow boundaries and

practical ways to represent this in models.

It is clear that variable density problems increase in modelling complexity as one moves

from stable to unstable configurations. The modelling complexity and computational

demand is compounded for large density difference in both stable (e.g., Salt Pool problem)

and unstable problems (e.g., Salt Lake Problem) and in cases where physical dispersion is

very small. Additionally, artefacts of the numerical scheme itself can mimic physically

realistic but perhaps completely inaccurate results (e.g., dispersion enhancing the transition

zones in stable problems, or enhancing the width and reducing their speed of unstable

fingers). The problem is compounded at much higher (unstable) density differences and

hence Rayleigh numbers where the physical problem itself is characterised by chaotic and

oscillatory regimes such as that seen in the recently proposed “Salt Lake Problem” [Simmons

et al., 1999]. What is particularly problematic in the simulation of such unstable phenomena

is that small differences in dispersion parameters or spatial and temporal discretization can

cause very different types of instabilities to be generated [Diersch and Kolditz, 2002]. The

nature of physical perturbations (c.f. numerical perturbations) is almost impossible to

measure and simulate. When using standard numerical approaches, one may attempt to

control numerical perturbations by reducing numerical errors through the use of very fine

meshes and small timesteps but the nature of what physical perturbation is present in the

system in order to generate particular patterns of instabilities is never known. It is almost

impossible to resolve, therefore, what are numerical artifacts and what are physical realities.

Furthermore, as noted by Diersch and Kolditz [2002], one must then ask what perturbation

is no longer significant for a convection process, and what error in the numerical scheme can

be tolerated. These authors note that there are two possible dangers in simulating such highly

nonlinear convection problems within a numerical framework. Firstly, a scheme which is

only conditionally stable, but of higher accuracy, is prone to create non-physical

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perturbations due to small perturbations in the solutions unless the element size and the

timestep are sufficiently small. Conversely, an unconditionally stable numerical scheme but

with lower accuracy, smooths out physically induced perturbations, unless the element size

and the timestep are sufficiently small. It is clear that a very fine spatial and temporal

resolution are essential if high density contrast convection phenomena are to be modelled.

One may conclude that the simulation of unstable phenomena, particularly highly unstable

cases, remains a challenge for further research.

In addition to the lack of control over numerical perturbations and the inability to

quantify the physical perturbation in real convective systems, it is also questionable whether

oscillatory or chaotic regimes such as those encountered at high Rayleigh numbers can be

simulated and predicted by a deterministic modelling approach. In more general terms, it

can be seen that variable density flow problems are currently limited by the need to simulate

large density contrast and low dispersion systems. Both are massively computationally

demanding. As noted by Diersch and Kolditz [2002], large-scale variable density simulations

have an inherent need for expensive numerical meshes. Some of the most promising

developments in the numerical modelling of real-field based problems include adaptive

techniques, unstructured meshes and parallel processing. Diersch and Kolditz [2002] note

that adaptive and unstructured irregular geometries are prone to uncontrollable perturbations

and that robust, efficient and accurate strategies are required, particularly for three-

dimensional applications. Given these numerical complexities and demands, a critical matter

that warrants attention in modelling of such systems is the level of simplification that is

possible without loss of physical information and accuracy. In many cases the science in

relation to this question is ambiguous, unresolved or is simply ignored. For example, when can

homogeneous equivalents for heterogeneous systems be employed? Or, when is a 2D analysis

of a 3D system permissible? What are the implications of such a simplification? The complexity-

simplicity matter must be considered carefully in the modelling of any variable density flow

system. In many cases, it appears that the decision is made implicitly, often with little or no

justification. Without a systematic evaluation of modelling complexity and the subsequent

implementation of a parsimonious modelling framework, it is readily apparent that the

implication of taking either a complex or simple approach may often not be properly

understood. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is also a real challenge for greatly

improved field measurements and observations for field truthing of models, minimising their

non-uniqueness and to inspire greater confidence in model predictive output.

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6. Applications and case studies

In this section, we demonstrate a range of case studies and applications, where variable

density flow is considered important. These examples include: saltwater intrusion and tidally

induced phenomena, salinisation associated with transgression and regression cycles, variable density

processes in aquifer, storage and recovery, flow and transport modelling in fractured rock aquifers,

and, chemically reactive transport modelling. Many of these examples are relevant to arid zone areas

but importantly extend beyond them. These applications and case studies are designed to illustrate

important areas where the field of variable density flow modelling is developing. The applications

and case studies are designed to be illustrative rather than exhaustive.

6.1.1 Background

Seawater intrusion (or saltwater intrusion) is the encroachment of saline waters into

zones previously occupied by fresh groundwater. Under natural conditions, hydraulic gradients

in coastal aquifers are towards the sea and a stable interface between the discharging

groundwater and seawater exists, notwithstanding climatic events or sea-level rise [e.g.

Cartwright et al., 2004; Kooi et al., 2000]. Persistent disturbances in the hydraulic equilibrium

between the fresh groundwater and denser seawater in aquifers connected to the sea produce

movements in the position of the seawater-freshwater interface, which can lead to degradation of

freshwater resources. The impacts of seawater intrusion are widespread, and have lead to

significant losses in potable water supplies and in agricultural production [e.g. Barlow, 2003;

Johnson and Whitaker, 2003; FAO, 1997].

Seawater intrusion is typically a complex three-dimensional phenomenon that is

influenced by the heterogeneous nature of coastal sediments, the spatial variability of coastal

aquifer geometry and the distribution of abstraction bores. The effective management of coastal

groundwater systems requires an understanding of the specific seawater intrusion mechanisms

leading to salinity changes, including landward movements of seawater, vertical freshwater-

seawater interface rise or “up-coning”, and the transfer of seawater across aquitards of multi-

aquifer systems [e.g., van Dam, 1999; Sherif, 1999; Ma et al., 1997]. Other processes, such as relic

seawater mobilisation, salt spray, atmospheric deposition, irrigation return flows and water-rock

interactions may also contribute to coastal aquifer salinity behaviour, and need to be accounted

for in water resource planning and operation studies [e.g., Werner and Gallagher, 2006; Kim et

al., 2003; FAO, 1997].

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The investigation of seawater intrusion is a challenging undertaking, and requires careful

consideration of groundwater hydraulics and abstraction regimes, the influence of water density

variability, the hydrochemistry of the groundwater and the inherent dynamics of coastal systems

(i.e. tidal forcing, episodic ocean events such as storm surges and tsunamis, salinity and water

level variation in estuaries and other tidal waterways, amongst others). The challenges of

seawater intrusion investigation have led to the development of specific analytical methods and

mathematical modelling tools that enhance the interpretation of field-based observations, which

are invariably too sparse to provide a complete representation of seawater intrusion processes

and trends.

The simplest analyses of seawater intrusion adopt the assumption of an sharp seawater-

freshwater interface, giving rise to analytical solutions to interface geometry. The Ghyben-

Herzberg approximation (developed independently by B. Ghyben in 1888 and by A. Herzberg in

1901; FAO, 1997) for the depth of the interface below the watertable was the first such solution

and was based on hydrostatic conditions, given as:

Uf

z hf (15)

Us U f

where z is the depth below sea level of the interface (m), Uf and Us are the freshwater and

saltwater densities (kgm-3), and hf is the height of the watertable above sea level (m). Ghyben and

Herzberg, working independently, showed that sea water actually occurred at depths below sea

level equivalent to approximately 40 times the height of freshwater above sea level. Glover

(1964) modified the solution to account for a submerged seepage face, as:

Uf q' Uf 2q ' x

z (16)

Us U f K Us U f K

where q’ is the discharge per unit width of aquifer (m2/s), K is the hydraulic conductivity (ms-1)

and x is the distance from the ocean boundary (m). Further advances in analytical solutions to

sharp interface problems include the works of Kacimov and Sherif [2006], Dagan and Zeitoun

[1998], Naji et al. [1998], amongst others.

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Sharp interface approaches are only applicable to settings where interface thicknesses are

small in proportion to the total aquifer depth. Alternately, the dispersive nature of salt transport

needs to be considered and numerical modelling approaches are therefore ultimately required in

most practical applications in order to solve the coupled groundwater flow and solute transport

equations.

A major limitation of the sharp-interface approach is that the movement of brackish

groundwater (i.e. diluted seawater) is not able to be analysed in the transition zone. Where the

diffusive behaviour of solute transport is a necessary component of seawater intrusion analyses,

models are applied that adopt numerical methods to resolve the groundwater flow and solute

transport equations. The computational effort of simulating density-coupled groundwater flow

and solute transport is usually an imposition that influences the spatial and temporal resolution

of simulations, and model grid design usually involves trade-offs between model run-times and

the resolution of simulation. This is particularly important for investigations of large areas

and/or where simulations are carried out in a three-dimensional domain.

The U.S. Geological Survey’s finite-element SUTRA code [Voss, 1984] is arguably the

most widely applied simulator of seawater intrusion and other density-dependent groundwater

flow and transport problems in the world [Voss, 1999]. Several other finite-element codes are

capable of seawater intrusion modelling, including the popular FEFLOW model [Diersch, 2005],

FEMWATER [Lin et al., 1997], etc. SUTRA has been applied to a wide range of seawater

intrusion problems, ranging from regional-scale assessments of submarine groundwater

discharge (SGD) [e.g., Shibuo et al., 2006] to riparian-scale studies of estuarine seawater intrusion

under tidal forcing effects (e.g. Werner and Lockington, [2006]). Gingerich and Voss [2005]

demonstrate the application of SUTRA to the Pearl Harbour aquifer, southern Oahu, Hawaii in

analysing the historical behaviour of the seawater front during 100 years of pumping history.

The list of seawater intrusion simulators includes hybrids of the popular finite-difference

MODFLOW [Harbaugh, 2005] including the groundwater flow code SEAWAT [Langevin et al.,

2003] and MODHMS [HydroGeoLogic Inc., 2003]. The advantage of these codes is that they

can be applied to existing MODFLOW models through relatively straightforward modifications

to MODFLOW input data files, thereby reducing model development effort. Further, existing

MODFLOW pre- and post-processors can be utilised. Robinson et al. [2007] applied SEAWAT

to the beach scale problem of groundwater discharge under tidal forcing, and predicted the

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temporal behaviour of submarine groundwater discharge and the geometry of salt plumes at the

coastal boundary.

Werner and Gallagher [2006] demonstrate the application of MODHMS to seawater

intrusion at the regional scale, by adapting an existing hydro-dynamically calibrated MODFLOW

model of the Pioneer Valley coastal plain aquifers. They used the model to demonstrate that

seawater intrusion had not reached an equilibrium state, and that alternative salinisation

processes (e.g., basement dissolution, relic seawater mobilisation, sea salt spray, irrigation salinity)

produced observed salinity patterns in some parts of the study area. Figure 6 shows the original

groundwater model design, Figure 7 provided results from the calibrated model process and

finally concentration distributions are provided in Figure 8. The modelling suggested that the

salinity in the Pioneer Valley is not all caused by classic seawater intrusion (i.e. seawater entering

the aquifer from the ocean). Werner and Gallagher [2006] described the development of a three

dimensional seawater intrusion model from a two dimensional groundwater flow (MODFLOW)

model, and describe some of the practical modelling problems that were encountered along the

way. Some practical problems included: 1. converting from 2D planar to 3D heterogeneous

model frameworks (while maintaining the same depth-averaged groundwater hydraulics between

both 2D and 3D representations), 2. The adoption of 3D boundary conditions (i.e. the

representation of partially penetrating estuaries, amongst others) and their influence on the

results compared to 2D groundwater flow; 3. Converting from the Dupuit assumption to

variably saturated flow (and the conversion from MODFLOW to MODHMS modelling

frameworks). The modelling was used to provide an analysis of the “susceptibility to seawater

intrusion” throughout the aquifer. Susceptibility was assessed using various information sources

– the modelling provided an indication of areas susceptible to future seawater intrusion by

running long-term simulations (80+ years) that used predicted water resource operational

scenarios. Various simulations of water resource management, including “same as existing”,

“worst case”, “severe cutbacks”, were tested. The overall study described a detailed analysis of

seawater intrusion – including model conceptualisation, numerical modelling, and the final

management options for seawater intrusion.

In recent times, seawater intrusion modelling has become a more straightforward

undertaking, given advancements in computer processing capabilities, improvements in

modelling codes, and the development of user-friendly pre- and post-processors. Further, the

advent and evolution of MODFLOW-based seawater intrusion simulators facilitates a relatively

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uncomplicated transition from MODFLOW model to seawater intrusion simulator. However,

the interpretation of modelling results is still an extremely challenging task, especially where the

aim of the investigation is to develop practical solutions to the mitigation and remediation of

seawater intrusion.

Despite an abundance of bench-marking studies for variable-density codes, the results of

these have not translated into guidelines for interpreting and applying seawater intrusion models.

The reasons for this are probably because of differences in scale and in vertical-to-horizontal

aspect ratios between benchmark problems and real field-scale seawater intrusion problems. For

example, both the Henry problem and the benchmark problem recently described by Goswami

and Clement [2007] involve horizontal-to-vertical ratios of about 2, while the seawater intrusion

problem of Werner and Gallagher [2006] involved a horizontal-to-vertical ratio of about 500.

Another significant challenge of practical seawater intrusion modelling is determining the degree

that aquifer heterogeneities are represented in simulations of real-world systems. It is generally

accepted that preferential flow paths play an important role in the behaviour of contaminant

plumes; however the degree of representation of the variability in aquifer properties has not been

adequately explored for the seawater intrusion problem. The problem of selecting the level of

representation of aquifer heterogeneities needs to be considered in combination with the

selection of the appropriate grid resolution. Other potential issues include the inclusion of

transient information in models (irrigation cycles, groundwater extraction regimes) and over large

spatial scales that influence intrusion phenomena. All of these challenges point to the growing

need for further 3D variable density and transient analyses, often covering very large spatial and

temporal scales. The additional inclusion of heterogeneity (whether it be in boundary conditions

in space or time or in geologic properties of the aquifer) poses additional complexity. Resolving

narrow transition zones further compounds the need for greater computational effort. Increased

efficiency in numerical solvers and other numerical efficiencies will be required to meet these

growing computational demands. Additionally, the large computational effort associated with

seawater intrusion modelling of regional-scale systems generally precludes the application of

automated calibration techniques, such as the gradient methods adopted by standard

groundwater model calibration codes like PEST [Doherty, 2004]. Further research is needed to

develop methods of calibrating seawater intrusion models, and to analyse the model uncertainty

of making predictions with these models.

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6.2 Transgression-Regression salinisation of coastal aquifers

Tidal forcing, seasonal changes in recharge and groundwater abstraction are key factors

responsible for variability and change in coastal groundwater systems. These drivers act on

human time scales. However, when viewed on longer time scales from centuries to millions of

years, coastal zones are even more dynamic. Sea-level change, erosion and sedimentation have

caused coastlines to shift back (i.e., seaward: regression) and forth (i.e., landward: transgression)

over distances of up to several hundreds of kilometres. Groundwater systems responded to these

conditions by adjustment of flow fields and redistribution of fresh and saline water. Although

the geological changes in boundary conditions generally tend to occur at a slower pace than more

recent man-induced changes or diurnal and seasonal forcing, their impact on current

groundwater conditions is often enormous.

More noticeable, or even catastrophic, retreats of the coastline occur in arid regions

when droughts, river diversion or irrigation schemes decrease the inputs of (fresh) water to

inland seas or lakes. Well documented cases include the Dead Sea, the Aral Sea, Lake

Corangamite and Lake Chad [Nihoul et al., 2004]. Conversely, shoreline advance is also

associated with decreased river discharge to coastal zones when decrease in sediment loads

causes land loss due to erosion and subsidence. Decreased discharge of the River Murray in

Australia and the Nile in Egypt are key examples [Frihy et al., 2003]. Besides enormously adverse

economic and ecological consequences, the hydrogeological effects of such coastline shifts are of

paramount importance as well. These include the relocation of discharge and recharge zones,

changes in groundwater-surface interaction processes and water quality degradation. Variable

density flow also plays a crucial role in these settings.

It is essential to realize that the textbook conception of the fresh and saline groundwater

distribution, which is classically conceived of as a fresh water lens overlying a wedge of saline

groundwater, is seldom encountered in real field settings due to the dynamic nature of

shorelines. The most conspicuous manifestations of transient effects are offshore occurrences of

fresh groundwater and onshore occurrences of salt water.

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Offshore fresh and brackish paleo-groundwater

Over the years, evidence has been growing in support of the observation that sub-

seafloor fresh and brackish groundwater are common features of continental shelves and shallow

seas around the world. Figure 9 shows the known global occurrences of offshore fresh and

brackish groundwater. Studies from New Jersey, USA [Hathaway et al., 1979; Kohout et al.,

1988], New England, USA [Kohout et al., 1977], Suriname, South America [Groen, 2002] and

the Dutch sector of the North Sea [Post et al., 2000] have shown that groundwater with salt

contents between 1 and 50% of seawater occur up to 150 km from the present coastline and at

depths up to 400 m below the seafloor. Additional, less conclusive cases have been reported for

Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Jakarta, Indonesia and for the Chinese Sea [Groen, 2002].

In many instances these waters occur too far offshore to be explained by active sub-sea

outflow of fresh water due to topographic drive. Moreover, lowest salinities often occur at

substantial depths beneath the seafloor and are overlain by more saline pore waters, suggesting

absence of discharge pathways. These waters therefore are considered paleo-groundwaters that

were emplaced during glacial periods with low sea level. During subsequent periods of sea-level

rise, salinization was apparently slow enough to allow relics of these fresh waters to be retained.

In many flat coastal and delta areas the coastline during the recent geologic past was

located further inland than today. As a result, vast quantities of saline water were retained in the

subsurface after the sea level retreated. Such occurrences of saline groundwater are sometimes

erroneously attributed to seawater intrusion, i.e., the inland movement of seawater due to aquifer

over-exploitation (see section 6.1). Clearly, effective water resource management requires proper

understanding of the various forcing functions on the groundwater salinity distribution on a

geological timescale [Kooi and Groen, 2003].

High salinities are maintained for centuries to millennia, or sometimes even longer, when

the presence of low-permeability deposits prevents flushing by meteoric water [e.g., Groen et al.,

2000; Yechieli et al., 2001]. Rapid salinization due to convective sinking of seawater plumes

occurs when the transgression is over a high-permeability substrate. This process is responsible

for the occurrence of saline groundwater up to depths of 400 m in the coastal area of the

Netherlands [Post and Kooi, 2003].

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6.2.3 Numerical modelling

In the analysis of transient effects of coastline migration on the salinity distribution in

groundwater, variable density groundwater flow and solute transport modelling plays a vital role

in developing comprehensive conceptual models.

The large spatial and time scales involved pose special challenges. In particular, the high

resolution model grid required to capture convective flow features imposes a severe

computational burden that limits the size of the model domain. Other complications include the

lack of information on past boundary conditions, insufficient data for proper parameterization,

especially for the offshore domain, and unresolved numerical issues with variable-density codes.

Mathematical modelling applications addressing offshore paleo-groundwater have shown a

typical progression in model complexity. Indeed, all modelling studies to date are cross-sectional

only (2D). Earliest steady-state, sharp interface, homogeneous permeability models [Meisler,

1984] could not capture the marked disequilibrium conditions that are so apparent. The Meisler

[1984] model was only able to simulate the steady-state position of the (sharp) seawater-fresh

groundwater interface. Different simulations were carried out for different sea level low stands.

The model was not capable of simulating the effect of the subsequent sea level rise. With a non-

steady, sharp interface, single aquifer model, Essaid [1990] made a convincing case that the

interface offshore Santa Cruz Country, California, likely has not achieved equilibrium with

present-day sea level conditions, but is still responding to the Holocene sea-level rise. Kooi et al.,

[2000] used a variable density flow model that included a moving coastline to study the transient

behaviour of the salinity distribution in coastal areas during transgression (Figure 10). They

found that Holocene transgression rates were often sufficiently high to cause the fresh-salt

transition zone to lag behind coastline migration.

Person et al., [2003] and Marksammer et al., [2007] have conducted variable density

modelling for the New England continental shelf, simulating sea-level change over several

millions of years. Their results indicate that the first-order continental shelf topographic gradient

is insufficient to cause freshening of aquifer systems to several hundreds of metres depth far out

on the continental shelf. Continental ice sheet recharge [Marksammer, 2007] and/or secondary

flow systems associated with incised river systems in the continental shelf during low-stands

therefore appear to be required to account for distal (several tens of kms off the coast, well

beyond the reach of active, topography driven fresh water circulation) offshore paleo-waters.

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6.2.4 Future challenges

Knowledge of the “anomalous” salinity distributions discussed above is not only relevant

from an academic perspective. Offshore fresh and brackish groundwater occurrences are

expected to become a viable alternative water resource, notably in arid climates and in places

with high population densities. Moreover, in the development of conceptual hydrogeologic

models of coastal aquifers, the relevance of transient phenomena should be considered more

routinely than at present. Such an analysis has major implications for the numerical models based

on these conceptualizations, such as the selection of appropriate boundary conditions and the

choice of the timescales that need to be considered.

The much needed improvements in our understanding of the impact of coastline

migration on hydrogeologic systems rely on more and better field observations. Age dating of

groundwater, and especially coastal groundwater, is extremely difficult but is an essential

component of paleohydrologic analyses. Exploration techniques needed to better delineate the

subsurface salinity distribution require refinement and more versatility, especially in order to

investigate offshore aquifers.

Finally, numerical models need to be improved as well as has been outlined in an earlier

section. Difficulties currently arise in the accurate and physically realistic simulation of density

driven fingering due to grid discretization requirements. Resolving the nature of the relationship

between numerical features of a code and the physical fingering process is crucial since this

unstable fingering process appears to be of prime importance in many hydrogeologic settings.

Greater flexibility in boundary conditions are also required to allow for both heads and

concentrations changes to occur due to changes in sea level. Land subsidence and sedimentation

are among the additional complications that currently remain largely unexplored and poorly

understood. The addition of these additional physical processes into a quantitative modelling

framework will undoubtedly provide challenges for numerical models.

Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) simply involves the injection and storage of

freshwater in an aquifer. The theory was introduced by Cederstrom (1947) as an alternative to

surface water storage such as dams and reservoirs. The main advantages of ASR over surface

water storage include that it requires a relatively small area of land, potentially reduces the water

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lost to evaporation (e.g., from the surface of a dam), and to a certain extent the aquifer can

behave as a water purification medium.

The original, idealised concept of ASR involved the injection of a cylindrical “bubble” of

freshwater out of a well, into a confined aquifer containing groundwater of a poorer quality (such

that the groundwater itself would typically not be used). The bubble of water would then be

stored in the aquifer until needed, at which point it would be pumped back out of the same well.

In this situation, the volume of recoverable freshwater could be reduced by mixing between the

injected and ambient waters, and by the injected plume migrating down-gradient (in the case

where the water was injected into an aquifer where a background hydraulic gradient existed as is

typical in most cases). In both cases, the recoverable volume will be smaller than the injected

volume. Situations with minimal mixing and little migration down-gradient can allow almost

100% of the injected volume to be recovered. However, situations with large amounts of mixing

and/or a significant migration of the plume down-gradient can lead to a very small (even zero)

percentage of recoverable freshwater. In each specific situation, the percentage of recoverable

freshwater (called the “recovery efficiency”) will determine whether an ASR operation will be

economically viable, and whether it actually offers any advantages over surface water storage

technology.

As well as mixing and down-gradient movement, density effects can cause a reduction in

ASR recovery efficiency. It appears that this phenomenon was first documented by Esmail and

Kimbler [1967]. If freshwater is injected into a saltwater aquifer, the density contrast between

injected and ambient water leads to an unstable interface at the edge of the injected plume. The

denser ambient water tends to push towards the bottom of the interface and the lighter injected

water tends to float towards the top. The result is tilting of the interface and a transition from

the idealised cylindrical plume to a conical-shaped plume (see Figure 11). Upon recovery, the

ambient water is much closer to the well at the bottom, and breakthrough of salt occurs, causing

premature termination of the recovery before all of the freshwater has been extracted. In this

way, it is possible to have situations with minimal mixing and minimal background hydraulic

gradient, but still low recovery efficiency due to density effects.

Bear & Jacobs [1965] presented an analytical method for predicting the position of the

freshwater/saltwater sharp interface under the influence of pumping (either injection or

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extraction) and a background hydraulic gradient. The analytical solution assumed a homogeneous

aquifer and neglected density effects. Esmail & Kimbler [1967] produced an analytical/empirical

formula to address the density-induced tilting of a freshwater/saltwater “gradient” interface (i.e.

accounting for a mixed zone) in radial geometry. The presence of a mixed zone was found to be

significant. The influence of a background hydraulic gradient was neglected by Esmail &

Kimbler [1967], and the process assumed that the interface would only tilt during storage, not

during either the injection or extraction phase. Peters [1983] presented a semi-analytical solution

for an injected bubble under the influence of density effects, but the presence of a mixed zone

was neglected and the background hydraulic gradient was not considered. When considering the

influence of pumping (especially multiple cycles), background hydraulic gradients, heterogeneity

and density-dependent flow phenomena, analytical solutions become far too complicated to

derive and is often the case, a numerical model is required.

Numerical modelling of ASR has been described by Merritt [1986], Missimer

[2002], Pavelic et al., [2006], Yobbi [1996] and Ward et al., [2007]. Brown [2005] provides a

comprehensive summary of ASR modelling (p. 170). Merritt [1986], Missimer et al., [2002] and

Ward et al., [2007] specifically included results of numerical modelling with density effects

explicitly accounted for. Yobbi [1996] included density effects in a modelling study but did not

report on the specific influence and effects of density on the simulation results. Ward et al.,

[2007] performed numerical modelling of density dependent ASR and quantified the influence of

various parameters on the tilting interface.

An ASR process can be modelled in 2 dimensions as a horizontal plane [Merritt, 1986;

Pavelic et al., 2004]. Being a radial flow system, it can also be modelled as a 2-dimensional

“radial-symmetric” projection, that is, a 2-dimensional vertical projection that is symmetrical

about the injection well [Merritt, 1986; Ward et al., 2007]. Of course, ASR can also be modelled

in 3 dimensions but this obviously increases computational burden. Consequently, 2D

simplifications (in radial flow coordinates) are often preferred where symmetrical flow can be

assumed.

Largely hypothetical ASR cases where there is no background hydraulic gradient, and

where the aquifer structure is homogeneous or consists of infinite horizontal layers, can be

120

modelled as a 2-dimensional radial-symmetric projection [Ward et al., 2007]. Sample model

output comparing density-invariant, small and large density contrasts are shown in Figure 12.

These results were obtained using the FEFLOW model (Diersch, 2005). FEFLOW is a

numerical finite element system that allows various two-dimensional (2D) projections as well as

three-dimensional (3D) flow and transport processes in porous media. For this study a 2D

axisymmetric projection was chosen to model the ASR system. A transient, density-dependent

flow and mass transport regime was chosen. Cases involving a background hydraulic gradient

(more realistic) are inherently asymmetrical and must be modelled either as a 2-dimensional

horizontal or 3-dimensional simulation.

To simulate ASR with variable density, flow must be considered in the vertical

dimension, meaning that a 2-dimensional horizontal plane model will not suffice. One concludes

that density-dependent ASR systems must be modelled either as a 2-dimensional radial-

symmetric projection (which is incapable of simulating background hydraulic gradient or

asymmetrical geological structures) or a fully 3-dimensional model. Because in real systems a

background hydraulic gradient is typical, a simple 2-dimensional radial-symmetric projection is

generally insufficient. However, the time and computational power required to establish and

execute a 3-dimensional model that is sufficiently discretized to accurately simulate the density-

dependent flow of an injected freshwater plume can lead without robust quantification to the

simpler choice of a density-invariant simulation model. This decision should not be made lightly,

as judging the likely influence of density effects is rather complicated [Ward et al., 2007].

The concentration difference between injected and ambient water is the most obvious

parameter driving the density-induced tilting of the interface. Indeed, in many cases the

concentration difference is (explicitly or implicitly) assumed to be the only significant parameter

that influences variable-density flow, and modellers make the decision to use a density-

dependent or density-invariant numerical model based on this parameter alone. However, Ward

et al. [2007] demonstrated that an ASR system must be considered as a mixed-convective regime

and derived the following mixed convection ratio M as an approximate ratio between the

respective influences of free and forced convection in a simple (radial-symmetric) ASR system.

In the case of an ASR system, they showed that the appropriate formulation of the mixed

convection ratio (equation 2) is given by:

121

2SrB § U U0 ·

M KV ¨¨ ¸¸ (17)

Q © U0 ¹

where r is the hypothetical injected bubble radius (L), B is the aquifer thickness, Q is the injection

or extraction flow rate (L3/T), and KV is the vertical hydraulic conductivity (L/T). When M <<

1, forced convection dominates the system (e.g., fast pumping at small radii) and interface tilting

is expected to be relatively insignificant. As M approaches 1, the relative influences of free and

forced convection are comparable (e.g. slow pumping at large radii) and interface tilting is

expected to become significant in this transition zone. Clearly during the storage phase, Q = 0

and M is infinite, indicating that the flow in system is totally dominated by free convection [Ward

et al., 2007]. As can be seen from the mixed convection ratio give in equation 17, a low density

contrast in a highly permeable medium may have the same “density effect” (i.e., the same rate of

tilting) as a higher density contrast in a less permeable medium. Equation 17 brings together

several other potentially significant parameters, such as aquifer thickness, bubble radius and

pumping rate. A highly anisotropic aquifer (in which the vertical hydraulic conductivity is a very

small proportion of the horizontal) may retard the vertically-acting density effects, thereby

attenuating density-induced tilting. After injection finishes, the duration of the storage period is

critical: depending on the density contrast and hydraulic conductivity, a short period of storage

(e.g., <1 month) may lead to minimal tilting, but longer periods may cause significant tilting, and

therefore significant reduction in recoverable freshwater. If ASR is to be promoted as a long-

term drought mitigation strategy then long storage durations may be expected [Bloetscher and

Muniz, 2004]. In such cases, the effects of variable density flow are likely to be important in

general hydrogeologic analyses and in numerical modelling efforts.

Heterogeneous aquifers that consist of sedimentary strata can lead to density-induced

fingering. Injected freshwater will readily flush ambient saltwater out of layers of high

permeability, but saltwater will remain in layers of low permeability as the freshwater will not be

able to penetrate those layers during injection. Then, during storage, the dense saltwater can

migrate downwards out of the low permeability layers and “bleed” into the freshwater, and

buoyant freshwater can also migrate upwards, flushing salt out of low conductivity layers (see

Figure 13). This can potentially lead to a very significant reduction in recovery efficiency as large

volumes of freshwater stored in the high permeability layers essentially become contaminated

with salt from low permeability layers above and below.

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6.3.4 Future challenges

When attempting to simulate ASR processes, one is faced with several problems. First, to

model a realistic system with a background hydraulic gradient and density effects, a 3D model is

required. Setting up a detailed 3D density-dependent model can be time-consuming and is

generally computationally expensive. Furthermore, if the aquifer is heterogeneous, then the finite

element mesh or grid may need to be highly discretized (perhaps in all 3 dimensions) at

interfaces between regions of different hydraulic conductivity and the run-times are likely to

become excessively large (several days or more). The additional requirement to place model

boundaries sufficiently far away from the injection/extraction activity will also increase

simulation run-times. Large field scale modelling applications of variable density flow in 3D are

therefore limited because of heavy computational requirements.

Ward et al., [2007] described a method for simulating the injection/extraction well that

considered the injection and extraction well to be a column of highly conductive elements (like a

fracture), rather than a uniform flux across the boundary. The reason for this method of

implementation was that the uniform flux method would fail to account for the dense water

initially in the aquifer, which may in fact lead to a non-uniform velocity profile (low velocities at

the bottom of the well and large velocities at the top of the well). Figures 12 and 13 demonstrate

that the density-induced tilting of the interface can actually drive saltwater back up the well

during the storage phase (when the well is not operational) where it can then circulate upwards

into the upper part of the aquifer. The likelihood of observing this phenomenon in the field is

unknown and requires further research.

Fractures may have a major impact on variable density flow because they represent

preferential pathways where a dense plume may migrate at velocities that are several orders of

magnitude faster than within the rock matrix itself. Studying dense plume migration in fractured

rock is especially important in the context of hazardous waste disposal in low-permeability rock

formations. Variable density flow in a vertical fracture has previously been studied by Murphy

[1979], Malkovsky and Pek [1997, 2004] and Shi [2005], showing that two-dimensional

convective flow with a rotation axis normal to the fracture plane can occur. Shikaze et al., [1998]

numerically simulated variable-density flow and transport in a network of discrete orthogonal

fractures. They found that vertical fractures with an aperture as small as 50 Pm significantly

123

increase contaminant migration relative to the case where fractures are absent. It was also shown

that dense solute plumes develop in a highly irregular fashion and are extremely difficult to

predict. However, Shikaze et al., [1998] represented fractures by one-dimensional segments, thus

inhibiting convection within the fracture. Importantly, Shikaze et al., [1998] limited their studies

to a regular fracture network consisting of only vertical and horizontal fractures, embedded in a

porous matrix. Recently, Graf and Therrien [2005] included inclined fractures in the simulation

of dense plume migration and showed that variable density flow in a 1D inclined fracture

initiates convection in the 2D porous matrix and that convection cells are independent and

separated by the high-permeability fracture (Figure 14). In a recent study, Graf and Therrien

[2007a] investigated dense plume migration in irregular 2D fracture networks. Simulations

indicated that convection cells form and that they overlap both the porous matrix and fractures.

Thus, transport rates in convection cells depend on matrix and fracture flow properties. A series

of simulations in statistically equivalent networks of fractures with irregular orientation showed

that the migration of a dense plume is highly sensitive to the geometry of the network. If

fractures in a random network are connected equidistantly to the solute source, few equidistantly

distributed fractures favor density-driven transport while numerous fractures have a stabilizing

effect.

Few test cases exist to verify a new code which simulates variable-density flow in

fractures. Results presented by Shikaze et al. [1998] can be used to verify dense plume migration

in a set of vertical fractures by comparing isohalines at certain simulation times. The inclined-

fracture problem introduced by Graf and Therrien [2005] can be used in both a qualitative (using

isohalines) and a quantitative (using detailed information on breakthrough curves, mass fluxes,

maximum velocities etc.) manner to verify variable density flow in an inclined fracture.

Caltagirone [1982] has presented the analytical solution for the onset of convection in

homogeneous media. The solution can be applied to vertical and inclined fractures by assuming

constant fracture aperture (homogeneity) and by introducing a cosine weight to account for

fracture incline [Graf, 2005]. Although the solution by Caltagirone [1982] is the only available

analytical solution on variable-density flow applied to box type problems of finite domain

dimensions, it is not truly an analytical solution, but rather uses analytical procedures to derive

the critical Rayleigh number for different aspect ratios in order to determine the conditions that

govern the stable and unstable states of convection in box type problems. It is these solutions

that also form the basis for newly proposed benchmark test cases presented in Weatherill et al.,

124

[2004]. We conclude that, to date, a robust and well accepted benchmark problem for variable

density flow in fractures oriented in 3D and embedded in a 3D porous matrix does not exist.

Thus, there is a clear need to further explore how to best test and benchmark 3D variable density

flow in fractured media.

The HydroGeoSphere (HGS) model simulates variable-density flow in 3D porous media

and in 2D fractured media where fractures are planar and parallel to at least one coordinate axis

[Therrien and Sudicky, 1996; Therrien et al., 2004; Graf and Therrien, 2005; 2007a; 2007b].

There are, in principal, two methods to calculate density: (i) Using Pitzer’s ion interaction model

in the VOPO model [Monnin, 1989; 1994], which is physically based but slow because it iterates

between density and molality. The VOPO algorithm calculates the density of water from the

concentrations of the solutes Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, SO2î4 , HCO3î and CO2î, based on Pitzer’s

ion interaction model. It allows for the accurate calculation of the density of natural waters over

a wide range of salinities (i.e., from fresh water to brine). However, the speed of the computation

often makes it impractical for numerical modeling. (ii) Using an approximate but faster empirical

model. HGS can use both methods and salinity is calculated from concentrations of individual

ions found in natural water.

Assuming 2D spatial dimensions is a common simplification made in numerical

simulations. Because density-driven convection can naturally occur in multiple ways in 3D,

representing non-planar fractures in 3D is essential. Prior attempts have shown that this is a

tedious task but has been addressed successfully [Graf and Therrien, 2006; 2007c]. Variable-

density flow in inclined fractures embedded in a 3D porous matrix is a great future challenge and

subject to ongoing investigation (Figure 15). Subsequently, benchmark problems for variable-

density flow in 3D fractured porous media are important and should be defined, followed by

further 3D analyses.

125

6.5 Chemically reactive transport modelling

Mixing of different waters, whether driven by the existence of salinity/temperature

gradients or other forces, may trigger geochemical reactions. Well-documented salt-water related

problems include the dissolution of calcite in fresh-salt water mixing zones [e.g. Wigley and

Plummer, 1976; Sanford and Konikow, 1989] and cation exchange due to salt water intrusion or

freshening [Valocchi et al., 1981; Appelo and Willemsen, 1987; Appelo et al., 1990; Appelo,

1994]. Precipitation of (carbonate) minerals has also been extensively studied in geothermal

problems due to its relevance for aquifer thermal energy storage [e.g., Brons et al., 1991].

Moreover, ore formation in relation to thermal convection is a topic that has received ample

attention in basin-scale geological studies [e.g., Person et al., 1996].

Reactive transport of dissolved solutes in groundwater is described by the advection-

diffusion equation, which is a statement of the conservation of mass of a chemical component i:

wnCi

( nD Ci ) ( qCi ) rreac (18)

wt

where Ci denotes the chemical concentration of component i (M/L3), n is the porosity

(dimensionless), D is the dispersion coefficient (L2/T) and q is the specific discharge (L/T), i.e.

the volumetric flow rate per unit of cross-sectional area. The third term on the right-hand side,

rreac, accounts for the change in solute concentration due to chemical reactions. A similar

expression holds for the temperature in heat-transport problems. Darcy’s law in a variable

density formulation is given in Eqn (14), and the general equation of state is given in Eqn (6).

The concentration depends on the flow field (through q in equation 18), the flow field depends

on the density (through ȡ in equation 13) and ȡ is influenced by C and hence also by q.

Therefore, in variable-density flow problems, the governing equations for groundwater flow and

solute transport need to be solved simultaneously.

For reactive transport modelling, it is important to pay careful attention to the equation of state.

This expression relates fluid density and dissolved solute concentration can take different forms,

for example a simple linear expression:

126

U U 0 HC (19)

where U 0 is the density when C = 0, and İ is the slope of the ȡ-C curve. In multicomponent

systems, U is not a function of a single solute but depends on all the different solutes that are

present in the solution. A more appropriate form of equation (19) then becomes:

U U 0 ¦ H i Ci (20)

i 1,n

where n is the number of components and the subscripts i refer to the individual components.

Relations of this type were employed by Zhang and Schwartz [1995] and Mao et al. [2006].

Alternatively fluid density might be computed (slightly) more accurately on the base of a

thermodynamic framework [Monnin, 1994; Freedman and Ibaraki, 2002; Post and Prommer,

2007].

The development of numerical codes that address reactive transport under variable

density conditions was driven by a range of different motivations. On one hand, for example,

large-scale transport phenomena over geological time-scale are simulated to understand the

evolution and spatial distribution of ore-bodies [e.g., Raffensperger and Garven, 1995] while, on

the other hand, models and simulations that focus on the movement of groundwater and the

related water quality evolution are typically dealing with much smaller spatial- and shorter time-

scales. The latter, for example, was the case in the studies by Zhang and Schwartz [1995], who

have developed a numerical simulator to assess the fate of contaminants in a dense leachate

plume and by Christensen et al. [2001], who studied hydrochemical processes during horizontal

seawater intrusion. Furthermore, Mao et al. [2006] have developed a model and applied it to

simulate the results of a tank simulation involving chemical reactions in an intruding seawater

wedge. Sanford and Konikow [1989], Freedman and Ibaraki [2002] and Rezaeia et al., [2005]

developed codes and used them for generic simulations that evaluated the effect of chemical

reactions on dynamic changes of the hydraulic properties of the aquifer material. Post and

Prommer [2007] developed a variable-density version of the reactive multicomponent transport

model PHT3D [e.g., Prommer et al., 2003; Prommer and Stuyfzand, 2005; Greskowiak et al.,

2005; Prommer et al., 2006]. Their model combines the previously existing and widely used tools

SEAWAT, which accounts for multicomponent transport under variable-density conditions, and

127

the geochemical reaction simulator PHREEQC-2. They used the model to study the relative

importance of reaction-induced density changes (resulting from cation exchange and calcite

dissolution) on the groundwater flow field during free convection. To assess and quantify the

potential effects, they reformulated the classic, well-studied Elder problem, in which flow is

solely driven by density gradients (free convection), into a reactive multicomponent transport

problem. The main outcome of the modelling study was that the flow field appears to be altered

only in cases when the fluid density is strongly affected by changes in solute concentration due to

chemical reactions (Figure 16). Perturbations smaller than approximately 10% did not result in

differences in the flow pattern that could visually be detected, but an effect was noticed in the

rate of salt plume descent that became higher as the density of the downward migrating plumes

increased. The critical result here is that when low density-contrasts drive groundwater flow,

chemical reactions are more likely to be important and hence need to be incorporated in the

analysis, unlike when density contrasts are high, such as in seawater intrusion type of problems.

The PHT3D model was also applied in the study of Bauer-Gottwein et al., [2007],

simulating shallow, unconfined aquifers underlying islands in the Okavango Delta (Botswana).

These islands are fascinating natural hydrological systems, for which the interplay between

variable density flow, evapotranspiration and geochemical reactions has a crucial effect:

Astonishingly, the combination of these mechanisms keeps the Okavango delta fresh, as salts are

transported from the freshwater body towards the island’s centre, where evapoconcentration

triggers (i) mineral precipitation and (ii) convective, density-driven downward transport of the

salt into deeper aquifer systems. The model simulations evaluated the conceptual model and

quantified, using measured hydrochemical data as constraints, the individual processes and

elucidated their relative importance for the system. They found that the onset of density-driven

flow was affected by mineral precipitation and carbon-dioxide degassing as well as by

complexation reactions between cations and humic acids.

Numerical modelling of reactive transport under variable density conditions is a complex

undertaking. As with transport under density-invariant conditions, numerical approximations

introduce artificial dispersion and oscillations which pose special difficulties for chemical

calculations. These are especially felt when redox problems are simulation as these require a high

accuracy. The need therefore remains to search for mathematical techniques that combat these

undesirable artefacts. In many cases, it should be noted that model results are extremely

sensitive to spatial discretization and that grid convergence can be a problem. There are also

128

limitations faced by the assumption of local chemical equilibrium and how this relates to the

choice of spatial and temporal discretisation (e.g., the time taken to equilibrium could be longer

that the time step size).

The capabilities of the codes developed so far are already quite impressive but existing

limitations warrant further improvement and refinement. Multiphase systems, interaction with

hydraulic properties and deforming porous media can already be handled by some codes but the

development of more comprehensive models is warranted due to the complexity of geological

systems.

Despite these limitations, the level of sophistication of the reactive transport codes has

already outrun our capability to collect the appropriate input data. Parameterization of even the

simplest models, such as well controlled laboratory column experiments, is by no means trivial.

For example, challenges relate to the translation of thermodynamic constants for ideal minerals

to more amorphous phases in natural sediments or batch-determined kinetic laws to field

conditions. Unless new techniques emerge (e.g., nanotechnology?) that allows us to change the

way we collect field data, the reliable application of sophisticated codes will be seriously limited.

129

Variable density groundwater system Relevant papers

Sea water intrusion, fresh-saline water interfaces in Yechieli et al., (2001)

coastal aquifers Kooi et al., (2000)

Post and Kooi (2003)

Underwood et al., (1992)

Voss and Souza (1987)

Huyakorn et al., (1987)

Pinder and Cooper (1970)

Werner and Gallagher (2006)

Subterrenean groundwater discharge Langevin (2003)

Kaleris et al., (2002)

Infiltration of leachates from waste disposal sites, dense Liu and Dane (1996)

contaminant plumes Zhang and Schwartz (1995)

Oostrom et al., (1992a,b)

Koch and Zhang (1992)

Schincariol and Schwartz (1990)

Pashcke and Hoopes (1984)

Le Blanc (1984)

Frind (1982)

DNAPL flow and transport Li and Schwartz (2004)

Lemke et al., (2004)

Oostrom et al., (2003)

Density driven transport in the vadose zone Ying and Zheng (1999)

Ouyang and Zheng (1999)

Flow through salt formations in high level disposal sites, Jackson and Watson (2001)

heat and solute movement near salt domes Williams and Ranganathan (1994)

Hassanizadeh and Leijnse (1988)

Heat and fluid flow in geothermal systems Oldenburg and Pruess (1999)

Gvirtzman et al., (1997)

Sedimentary basin mass and heat transport processes, Garven et al., (2003)

diagenesis processes Sharp et al., (2001)

Raffensperger and Vlassopoulous

(1999)

Wood and Hewett (1984)

Palaeohydrogeology of sedimentary basins Senger (1993)

Gupta and Bair (1997)

Processes beneath playas, sabkhas and playa lakes Yechieli and Wood (2002)

Sanford and Wood (2001)

Simmons et al., (1999)

Wooding et al., (1997a,b)

Duffy and Al-Hassan (1988)

Operation of saline (and irrigation) water disposal basins Simmons et al., (2002)

Density affects in applied tracer tests Barth et al., (2001)

Zhang et al., (1998)

Istok and Humphrey (1995)

Le Blanc et al., (1991)

Table 1. Some key physical systems where variable density groundwater flow

phenomena are important in groundwater hydrology.

130

Simulator References for code development and verification

CFEST Gupta et al., [1987]

FAST-C Holzbecher [1998]

FEFLOW Diersch [1988], Diersch [2005]

FEMWATER Lin et al., [1997]

HEATFLOW Frind [1982]

HST3D Kipp [1987]

HYDROGEOSPHERE Therrien et al., [2004]

METROPOL Leijnse and Hassanizadeh [1989]

MITSU3D Ibaraki [1998]

MOCDENSE Sanford and Konikow [1985]

MODHMS HydroGeoLogic Inc., [2003]

NAMMU Herbert et al., [1988]

PHT3D/SEAWAT-2000 Post and Prommer [2007]

ROCKFLOW Krohn [1991], Kolditz et al. [1995]

SEAWAT-2000 Langevin and Guo [2006]

SUTRA Voss [1984]

SWIFT Reeves et al., [1986]

TOUGH2 Oldenburg and Pruess [1995]

VapourT Mendoza and Frind [1990]

VARDEN Kuiper [1983, 1985], Kontis & Mandle [1988]

Table 2. Some numerical simulators for variable-density groundwater flow and solute

transport problems. This list is illustrative not exhaustive.

131

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of instability, Water Resour. Res., 33, 1199-1217.

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water interface in the Dead Sea coastal aquifers: synthesis of TDEM surveys and numerical groundwater

modeling, Hydrogeology Journal., 9(4), 367-377.

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138

Figure 1. Brine density as a function of NaCl mass fraction, computed for the conditions of

Figure 2. Brine density calculated at conditions characteristic of some typical sedimentary basins.

139

Figure 3. Effect of spatial discretization on the computed salinity distribution at 4, 10, 15, and

20 years simulation time. Positions of the 20% and 60% isochlors are shown for: (a) coarse mesh

(1170 nodes, 1100 quadrilateral elements), comparable with the discretization used originally by

Elder [1967] and Voss and Souza [1987], (b) fine mesh (10,108 nodes, 9900 quadrilateral

elements). It is clear that the nature of the central upwelling and downwelling is very sensitive

140

Figure 4. Developmental stages of unstable plume behaviour in Hele-Shaw cell laboratory

experiment. The effective Rayleigh number for this system is Ra=4870. Elapsed times (a,b,....,h)

given in dimensionless times are T=2.02, 4.03, 8.00, 10.01, 12.02, 13.98, 15.99, 18.00, measured

from a virtual starting time of 12 hours and 15 minutes (the actual experimental starting time was 11

hours and 32 minutes). One unit in dimensionless time is equivalent to 21.4 minutes real time [after

Wooding et al., 1997b; Simmons et al., 1999].

141

Figure 5. Developmental stages of unstable plumes in the SUTRA solute transport model. Contours

represent the concentration of the plumes. Contour interval is 2,000 mgL-1. The effective Rayleigh

number for this system is Ra=4870. Elapsed times (a,b,...,h) given in dimensionless times are

T=2.01, 4.02, 8.03, 10.05, 12.06, 14.06, 16.07,18.08, measured from start of numerical simulation.

One unit in dimensionless times is equivalent to 21.4 minutes real time. Source: Simmons et al.,

[1999].

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Figure 6. Numerical model of salt water intrusion in a regional scale 3D model, Pioneer Valley,

Australia. Based upon Kuhanesan [2005] groundwater flow model. [Source: Werner and

Gallagher, 2006].

Figure 7. A comparison between observed salinity contours (grey lines) and predicted salinity

contours (black lines) from the a uncalibrated model and b calibrated model. The coastline is not

143

Figure 8. Profiles of salinity distributions (relative salinity units used, whereby 1.0 is sea water).

The vertical axis scale is m AHD. [Source: Werner and Gallagher, 2006].

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Figure 9. Inferred occurrences of offshore fresh to brackish paleo-groundwater (modified from

Groen, 2002) and continental shelf areas that were exposed during the last glacial maximum (25-

15 ka BP).

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Figure 10. Variable density flow simulation showing salinization lags behind coastline migration

groundwater (after Kooi et al., 2000). Highly unstable convective fingering is seen as dominant

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Figure 11. Basic concept of interface tilting leading to conical plume in the case of variable

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Figure 12. An illustrative comparison between FEFLOW numerical model results for the cases

of no density, small density and large density contrasts. Results are given for: end of injection

phase, end of storage phase, and end of recovery phase. Each image is symmetrical about its left-

hand boundary, which represents the injection/extraction well where fresh water is injected into

the initially more saline aquifer. The effects of variable density flow are clearly visible. Increasing

the density contrast results in deviation from the standard cylindrical “bubble” most, as seen in

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Injection

50 days

100 days

Storage

150 days

200 days

250 days

300 days

350 days

Figure 13. Time series plot of a 100-day injection and 250-day storage, in an aquifer consisting of

6 even horizontal layers, with the hydraulic conductivity varying by a ratio of 10 between high

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Figure 14. Variable-density flow in an inclined fracture embedded in a 2D porous matrix. Red

colors refer to high concentration and blue colors refer to low concentration. Arrows represent

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Figure 15. Variable density flow in an inclined fracture embedded in a 3D porous matrix. Arrows

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Figure 16. Chemically reactive adaptation of the Elder short heater natural convection problem.

Width of the model domain is 600 m. Top: Plume configuration after 2920 days for the adapted

Elder problem modelled by Post and Prommer [2007] when no chemical reactions are

considered. Bottom: Plume configuration after 2920 days for the adapted Elder problem when

cation exchange and calcite equilibrium are included in the simulation. Darker shading represents

higher density.

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Chapter 1

analytical, benchmarking and numerical developments, applications

Abdelkader Larabi

Morocco, E-Mail : larabi@emi.ac.ma

Abstract

The management of groundwater resources involves the allocation of

groundwater supplies and water quality to competing water demands and uses. The

resource allocation problem is characterized by conflicting objectives and complex

hydrologic and environmental constraints, especially in coastal aquifers. The

development of mathematical simulation models provides groundwater planners with

quantitative techniques for analyzing alternatives groundwater resources management.

Coastal aquifers involve varying conditions in time and space, owing to the

occurrence of seawater intrusion, leading to upconing due to intensive pumping near

the coast. An overview of modelling seawater intrusion in coastal aquifers is

presented, including the physical approaches that assume the occurrence of a sharp

interface or solute transport mixing zone. Some analytical solutions have been also

outlined as to serve benchmark problems for testing developed numerical algorithms

for sharp and solute transport interfaces. Based on the two physical approaches,

numerical models have been developed and using conventional finite differences,

finite elements and boundary integral techniques. Results of some field applications

are presented to show the utility and the capability of these tools of predicting

accurate information with regard to seawater intrusion, its extent, interface upcoming,

critical pumping rates and other information on management issues.These information

are required to assist managers, planners and decision makers for an integrated water

resources management as demonstrated by the regional models developed for some

coastal aquifers.

Keywords: Coastal aquifers, Seawater intrusion, Modelling, Groundwater

management.

1. Introduction

Management of a groundwater system means making such decisions as to the

total quantity of water to be withdrawn annually, the locations of wells for pumping

and for artificial recharge and their rates and control conditions at aquifer boundaries

in addition to decisions related to groundwater quality. In order to assist the planner,

or the decision maker, to compare alternative models of action and to ensure that the

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constraints are not violated, a tool is needed that will provide information about the

response of the system to various alternatives. Good management requires the ability

to predict the aquifer’s response to planned operations, that may take the form of

changes in the water levels, changes in water quality, or land subsidence (Bear and

Veruijt, 1987).

The necessary information about the response of the system can be provided by a

model that describes the behavior of the considered system in response to excitation.

During the past 40 years, the field of aquifer management modeling has developed as

a distinct discipline. It has provided a framework which replaces trial and error

simulations. Modern aquifer management models combine simulation tools with

optimization techniques. This combination of the optimization and aquifer simulation

provides a framework that forces the engineer or hydrogeologist to formulate

carefully the groundwater management problem. The problem must contain a series of

constraints on heads, drawdowns, pumping rates, hydraulic gradients, groundwater

velocities, and solute concentrations. In addition, an objective, usually involving costs,

cost surrogates, or risk, must be seated.

This is the case of aquifers in islands and coastal areas which are prone to

seawater intrusion. Because seawater is denser than freshwater, it will invade aquifers

which are hydraulically connected to the sea. Under natural conditions, freshwater

recharge forms a lens that floats on top of a base of seawater. This equilibrium

condition can be disturbed by changes in recharge and/or induced conditions of

pumping and artificial recharge. Seawater intrusion must be addressed in managing

groundwater resources in islands and coastal areas. The freshwater lens is very

susceptible to contamination, and once contaminated, it can be very difficult to restore

to pristine conditions. To plan counter measures, it is necessary to predict the

behaviour of groundwater under various conditions, such as to determine the extent to

which ingress of seawater occurs. As seawater intrusion progresses, existing pumping

wells, especially close to the coast, become saline and have to be abandoned, thus

reducing the value of the aquifer as source of freshwater. Also, the area above the

intruding seawater wedge is lost as source of water.

The contact between freshwater and seawater in islands and coastal aquifers,

requires special techniques of management, because of varying conditions in time and

space, such as pumping near the coast. In response to pumping from a well in the

fresh-water zone, the fresh-saltwater interface moves vertically toward the well

causing the upconing phenomenon. The problem of saltwater intrusion can be

analysed by two methods. The first method considers both fluids miscible and takes

into account the existence of transition zone (Voss and Souza, 1984). The second

method is based on an abrupt interface approximation (Bear and Verruijt, 1987)

where it is assumed that (i) the freshwater and saltwater do not mix and (ii) are

separated by a sharp interface. This method is considered as appropriate

approximation in the case where the extent of the transition zone is relatively small

compared to the aquifer thickness. The first attempts to solve the saltwater intrusion

were based on the assumption of the existence of a sharp interface between freshwater

and saltwater (Strack, 1976; Collins and Gelhar, 1971).

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In this paper, we discuss different aspects of seawater intrusion in coastal

aquifers, since the famous works of Badon-Ghyben (1888). Some analytical solutions

available for both sharp interface and transition zone approaches are also reviewed, as

they serve as benchmark examples for testing developed numerical models and codes.

Also, some 3-D numerical models are presented which enables the prediction of the

fresh-saltwater interface displacement in response to varying conditions in time and

space. Applications of these codes to some field cases are also given assuming both

approaches of the abrupt interface and the mixing zone. The freshwater-saltwater

interface is determined, including its location, shape and extent. Examples of the

regional models, presented in this work, are based on the Galerkin finite element

approach (Larabi and De Smedt, 1994) and the finite difference technique (Mcdonalds

and Harbaugh, 1988). These models are capable to simulate groundwater flow, solute

transport and the transient interface displacement due to groundwater exploitation,

especially under upconing conditions due intensive pumping. Although simulation

models provide the resource planner with important tools for managing the

groundwater system, the predictive models do not identify the optimal groundwater

development, design, or operational policies for an aquifer system. Hence, they

should be combined to groundwater optimization models to identify the optimal

groundwater planning or design alternatives in the context of the system’s objectives

and constraints (Willis and Yeh, 1987).

2.1 Occurrence of seawater intrusion

The occurrence of seawater intrusion in coastal aquifers can be visualised with a

simplified conceptual model (Figure 1). The essential elements are freshwater

recharge from inland sources, seawater intrusion from the ocean and an interface or

transition zone between the two types of water. The transition zone is a zone of

mixing between the freshwater and the saltwater (Figure 2). Under equilibrium

conditions, the interface will remain fixed, and freshwater will discharge along the

seepage face. In coastal aquifers, recharge is predominantly due to lateral inflow,

whereas in island aquifers, it is due to vertical recharge. These conceptual models are

analysed in different ways. Coastal aquifers are usually modelled in the vertical plane.

Island systems are also analysed in the vertical plane when the thickness of the

freshwater lens is a significant fraction of the horizontal width of the lens, a situation

common in atoll islands. When the lens thickness is small compared with its

horizontal extent, the system can often be treated in the horizontal plane.

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Figure 1. Schematic sketch of saltwater intrusion, sharp interface model.

2.2 Approaches for sharp interface and miscible flow models

The first question in developing a simulation model is whether it is appropriate

to deal with the problem as miscible or immiscible flow. If the transition zone is thin

relatively to the thickness of the freshwater lens and it is immobile, then it is

appropriate to assume that the freshwater and saltwater don’t mix (immiscible), and

the transition zone is considered to be a sharp interface.

There are several methods for dealing with seawater intrusion as two-phase,

immiscible problem. These methods are generally known as interface methods. Under

very dynamic conditions, or in case where the freshwater lens is relatively thin

compared with the transition zone, it may be necessary to adopt miscible flow models.

Reilly and Goodman (1985) presented a historical perspective of quantitative analysis

of the saltwater freshwater relationship in groundwater systems. Custodio (1992)

reported that both approaches produce good results if applied to the right

156

circumstance. Pinder and Stothoff (1988) pointed out that the sharp interface

assumption is appropriate for steady state conditions. Additionally, if conditions of

variable recharge and/or significant pumping exist, the interface will move in

response to the non equilibrium conditions. For this problem, the hydraulic head and

fluid velocity in both the fresh and salt portions of the aquifer must be considered.

Since these quantities are unknown, the problem becomes one of coupling differential

equations for motion of the freshwater and saltwater, and solving for the unknown

position of the interface between them.

In fact when the sharp interface approximation is inappropriate owing to the

large thickness of the transition zone relative to the freshwater lens, it is advisable to

treat the freshwater and saltwater as miscible. There are two elements to the problem:

1) a single fluid phase with variable density; and 2) a solute representing the total

dissolved solids in seawater, which affects the fluid density. As a result, there are four

unknown dependent variables: fluid specific discharge, fluid pressure, salt

concentration, and fluid density, requiring the solution of four equations (Frind and

Mangata, 1985). Often the most disruptive influence is the effect of pumping

activities. Withdrawal of water from the freshwater lens via pumping wells creates

saltwater upconning, which is the migration of the fresh-salt interface towards a well

in response to pumping withdrawals. However, Bear (1979) has given some examples

of real aquifers in which experimental measurements have shown the salt

concentration to vary sharply at a determined location, clearly establishing a region of

low salt concentration (freshwater) and a region of high salt concentration (saltwater).

3.1 Key role of analytical solutions

In fact, analytical solutions can not solve ‘real-world’ problems, due to their

simplified physical assumptions and geometry. But they play an important role to

serve a number of important purposes such as instructional tools to present

fundamental insights to clearly understand the mechanical trend of the groundwater

flow in coastal aquifers, while numerical solutions are often difficult to provide it.

In addition and despite their simplifying assumptions, analytical solutions can

also be used as a tool for first-cut engineering analysis in a feasibility study. More

sophisticated models normally require hydrological and hydrogeological information

that is either not available or not known to the required solution at the time of initial

investigation. Hence, without the support of reliable input data, these sophisticated

models cannot provide more accurate results. That is why before a large scale site

study, or a comprehensive numerical modelling, it is often interesting to perform

some preliminary calculations based on basic information and simplifying

assumptions.

However, still the most important contribution of the analytical solutions is to

serve as benchmark problems for testing numerical algorithms. Numerical models,

especially newly developed ones based on numerical techniques such as FE, FD, BE

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or mixed techniques, need to be verified and validated against programming and other

errors before distribution for use and/or for real world applications.

3.2 Interface models

An exact mathematical statement of the saltwater intrusion problem, assuming

that an abrupt interface separates fresh water and saltwater, was presented by Bear

(1979). However, in order to simplify the problem, the Ghyben-Herzberg relationship

can be introduced. The vertical position of the saltwater interface measured from the

sea level, zi, is given by

Uf z

zi = zw = w (1)

Us - U f G

where G = (Us - Uf)/Uf and zw is the position of the water table measured above sea

level. Assuming a sea water density Us of 1025 kg/m3, and a fresh water density Uf of

1000 kg/m3, this relationship predicts that there will be approximately 40 times as

much fresh water in the lens beneath sea level as there is fresh water above sea level.

Bear and Dagan (1964) investigated the validity of the Ghyben-Herzberg

relationship. The hodograph method was used to derive an exact solution and it was

shown that close to the coast the depth of the interface is greater than that predicted

by the Ghyben-Herzberg relationship.

Analytical solutions for the interface problem based on the Dupuit assumption

can be found in the works of Strack (1987), Van Dam (1983), and Bear (1979). These

analytical models give reasonable results if the aquifer is shallow, but lack accuracy

in the region of significant vertical flow components. This assumption is also

incapable to handle anisotropy and nonhomogeneity of the aquifer. Only a few

analytical solutions are available for layered aquifers (Mualem and Bear, 1974;

Collins and Gelhar, 1971).

The simplest stationary interface solution based on this assumption was proposed

by Glover (1959) for confined flow, later extended by Van der Veer (1977) to include

phreatic flow. In the Glover solution the aquifer is assumed to be confined, with a

bounding layer positioned at sea level. The origin of the coordinate system is chosen

at the contact point of the sea and the continent. The saltwater interface can be

considered as a streamline and, its position can be determined as a function of the

distance from the shoreline, (Glover, 1959)

2

§ Q · 2Q

zi = ¨ ¸ + x (2)

© GK ¹ GK

where Q is the constant total freshwater flow per unit length of shoreline (L2T-1). The

width of the region through which freshwater discharges to the ocean is given by

Q

x0 = - (3)

2GK

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If the fresh water flow Q can be estimated or measured, then equation (2)

provides a simple method to calculate the depth to saltwater in the coastal zone.

Alternatively x0 can be estimated.

Detournay and Strack (1988) derived an approximate analytical solution

technique to solve groundwater flow which involves the determination of a phreatic

surface, an interface separating flowing fresh water from saltwater at rest, and seepage

and straight outflow faces where fresh water discharges into the sea, by application of

conformal mapping techniques using the hodograph method. Results are presented in

a table, where the coordinates of the phreatic surface and the interface are calculated

for the flow case in which the coast and the sea bottom slopes have angles of

respectively 30o and 15o with the x-axis.Van der Veer (1977) has proposed an

analytical solution for the steady interface flow in coastal aquifer flow systems

involving recharge on the top phreatic surface.

Strack (1976), developed an analytical solution for regional interface problems in

coastal aquifers based on single-valued potentials and the Dupuit assumption and the

Ghyben-Herzberg formula, in the context of steady state. The critical pumping rate

has been also computed in the case of a fully penetrating well. Motz (1992) proposed

an analytical solution for calculating the critical pumped flow rate in an artesian

aquifer for a critical interface rise supposed to be 0.3(b – l), where b denotes the

aquifer thickness and l the distance from top of aquifer to bottom of well screen

(Figure 2). Bower et al.(1999) modified the critical interface rise based on an

analytical solution, which allows the critical pumping rate to be increased.

Solutions for the miscible fluid model with dispersion have also been obtained

by a number of investigators. Henry (1964) used a Fourrier-Galerkin method, but was

restricted in the choice of the parameters by convergence requirements of the method.

This was the first solution for predicting the steady state salt distribution in a cross

section of a confined coastal aquifer.

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3.3 Benchmark models

For the sharp interface benchmarking, a 3-D sand model (Sugio, 1992) has been

designed to study saltwater intrusion into freshwater in a sand box. This laboratory

model consists of a 3-D sand box, 163.8cm long and 47.5cm high, while the width of

the model has two values : 63.2cm from the downstream end until the length 82.3cm,

and 30cm in the remaining part. Salt was added to the fresh water and thoroughly

mixed up to the density of 1030kg/m3 to model sea water, and then was colored by

dye in order to observe the position of the interface separating fresh water and

saltwater. Sand with 0.76mm mean diameter was used for which the hydraulic

conductivity was obtained from measurements (Sugio, 1992) as 1.293cm/s. The

upstream and downstream water levels are respectively h1 = 44.15cm and zs =

40.67cm. Fresh water flows through the sand model for about three hours to achieve

steady state conditions. The behaviour of the fresh water-saltwater interface was

measured on the front, side and bottom sections of the box model. This sand model is

used to test the numerical model capability to accurately simulate 3-D groundwater

flow problems with a fresh water-saltwater interface as it was demonstrated by the

GEO_SWIM code (Larabi, 1994).

Three well known benchmark problems in the literature have been selected to be

presented for validation purposes of the developed numerical models based on

variable density dependent flow and solute transport in coastal aquifers:

The Henry’s problem: This test (Henry, 1964) deals with the advance of a salt water

front in a uniform isotropic aquifer limited at the top and the bottom by impermeable

boundaries recharged at one side by a constant freshwater i0nflux, and faced the sea

on the other side with hydrostatic pressure distribution. For the mass fraction

conditions, the influx side is at c= 0, the top part of the sea side is treated in a manner

to permit convective mass transport out of the system (outflow face) and the remained

part of the seaside is at c=1. Many numerical codes have been evaluated and tested

with the Henry’s solution. Segol (1993) showed, however that the Henry’s solution

was not exact because Henry (1964) eliminated, for computational reasons,

mathematical terms from the solution that he thought to be insignificant. When Segol

(1993) recalculated Henry’s solution with the additional terms, the improved answer

was slightly different from the original solution. With the new solution, Segol (1993)

showed that numerical codes, such as SUTRA (Voss, 1984), could reproduce the

correct answer for the Henry problem.

The Elder’s problem: This case serves as an example of free convection phenomenon

originally used for numerical analysis of thermally driven convection. After

adaptation, this test benchmark is used to verify the accuracy of a model in

representing fluid flow purely driven by density differences. The large density

contrast (1.2 to 1) constitutes a strong test for coupled flow problems. The domain is

represented by a rectangular box with a source of solute at the top taken as a specified

concentration boundary (c=1), whereas the bottom is maintained at zero concentration

160

(c = 0). For the flow conditions, zero value of equivalent freshwater head is attributed

to the upper corners. Several authors studied this case, among others, Voss and Souza

(1987), Oldenburg and Pruess (1995), Kolditz et al.(1998) Aharmouch and Larabi

(2004). This problem was originally designed for heat flow (Elder, 1967), but Voss

and Souza (1987) recast the problem as a variable density groundwater problem in

which fluid density is a function of salt concentration.

The salt dome (HYDROCOIN level 1, case 5): The purpose of the Hydrologic Code

Intercomparison (HYDROCOIN) project was to evaluate the accuracy of selected

groundwater modelling codes. One of the problems used for testing is the

HYDROCOIN problem. This test is used to model variable density groundwater over

a salt dome. The boundary conditions are: the hydraulic head varies linearly on the

top of the aquifer whereas the other sides are impervious. The mass fraction (c = 0) on

the top at the inflow part while the central base of the aquifer is at c =1. For this

problem, Herbert et al.(1988) presented a steady state solution based on the parameter

stepping technique.

More literature on these benchmark examples can be found in several papers

such as those of Voss and Souza (1987), Oldenburg and Pruess (1995) and Kolditz et

al. (1998), among other authors.

4. Numerical models

4.1 Numerical methods for groundwater management

Numerical modeling has emerged over the past 40 years as one of the primary

tools that hydrologists use to understand groundwater flow and saltwater movement in

coastal aquifers. Numerical models are mathematical representations (or

approximations) of groundwater systems in which the important physical processes

that occur in the systems are represented by mathematical equations. The governing

equations are solved by mathematical numerical techniques (such as finite-difference,

finite-element, boundary finite element, or finite volume methods) that are

implemented in computer codes. The primary benefit of numerical modeling is that it

provides a means to represent, in a simplified way, the key features of what are often

complex systems in a form that allows for analysis of past, present, and future

groundwater flow and saltwater movement in coastal aquifers. Such analysis is often

impractical, or impossible, to perform by field studies alone. Numerical models have

been developed to simulate groundwater flow solely or groundwater flow coupled to

solute transport (the movement of chemical species through an aquifer). For a number

of reasons, numerical models that simulate groundwater flow and solute transport are

more difficult to develop and to solve than those that simulate groundwater flow alone.

Coastal aquifers are particularly difficult to simulate numerically because the density

of the water and the concentrations of chemical species dissolved in the water can

vary substantially throughout the modeled area. Numerical models based on the sharp

interface approximation assumption are reported in Mercer et al. (1980), Polo and

161

Ramis (1983), Essaid (1990), Larabi and De Smedt (1994a, 1994b, 1997). Huyakom

et al. (1987), Galeati et al. (1992), Das and Datta (1995, 1998), Putti and Paniconi

(1995), Langevin and Guo (2002), and Aharmouch and Larabi (2004) present some of

the recent developments in modeling of seawater intrusion in coastal aquifers for

density dependent miscible flow and transport.

Two and Three-dimensional, dynamic numerical models handle more complex

situations under realistic representation of the mechanisms involved and account for

variability in physical situations. Three-dimensional models are more realistic and

yields better insight. They are particularly effective in handling irregularities in

coastal aquifer geometry, water use; heterogeneity in aquifer formations; temporal

variations in boundary conditions; and spatial variations in salt concentrations.

Therefore, these models can provide greater detail and accurate results. The only

drawback is related to the intensive computational cost (memory and CPU) and the

amount of data needed to feed up these models.

4.2 Governing equations for groundwater flow and solute transport models

Analysis of saltwater intrusion, assuming that mixing occurs at the transition

zone between seawater and freshwater, because of hydrodynamic dispersion, requires

the solution of two partial differential equations representing the mass conservation

principle for variable-density fluid (flow equation) and for the dissolved solute

(transport equation). The mathematical model of density-dependent flow and transport

in groundwater is expressed here in terms of an equivalent freshwater total head (for

more details see Langevin, 2003): The variable density groundwater flow is described

by the following partial differential equation:

§ (U U f ) · wh f wU wC

U K f ¨ h f z ¸ US f n Uq (4)

¨ Uf ¸ wt wC wt

© ¹

Where:

x,y, and z are coordinate directions; z is aligned with gravity (L).

ȡ is fluid density (ML-3).

Kf is the equivalent fresh water hydraulic conductivity (LT-1).

hf is the equivalent fresh water head (L).

ȡf is the density of fresh water (ML-3).

Sf is equivalent fresh water storage coefficient (L-1).

t is time (T).

n is porosity (L0).

C is the concentration of the dissolved constituent that affects fluid density (ML-3).

U is the fluid density of a source or a sink (ML-3).

q is the flow rate of the source or sink (T-1).

To solve the variable density ground water flow equation, the solute-transport

equation also must be solved because fluid density is a function of solute

162

concentration, and concentration may change in response to the groundwater flow

field. For dissolved constituents that are conservative, such as those found in seawater,

the solute transport equation is:

wC qs

DC Q C Cs (5)

wt n

Where:

D is the dispersion coefficient (L2T-1).

Q is the groundwater flow velocity (LT-1).

qs is the flux of a source or sink (T-1).

Cs is the concentration of the source or sinks (ML-3).

4.3 Recent Numerical Codes

Currently, several solute transport models suitable for the simulation of seawater

intrusion and up-conning of saline water beneath pumping sites are available. These

include SUTRA (Voss, 1984), which is a two-dimensional, vertical cross-sectional

model; SEAWAT (Guo and Bennett, 1998), CODESA3D (Gambolati et. al., 1999),

GEO_SWIM (Aharmouch and Larabi, 2004) and FEFLOW (Diersch, 2004) are

examples of three-dimensional models. These models provide solution of two

simultaneous, non-linear, partial differential equations that describe the conservation

of “mass of fluid” and “conservation of mass of solute” in porous media; as described

above.

SUTRA

SUTRA (which is named from the acronym Saturated Unsaturated TRAnsport)

was published by the United States Geological Survey (Voss, 1984). The model is

two-dimensional and can be applied either aerially or in a cross-section to make a

profile model. The equations are solved by a combination of finite element and

integrated finite difference methods. Although SUTRA is a two-dimensional model, a

three-dimensional element is provided since the thickness of the two-dimensional

region may vary over the solution domain. The coordinate system may be either

Cartesian or radial which makes it possible to simulate phenomena such as saline up-

coning beneath a pumped well. SUTRA permits sources, sinks and boundary

conditions of fluid and salinity to vary both spatially and with time. The dispersion

processes available within SUTRA are particularly comprehensive. They include

diffusion and a velocity-dependent dispersion process for anisotropic media. This

means that it is possible to model the variation of dispersivity when the flow direction

is not along the principal axis of aquifer transmissivity.

SEAWAT

The original SEAWAT code was written by Guo and Bennett (1998) to simulate

ground water flow and salt water intrusion in coastal environments. SEAWAT uses a

modified version of MODFLOW (McDonald and Harbaugh 1988) to solve the

variable density, ground water flow equation and MT3D (Zheng, 1990) to solve the

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solute-transport equation. To minimize complexity and runtimes, the SEAWAT code

uses a one-step lag between solutions of flow and transport. This means that MT3D

runs for a time step, and then MODFLOW runs for the same time step using the last

concentrations from MT3D to calculate the density terms in the flow equation. For the

next time step, velocities from the current MODFLOW solution are used by MT3D to

solve the transport equation. For most simulations, the one-step lag does not introduce

significant error, and the error can be reduced or evaluated by decreasing the length of

the time step.

CODESA3D

CODESA-3D (COupled variable DEnsity and SAturation 3-Dimensional model)

can solve the density-dependent miscible flow and transport equations and predict

solute migration. It is a three-dimensional finite element simulator for flow coupled to

solute transport in variably saturated porous media on unstructured domains

(Gambolati et. al., 1999; Lecca, 2000). The numerical model is a standard finite

element Galerkin scheme, with tetrahedral elements and linear basis functions, and

weighted finite differences are used for the discretization of the time derivatives.

Model parameters that are spatially dependent are considered constant within each

tetrahedral element. Parameters that depend on pressure head and/or concentration are

evaluated using values averaged over each element and are also element-wise

constant. The CODESA-3D code is born from the integration and extension of parent

codes developed, during the last ten years, by the Department of Applied Mathematics

of the University of Padova in collaboration with the Environment Group of CRS4

(Center for Advanced Studies, Research and Development).

GEO_SWIM

GEO_SWIM (GEOprofessional SaltWater Intrusion Model) is a 3-dimensional

finite element model for variable density flow and solute transport in variably

saturated porous media. The Galerkin technique is used for the spatial discretization,

using hexahedral elements, with a finite difference for time discretization. The

mathematical model is made of a set of nonlinear coupled PDE’s of flow and solute

transport to be solved for hydraulic head and mass fraction of the solute component.

The flow equation simulates the water movement in the porous medium whereas the

transport equation calculates the displacement of the dissolved salt. The accuracy of

the model has been checked via the most commonly used benchmark tests

(Aharmouch and Larabi, 2004 and 2005), either for seawater intrusion (Henry’s

problem) or brine transport (Elder’s problem and Hydrocoin test). Application of the

model had been realized in the case of seawater intrusion in some coastal aquifers

situated in Morocco (Aharmouch and Larabi, 2004). A version of the code also exists

for handling the sharp interface case (Larabi and De Smedt, 1997).

FEFLOW

FEFLOW (Diersch, 2004) is a finite element groundwater modelling commercial

code developed by WASY AG (Germany). The code solves groundwater flow, solute

transport, density dependent solute transport, coupled heat and flow, saturated and

unsaturated flow. Different types of licenses are available at different prices

164

depending on the type of problems that the user needs to solve. The cheapest version

includes only 2D groundwater flow, while the most expensive includes 3D flow,

transport, and heat processes. The code includes different types of elements that can

be combined. This allows for example to model 2D planar structures such as a fault

plane within a porous matrix or linear elements such as a drain or a stream in which

the flow equation may be different than within the porous matrix. The code solves

both steady state and transient equations.

Other codes have been also developed in USA such as SHARP, which is a quasi-

three-dimensional, numerical finite-difference model to simulate freshwater and

saltwater flow separated by a sharp interface in layered coastal aquifer systems; and

FEMWATER which is a 3D finite element, saturated / unsaturated, density driven

flow and transport model.

5.1 The Glover problem:

To test the validity and the accuracy of the proposed numerical scheme, several

benchmark problems with available analytical solutions (Glover, 1959; Strack, 1976;

Van der Veer, 1977a; Motz, 1992) and numerical solutions (Larabi and De Smedt,

1997) are solved and compared.

This example treats a steady state two-dimensional seawater intrusion as

depicted in Figure 4. Glover (1959) presented an analytical solution for this case. For

the numerical analysis, an arbitrary length of the flow domain is taken as 420 m in the

x -direction. The flow domain is discretized with hexahedral elements of size 4 u 4 u 3

m3. This yields grids with 106, 2 and 10 nodes respectively in the x -, y - and z -

directions. The domain contains 2,120 nodes and 945 elements. For the upstream

freshwater outflow values, it is taken to be 3.9 m2/day for case 1 and 18.8 m2/day for

case 2. Other parameters of the problem are U f 1 g/cm3 , U s 1.029 g/cm3 , and

K 69 m/day .

In the present problem, the aquifer is confined; hence there is no unsaturated

zone. In Figure 5, we present the interface location found from the numerical solution

165

in solid lines for the two cases with different outflow rate. For comparison, Glover’s

analytical solution is plotted as dash lines. We observe excellent agreement.

This example deals with an unconfined aquifer, meaning that there exist a

phreatic surface (water table). Also, there is a pumping well located in the freshwater

zone, which draws down the water table, causing the saltwater/freshwater interface to

rise. This phenomenon is called upconing. This problem is modeled after Strack

(1976), which not only uses the Ghyben-Herzberg assumption, but also the Dupuit

assumption of nearly horizontal flow. The problem becomes two-dimensional in the

horizontal plane. In the present work, however, the Dupuit assumption is not taken

and the problem is solved as a three-dimensional one.

The domain is of the size 1, 000 m u 4, 000 m u 21m respectively along the x , y

and z directions. Due to the symmetry with respect to the y -axis, only half of the

domain is discretized. A non-uniform grid is used for the xy -plane, where a minimum

grid spacing of 5 m along the x- and y-axis is used to account for the steep hydraulic

gradients in the vicinity of the pumping well, whereas a maximum of 100 m is used

elsewhere (39 columns u 31 rows). The vertical axis is subdivided into 11 planes. A

constant spacing is used from mean sea level to the aquifer bottom and another plane

is taken at z = 0.89 m, above the sea level. The total number of nodes is 13,299 with

11,400 elements.

Table 1 shows the parameters used in the simulation, which follows those in

Huyakorn, et al. (1996). For the boundary condition, the imposed flux q 1 m 2 /day is

for two-dimensional planar simulation, which is modified to a specific discharge of

q 0.048 m/day for the present case. For the coastal boundary condition we use a

fixed hydraulic head ( h 0 at x 0 ) as taken by Strack (1976).

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Table 1. Parameters used for the Strack (1976) problem.

Parameters Values

Fresh water flux Q f 1 m2/day ( at x = 1000 m)

Depth from mean sea level to aquifer base 20 m

and the analytical solution, for the Strack’s problem.

5.3. Saltwater intrusion in an unconfined aquifer with recharge (Van Der Veer,

1977)

Van Der Veer (1977a) proposed an analytical solution for steady state flow in an

unconfined coastal aquifer where both freshwater-saltwater interface and water table

are present. This solution differs from Strack (1976) solution in that the flow in

vertical direction is fully considered. This consideration of the vertical direction

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allows the existence of a freshwater outflow face at where the aquifer meets the sea

(Figure 7).

The solution region is 2,000 m in length and 410 m in thickness. For the

numerical solution, 202u2u51 hexahedral elements are used. The portion above the

sea level is refined more than the portion below, in order to determine the water table

location more accurately. The spacing in the x-direction is 10 m for the first 1960 m

and 8 m for the remainder, and 5 m for the y-direction. In the z-direction, it varies for

from 1 m above sea level to 10 m below it. The other characteristics of the problem

are U f 1 g/cm 3 , U s 1.020 g/cm3 and K 10 m/day . The boundary conditions used

are as follows: at x=2000, where the aquifer is exposed to the sea, the constant head

condition due to hydrostatic sea water is applied. On the top of aquifer, there is a

replenishment of 0.004 m/day .

Figure 7 shows the steady freshwater-saltwater interface and the phreatic surface

for both the Van der Veer (1997a) analytical solution and the present numerical

solutions.

Solid Present model solution (run 12)

Dash-dot: Analytical solution (Van der Veer, 1977a)

-100

Z (m)

-200

-300

-400

0 500 1000 1500 2000

X (m)

Figure 7. Water table and interface positions produced by GEO-SWIM and Van der

Veer (1997a) analytical solution (dash-dot line).

5.4. Upconing in a confined aquifer overlain by an aquitard (Motz, 1992)

This example involving a confined aquifer overlain by an aquitard with a

pumping well in the aquifer was investigated by Motz (1992, 1997). The data is based

on a field case in Pasco County, Florida (Motz, 1992), and is summarized in Table 2.

For the numerical solution, the aquifer is represented by a square as described by

Huyakorn, et al. (1996). Due to symmetry, only the first quadrant of the three-

dimensional domain was simulated, with pumping well located at x y 0 (Figure

6). The size of the x-y plane is 15000 m u15000 m . The mesh is non-uniformly spaced:

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from the origin until ( x, y ) (2000 m, 0 m) and ( x, y ) (0 m, 2000 m) , a regular

spacing of 50 m is used. Beyond these two points, greater spacing of 1000 m is used.

Thus the mesh consists of 54 rows × 54 columns. The z -direction is subdivided into

21 irregularly spaced planes. The first two planes are located at z 3 m and

z 39 m respectively. Constant spacing ( 'z 24.56 m ) is used along the well

screen ( z 39 m to z 260 m ). Another constant spacing ( 'z 17.9 m ) is used

from z 260 m to z 439 m . The hexahedral element mesh is composed of

61,236 nodes with 56,180 elements. Several steady state simulations are performed

for different pumping rates: Q 25, 50, 75, 100, 120, 140 and 180 kg/s.

Figure 8 shows the saltwater-freshwater interface below the pumping well for

both the numerical solution and the Motz (1992) analytical solution. For low pumping

rates (25, 50 and 75 kg/s), the comparison between the two solutions shows very good

agreement. With increasing pumped rates (100, 120 and 140 kg/s), the agreement is

still good, except in the vicinity of the pumping well. For these pumping rates, the

differences between the numerical and analytical solution for the maximum interface

rise are 1.8%, 4.1%, 6.8%, 9.8%, 12.3%, and 14.8%, respectively, with reference to

the freshwater lens thickness of 439 m.

It should be mentioned that the above flow rates are chosen to be less or equal to

the critical pumping rate Qc 140 kg/s as found by Motz (1992), which allows the

interface to rise up a distance about 30% between the pumping well and the

undisturbed interface. For the last pumping rate (180 kg/s) simulated here, the

numerical and the analytical solutions show significant difference. As pointed out in

Motz (1992), the analytical solution is limited to small interface rises; hence the

discrepancy with the present three-dimensional solution is anticipated.

Table 2. Parameters for the Motz (1997) problem.

Parameters Value

Initial elevation of the saltwater-freshwater interface -438.8 m

Initial freshwater head 10.9 m

Horizontal intrinsic permeability k x , k y 9.26 u10-12 m2

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-300

Dashdot line: Analytical solution (Motz, 1992)

-325

-350

Z(m)

-375

-400

-425

Initial interface

-450

0 500 1000 1500 2000

X (m)

Figure 8. Interface position for both numerical and Motz (1992) analytical solutions,

respectively for pumping rates of 25, 50, 75, 100, 120, 140 and 180 kg/s.

5.5 The Henry’s problem:

This test (Henry, 1964) deals with the advance of a saltwater front in a uniform

isotropic aquifer, limited at the top and the bottom by impermeable boundaries,

recharged at one side by a constant freshwater influx, and faced the sea on the other

side. For the flow conditions the seaside is considered with hydrostatic pressure

distribution whereas an imposed flux of q0 6.6 u 10 5 m / s is applied to the upstream

side. For mass fraction conditions, the influx side is at c 0. , the top part of the

seaside is treated in a manner to permit advective mass transport to flush out of the

system (outflow face condition) and the remained part is at c 1. The results in

steady state is given in Figure 10, 11 and 12 respectively for the isochlor distribution,

the streamlines and the equivalent freshwater heads and velocity field.

The boundary conditions used in this test are the same used previously by Frind

(1982); Putti and Paniconi (1995). The studied domain is represented by a two-

dimensional refined mesh consisting of 41 columns and 21 rows ( 'x 'z 5 cm )

yielding 861 nodes and 800 quadrilateral finite elements.

Simulation runs are performed with either isotropic dispersivity

( D L D T 0.035 ) or constant dispersion tensor ( D 6.6 u10 6 m 2 / sec ) for the cases

of density ratio of 0.0245, 0.0500 and 0.1000. The results in steady state are given in

170

Figure 10, 11 and 12 respectively for the isochlor distribution, the streamlines and the

equivalent freshwater heads and velocity field.

Figure 10. Steady state solution of the Henry’s problem. The lines indicate the

isochlors.

Figure 11. Steady state solution of the Henry’s problem. The stream lines show the

re-circulating saltwater.

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Figure 12. Steady state solution of the Henry’s problem. Equivalent freshwater heads

and Velocity field.

5.6 Elder’s problem:

This case serves as an example of free convection phenomenon. The large

density contrast (1.2 to 1.) constitutes a strong test for coupled flow problems.

The domain is represented by a rectangular box with a source of solute at the top

taken as a specified concentration boundary (c=1.), whereas the bottom is maintained

at zero concentration (c=0.). For the flow conditions, zero value of equivalent

freshwater head is attributed to the upper corners. Parameters necessary for running

this test are the same used previously by Voss and Souza (1987) and Kolditz et al.

(1998).

The mesh used is relatively fine and consists of 80 elements horizontally and 50

elements vertically (Kolditz et al., 1998). For time discretization we used dynamic

stepping strategy, starting with low time steps which are increased or decreased

depending on the convergence behaviour, in conjunction with fully implicit Euler

method. Simulations are performed for salinity patterns at 2, 4, 10, 15 and 20 years

for which Figure 14 presents 2 and 4 years salinity patterns.

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Figure 14. Salinity patterns for 2 and 4 years elapsed time

5.7 Hydrocoin test:

This test is used to model variable density groundwater over a salt dome. The

modeled region is a vertical section of 300m height and 900m width. The salt dome is

located at the central section base at 300m depth. The boundary conditions used and

the parameters necessary to this test case are those taken by (Herbert et al., 1988;

Oldenburg and Pruess, 1995; Kolditz et al., 1998). A fine mesh consisting on 91

columns and 31 rows uniformly spaced is used

Two simulation sets are performed until dynamic equilibrium was reached.

These sets consider purely dispersive (DL = 20 m, DT =2 m, D0=0 m²s-1) and purely

diffusive (DL = DT =0 m, D0=5u10-7 m²s-1) systems. For each system, simulations are

conducted for salinity patterns around the salt dome respectively for the two systems

of flow are determined (Figure 15 and 16)

For the case of the purely dispersive system, the salinity patterns (Figure 15)

seems to reproduce those obtained by Kolditz et al. (1998) and more or less those of

Herbert et al. (1988). In this case, the flushing water, coming from the aquifer top,

seems to be unable to carry away the dissolved salt. Instead, a stagnation zone is

taking place.

In the case of a purely diffusive system (constant dispersion tensor), we perform

long term transient simulations until reaching the equilibrium. The obtained results

173

show practically the same salinity patterns (Figure 16).

Figure 16. Results for purely diffusive flow (D0 = 5u10-7 m²s-1)

6. Case studies

6.1 The Martil coastal aquifer (GEO_SWIM code)

The Martil aquifer is situated in the North-Western part of Morocco on the

Mediterranean coast (Figure 17). It is the important local aquifer for potable water

supply, irrigation and industry in the Martil region. In accordance with geology, the

aquifer system consists of two aquifer units, separated by an aquitard. The upper unit

is a Quaternary alluvial deposits of Martil river, the lower unit is composed of

sandstone-limestone Pliocene formation, whereas the aquitard is generally marly and

clayey. The aquifer thickness is very irregular in different directions. Figure 18a

shows a cross-section from West to East.

174

The conceptual model used in this study is a multi-layer aquifer system of

variable thickness. The finite element mesh used for the numerical simulation of the

Martil aquifer, shown in Figure 3b, is adjusted to fit the structure and the extension of

the hydrogeological layers and the wells location. The 3-D mesh contains 56232

nodes, and 48288 hexahedral elements. The saturated hydraulic conductivity for

different aquifers are Ks = 3.5 m/day in the alluvial material (upper), Ks = 4.5 m/day

for the sandstone-limestone (lower), and Ks = 0.05 m/day for the marl/clay aquitard

[9]. The other parameters are held constant (Ts = 0.45, Tr = 0.1).

The boundaries are treated as impervious, except at the eastern part, which is in

direct contact with the sea (outflow face). Its extent is not known and constitutes a

part of the problem. We also consider Dirichlet conditions at nodes belonging to the

Martil and Alila rivers. In order to take into account the dry seasons these values are

not set necessarily to be equal to the elevation. For the effective rainfall, we use a

non-uniformly distribution taking into account the variably material distribution on

the top layer. In a first step steady state simulations are performed under natural

conditions such that natural groundwater flow can be reproduced efficiently. The

175

purpose is to adjust conductivities and effective recharge. The obtained results are

compared to observed piezometric map of 1966. The calibration is done using the trial

and error technique. This procedure is repeated until a satisfactory pattern is found.

Computed groundwater potential heads, shown in Figure 19, are compared to

recorded values at the observation wells in 1966. The correspondence is relatively

good. The 1966 interface location is also illustrated in Figure 20.

Figure 19. Computed (left) and observed (right) steady state groundwater potentials

in the phreatic aquifer for 1966.

A second set of simulations is performed starting from the 1966 head distribution,

to predict the seawater intrusion in the aquifer. A transient simulation is made of over

30 years, considering variable pumping rates used for water public supply shown in

Table 4. For irrigation, an amount of 7949 m3/day is pumped from several wells to

irrigate 300 ha of agricultural area. The recharge is maintained constant along the

simulation time.

Table 4. ONEP pumping rates

Well number Pumping rate (m3/day)

992/2 780

994/2 1351.56

995/2 1181

996/2 418.75

1153/2 1260

1174/2 248.4

The results shown in Figure 21 show that the saltwater interface starts to move

until 1982 and then remains stable along the time, although pumping wells withdraw

upstream in the aquifer. This simulation scenario shows that there is no significant

displacement of the interface due to the ONEP pumping wells upstream of the Martil

river.

176

Figure 20. Plane view of the 1966 interface to the location.

Figure 21. Cross-sectional view of the moving interface positions from 1966 to 2014

(a new steady state regime is reached since 1982).

6.2 The Oued-Laou coastal aquifer (GEO_SWIM code)

The Oued-Laou coastal aquifer is located 48 km to the southeast of Tétouan city,

in the northwestern part of Morocco, on the Mediterranean coast. This 18 km² alluvial

aquifer is the region’s major groundwater source for potable water supply and

irrigation. The aquifer is widely opened on the sea and it is composed of plio-

quaternary material (El Amrani et al., 2004).

177

Z

Y

a

e

S

n

a

e

n

a

r

r

e

t

i

d

e

M

Figure 22. 3-D structured mesh of Oued-Laou aquifer

The conceptual model used in this study is a one-layer aquifer system of variable

thickness. Figure 22 shows the 3-D structured mesh of Oued-Laou aquifer. The mesh

is adjusted to fit the aquifer geometry and the well locations. The GEO_SWIM code

(abrupt interface version) was applied to the aquifer system to describe groundwater

flow to determine the seawater intrusion interface behavior.

Figure 23. Plan view of the aquifer with pumping well locations.

Present model (dashed and solid lines for sets 1 and 2 respectively)

Two wells are located as shown in Figure 27, one close to the coastline with

pumping rate of 661.3 m3/day for potable water supply, and one inland with pumping

rate 148.4m3/day for irrigation. For management purposes, two scenarios are

investigated for the extent of the interface location. The first scenario considers the

same set of data as described above, except that the rainfall rate is reduced to half

( q0 0.0006 m / day ). In the second scenario, in addition to the reduction of rainfall,

178

the pumping rates are amplified to 2,800 m3/day for the water supply well and 600

m3/day for the irrigation well. The simulated results of these two scenarios are

compared to those published by Larabi and De Smedt (1997). Figures 25 and 26 show

the interface position in cross section and plane views. The numerical results obtained

by the two numerical models are in good agreement. For scenario 1, the pumped rates

don’t represent a threat for the freshwater inland, instead the reduced replenishment.

For the second scenario however, the supposed pumping rates constitute the critical

exploitation feature. Indeed, upconing is developed beneath the pumping well w1 near

the coast, however, the interface don’t reach the well bottom. On the other hand,

freshwater can be safely pumped from well W2.

25

-25

-50

-75

.

Figure 25. Vertical cross-section through pumping well W1 showing the interface

position (scenario 2). Present model (dashed and solid lines for sets 1 and 2

respectively)

Transient simulations have been also performed to analyse the solute transport

interface motion. The initial condition for our simulations is static saturated domain

without salt. The two wells implanted near the coastline are also considered. Figures

26 and 27 show the concentration distribution respectively on a vertical section close

to the pumping wells and on the bottom of the aquifer, at time simulation t = 8 years.

Figure 27. Isochlors and velocity field on the bottom of the aquifer (convergence of

velocity areas indicate the pumping well locations).

179

6.3 The Rmel coastal aquifer (SEAWAT code)

Introduction

The R’mel coastal aquifer is located north of (Morocco, and considered among

the main sub-atlantic coastal aquifers in Morocco with an area of 240 km2. the

availability of ground water and the good hydrodynamic parameters of the aquifer

have favourably increased irrigation by pumping, and contributed to the agriculture

development in this plain; in addition to supplying potable water to tree large urban

centers (Larache, Ksar lakbir, etc.) and rural agglomerations.

But, this development of pumping has induced environmental problems, such as:

over-exploitation of the aquifer with a groundwater table decrease; salt water

intrusion; degradation of the groundwater quality. The aim of the study is to improve

Understanding of its hydrodynamic, to estimate the water balance taking into account

the contribution of the invaded seawater; to characterize the evolution of seawater

intrusion in time and space and the use of the model as a tool for sustainable

quantitative and qualitative management of the R' Mel aquifer.

For this, a mathematical model in transient conditions, based on the SEAWAT

code, has been developed to study groundwater flow and salt water intrusion in this

aquifer. Different management scenarios have been simulated to provide the

managers with a prediction tool that could help in decision making. The simulation

results with respect to development of water resources in this coastal aquifer showed

that surface water is required to protect the irrigated area and to improve water quality

in the area which is contaminated by seawater intrusion, on the other hand.

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Figure 28. Location map of the Rmel aquifer

The Rmel plain is caracterised by a moderated climate with oceanic influence.

The average monthly temperature ranges from 12ć in January to 24ć in August; the

average annual precipitation is 695 mm. (90% are recorded between November and

April) and the average evapotranspiration is 467 mm (DRPE, 1987).

In order to study the seawater intrusion effect on the aquifer management, a

mathematical model has been designed, calibrated in study state and in transient

conditions. The objective of this model is to simulate the extent of the saltwater

intrusion. The model results will be of great importance for the management policy at

the local level.

Figure 29 shows the calibrated, simulated groundwater heads in the Rmel aquifer

for the reference 1972. The results show good agreement between calculated and

measured heads, and the established freshwater-saltwater interface was far away from

inland. However, the calibration is more reliable in the North-western sectors and

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center-East where we have piezometric data. Table 5 shows also the resulting water

balance with different components, including the discharge to the sea.

The results of the transient calculations are prescribed in Figure 30 which shows

satisfactory agreement between measured and calculated heads in different target

observation wells for the considered simulation period. These transient simulations

have led to answer some questions raised by the decision makers and local managers

such as:

- To determine the date of the beginning of the seawater intrusion in the aquifer and to

follow up its evolution;

- To identify invaded zones by this intrusion, as well as their degree of contamination;

and

- To quantify the seawater intrusion volume, as well as the other components of the

hydraulic mass balance.

Figure 30 illustrates the sea water intrusion evolution versus abstractions and

recharge of the aquifer. This shows that seawater intrusion started since 1992

following the increased development of ONEP’s withdrawals for the drinking water

supply of Larache.

182

Table 5. Calculated mass balance in 1960 under the steady state conditions

withdrawals in the R’mel aquifer.

183

Table 6 illustrates the results of different water balance terms between 1972 and

2003, as obtained from the transient simulations. This table shows a reserve increase

between 1972-1980: 2.93 Mm3/year between 1972-1975 and of 1.615 Mm3/year

between 1975-1980. As a consequence, seawater intrusion advances inland and

continues to progress until 1995.A pronounced destocking of the aquifer is developed

between 1980-1985 of 4.22 Mm3/year, which continued until 1990 but with an

average of 0.2 M m3/year.

Table 6. Calculated mass balance for the transient simulations.

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Figure 31 shows the areas intruded by sea water which is located immediately

close to the ONEP pumping well field for which abstractions increased since1992.It

shows also that the salinity exceeds 2 g/l in layer 2 where the well filters are located.

Extension of the invaded zone by seawater intrusion becomes 2 times between 1996

and 2000.

Simulating provisional scenarios for water resources management of the aquifer

3 scenario schemes have been applied based on the water authority planning in

order to assess quantitative and qualitative impact on the aquifer:

Scenario 1 consists on maintaining the present aquifer exploitation, which

means that the exploitation volume stands as 13.24 M m3/year until 2020.

Scenario 2 consists on satisfying the regional water demand until 2020. This

demand should come from the ONEP’s withdrawals from the existing wells field

supplying Larache and its agglomerations projected for 2020;

Scenario 3 is expected to satisfy the maximum demands projected for the

drinking water and supply for Larache and Ksar El Kebir cities until 2020.

Table 7 gives predicted volumes of seawater intrusion for the 3 scenarios. It also

shows that sea water intrusion volume would decrease in scenario 1 since 2003 to

reach a steady state beyond the year 2020, while it continues to increase for scenario 2

and 3.

Table 7. Predicted volumes of seawater intrusion for the 3 scenarios

The predicted results for scenario 1 are illustrated in Figure 32.This shows that

the contaminated zone by seawater intrusion continues to extend more (Figure 32a

and b). The water salinity is much higher on the level of layer 2 than layer 4 and this

is due to the overexploitation in layer 2 (location of the filters). Also the ONEP’s well

field will be reached by seawater intrusion and the concentration would be of 1g/l

(Figure 32c).

185

Figure 32. Predicted salinity distribution for Scenario1

186

Figure 33. Predicted salinity distribution for Scenario 2

Figure 33 shows considerable increase of salinity in layer 2 (values generally

range between 15 and 25 g/l) for scenario 2.The ONEP’s well field would be already

reached by the seawater intrusion front in 2010 and the concentration would be of 1.5

g/l;

Figure 34 shows that the plume distribution is almost identical for scenario 2 and

3, but the RADEEL’s well field, located at the south of the ONEP wells, would not be

187

contaminated by sea water intrusion, although with the pumping increase, because it

is far from the coast.

In conclusion, for scenario 1, the ONEP well field would be already

contaminated by seawater around 2020; and the groundwater quality varies badly in

the West Northern coastal part of the aquifer. In all, the impact of scenarios 2 and 3

on the groundwater quality would accelerate seawater intrusion advance, which would

reach the ONEP well field in 2010; and would more accentuate the deterioration of

groundwater quality to higher concentrations.

6.4 The Gaza Coastal aquifer (Palestine) (SEAWAT)

The Gaza coastal aquifer is a dynamic groundwater system, with continuously

changing inflows and outflows. The equilibrium condition that once may have existed

between fresh and saline water has been disturbed by large scale pumping (Figure35).

The aquifer has been overexploited for the past 40 years; this has induced seawater

flow towards the major pumping centers in the Gaza Strip to the north of the Gaza

City and near Khan-Younis City. A typical hydrogeological section of the Gaza strip

aquifer is given by Figure 36.

The coupled flow and transport finite difference code (SEAWAT) was applied to

examine how far inland seawater transition zone has moved since intrusion began.

188

Across section finite difference grid along the first 5 km of Khan-Younis is illustrated

in Figure 37. The SEAWAT model result was compared to the previous SUTRA

model result which are in a good agreement (Figure 38).

Figure 37. Finite difference grid along the first 5 km of Khan-Younis cross section

Figure 38. Calculated salinity by SEAWAT and SUTRA codes versus observed

values

The model gave good results for evolution of salinity in the aquifer. The

preliminary model results suggested that the seawater intrusion began in the 1960s

which is in agreement with the available information about general pumping and well

information. Most of the seawater intrusion is happened to the north of Gaza city and

also near Khan-Younis city in the south as it is demonstrated in Figure39, which

illustrates the isolines of calculated TDS concentration (kg/m3) by SEAWAT in year

1996 along Deir El Balah geoelectrical cross section; the isolines of calculated TDS

concentration (kg/m3) by SEAWAT in year 2003 along Jabalya cross section; and

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isolines of calculated TDS concentration (kg/m3) by SEAWAT in year 2003 along

Khan Younis cross section.

Figure 39. Isolines of calculated TDS concentration (kg/m3) for Deir El Balah,

Jabalya and Khan Younis cross sections

190

The numerical model is applied to test the overall regional impact on the aquifer

with two future scenarios of pumping. The first scenario is pumping from the aquifer

continuously until year 2020 to reach 200 Mm3/yr; and the second scenario is to

decrease the pumping from the aquifer year 2020 to reach 110 Mm3/yr from the

existing pumping wells. It is predicted that between years 2003 and 2020, the first

scenario will induce a considerable quantity of seawater intrusion especially in the

northern part (Figure 40). Model results indicate that the extent of the isoline (TDS

concentration = 2.0 kg/m3) at the base of sub-aquifer A will move about an additional

1.5 km in the northern part. On the other hand, the results of comparison indicate that

the second scenario will prevent any further seawater intrusion after year 2003. In

year 2020 the total inflow from the sea is estimated to be 72 Mm3/yr and 32 Mm3/yr

for the first scenario and second scenario respectively, where the discharge to the sea

for the same year is estimated to be about 3 Mm3/yr and 18 Mm3/yr for the first and

second scenarios.

Figure 40. Simulated extent of TDS concentration (less than 2.0 kg/m3) in sub-

aquifers A in 2003 and 2020

191

Figure 41. Predicted contour lines of groundwater levels for second scenario in 2020

Given the uncertainties in the available data, additional refinement of the model

grid at this stage does not provide more accuracy. However, in general the model

reasonably simulates the position of saltwater transition zone, particularly near the

coast. The current model is a reasonable representation of the aquifer in an overall

regional context. In future as new data become available, the model should be updated

periodically to refine estimates of input parameters, and simulate new management

options

6.5 Numerical modeling of seawater intrusion in the Sahel aquifer of the Atlantic

coast of Morocco (CODESA-3D code)

The Sahel region, of about 100 km in length, is an important agricultural plain

where groundwater is heavily used as an irrigation supply. In 1994 a study to evaluate

the impact of pumping on the salinization of the aquifers and to define a proper

exploitation scheme, was completed by the regional hydraulic department in

collaboration with FAO. A hydrogeochemical database was built up using data

collected from a network of 30 wells. These data were used to implement a 2D

groundwater flow model using the USGS MODFLOW software (McDonald and

Harbaugh, 1988). To overcome some of the limitations of this earlier study, among

which the assumption of a static salt- freshwater interface coinciding with the aquifer

bottom which over-estimated the freshwater outflow to the sea, simulations using

CODESA-3D model was undertaken. The model implementation allows a more

realistic representation of the hydrodynamics of the aquifer system, considering also

the presence of a mixing zone between the freshwater and the seawater.

This study describes simulations being conducted on a series of cross-sections

perpendicular to the coast and corresponding to the geophysical profiles performed in

192

a previous study, have been analyzed. Along these profiles measures of the depth of

the salt/freshwater interface were available. The first simulation, covering the period

1950-1992, is calibrated to the water table levels and to the observation data and flow

simulations. Figure 42 shows the comparison results in 1950. The Darcy velocity field

is also shown, which denotes at the ocean side on the left boundary of the domain an

upper outlet of freshwater into the sea and, correspondingly, a lower inlet of seawater

into the aquifer. Figure 43 compares the measured saltwater-freshwater interface with

the computed relative concentration isocontours of a 42-year transient coupled flow

and transport simulations.

The study on these selected cross-sections has pointed out the important role of

an adequate grid density (20 m) and a good estimation of the unsaturated zone and

transport dispersivity parameters for the characterization of the saltwater intrusion in

the Sahel aquifer system.

Figure 42. Comparison between observed water table level (black dashed line) and

computed pressure head ȥ (m) isocontours for profile 4w. The computed Darcy

velocity field (m/s) is also shown (blue arrows).

193

Figure 43. Measured salt freshwater interface (black line, from geophysical

investigations) and computed isosaline c [/] contours.

7. Conclusion

An overview of modelling seawater intrusion in coastal aquifers is presented.

Some analytical solutions and laboratory model, either based on sharp or variable

density approaches, have been also outlined as to serve benchmark problems for

testing developed numerical codes. However, the question of which type of physical

approach is appropriate to deal with seawater intrusion in coastal aquifer, must be

clarified, especially when studying field cases. Sharp interface model or the disperse

interface model? This depends on the scale of interest: if near-coast, the effects and

variations in salt concentration are important, then dispersion features of the interface

are important; if far-coast and the regional monitoring aspects are important, then

more interested to investigate the distance and depth of the interface, and so the sharp

interface approximation is preferred.

Recent numerical codes based on a 3-D finite elements and finite differences,

developed to predict the location, the shape and the extent of the moving interfaces in

coastal aquifers involving unconfined or confined flow have been also presented.

Some field applications have been studied using recent numerical codes in order to

assess groundwater resources and to test the groundwater system response to planning

scenarios to help the managers in making decision for rational groundwater

management. Examples are taken from Morocco and Palestine, where models were

applied on some coastal aquifers to simulate groundwater flow and to study the

impact of irrigation and increasing pumping well rates used for water public supply.

The site description and the simulation results are presented in separate papers

published previously (Aharmouch and Larabi 2004, Hilali and Larabi 2004, Lakfifi et

al., 2004, Qahman and Larabi 2006).

194

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Chapter 2

Coastal Aquifer Management: Management Model For Seawater

Intrusion In The Chaouia Coastal Aquifer (Morocco)

*LIMEN, Ecole Mohammadia d’Ingénieurs, B.P. 765, Rabat, e-mail:

larabi@emi.ac.ma

**Direction de la Recherche et de la Planification des Eaux, Rabat

Abstract:

Management of coastal aquifers involves seawater intrusion problem, which is a

special issue in groundwater resources management, and needs a special treatment to

study the seawater-freshwater interface. A full detailed field case has been studied,

and a particular attention has been done to seawater intrusion problem and how to

control it, using mathematical modelling. The Chaouia coastal aquifer is located south

of the Casablanca city (Morocco), and considered among the main sub-Atlantic

coastal aquifers in Morocco with an area of 1200 km2. The only water resource

available in the Chaouia plain comes from the shallow groundwater. This favourable

situation has increased irrigation by pumping, and contributed to the agriculture

development in this plain. But, this development of pumping has induced

environmental problems, such as: over-exploitation of the aquifer with a groundwater

table decrease of 0.6 m/yr; progressive dry out of some aquifer levels; salt water

intrusion; degradation of the groundwater quality; and significant increase of the

abandoned pumping wells. For this, a mathematical model in transient conditions,

based on the SEAWAT code, has been developed to study groundwater flow and salt

water intrusion in this aquifer. Different management scenarios have been simulated

to provide the managers with a prediction tool that could help in decision making for

quantitative and qualitative groundwater management in this groundwater system.

The simulation results with respect to development of water resources in this coastal

aquifer showed that surface water is required to protect the irrigated area and to

restore the abandoned exploitation on one hand, and to improve water quality in the

area which is already contaminated by seawater intrusion, on the other hand.

Keywords: Coastal aquifer, groundwater, modeling, seawater intrusion, over-

pumping. Morocco.

1. INTRODUCTION

Morocco is extended on a coast of more than 3500 km, on the Atlantic Ocean

and the Mediterranean Sea. As for the remainder of the world, the majority of urban

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and farming agglomeration activities (e.g. fishing, industry, harbors, agriculture and

tourism) are located on the coasts and the inshore plains. These intensive

socioeconomic developments have leaded to extensive use of freshwater resources in

the coastal zones, and especially the groundwater resources. Groundwater has some

advantages if it is compared to the surface water, because of its spatial distribution,

regularity, easiness of exploitation and low cost of mobilization.

The coastal aquifers in Morocco are considered very important source for water

supply and very essential for socioeconomic development. High rates of urbanization

and increased agricultural and economical activities have required more water to be

pumped from the aquifers. This pumping has continually increased the risk of

seawater intrusion and deterioration of freshwater quality of the coastal aquifers. The

contamination of groundwater by seawater intrusion threatens the agricultural

development. In recent years, the effect of seawater intrusion is more remarkable on

many coastal areas in Morocco, especially, in some aquifers located on the Atlantic

coast.

Currently, the agricultural activity is in a critical situation, because of the

progressive water resources shortness and due to the deterioration of groundwater

quality, due to the overexploitation of the aquifer and to successive drought seasons.

Groundwater quality in the Chaouia aquifer is generally poor. Over-exploitation

has resulted in saltwater intrusion and upconing. In some parts of the study area, a

slow, continuing decline in groundwater levels has been observed. Saltwater intrusion

presently poses important threat to water supply, and especially with future water

demand as it is expected to increase. Hence, it is necessary to develop efficient and

fast tools for predicting the response of coastal aquifers to different pumping schemes

while taking into account as constraint the risk of saltwater intrusion. In practice, the

spatial relationship between freshwater and saline groundwater in coastal and inland

aquifers is complex, and management of the freshwater resources can be difficult. The

aquifer system is rarely near equilibrium, and the fresh and saline water bodies are

normally separated by a transition zone, the result of chemical diffusion and

mechanical mixing. Under these conditions, the response of the saline water body to

pumping is difficult to predict and depends on various factors, including aquifer

geometry and properties; abstraction rates and depths; recharge rate; and distance of

pumping wells from the coastline. Efficient tools such as numerical groundwater

models are required to quantify the aquifer response to these excitations. This is the

case of the Chaouia coastal aquifer, where a mathematical model that considers

seawater intrusion has been implemented to help the managers in sustainable water

resources planning and management. Hence, the objectives of this study are:

1- To analyze the phenomenon of seawater intrusion and the definition of conditions

that govern the behavior of freshwater/saltwater transition zone in the coastal aquifer

under different physical approaches.

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2- To test management scenarios based on various economic projects; and select the

best scenario for the regional water resources authorities in order to implement the

corresponding economic projects which improve water resources development.

For this, a specific hydrogeological study of seawater intrusion must be done,

focusing on the hydrodynamics and hydrochemical behavior of the seawater intrusion

in the aquifer and to assess its impacts on freshwater resources using the variable-

density SEAWAT code. The model output will show the seawater intrusion

occurrence and predict its future behavior along the Chaouia coastal aquifer.

2. DESCRIPTION OF THE CHAOUIA AQUIFER

The Chaouia is a part of the Moroccan coastal plain located to the south-west of

Morocco. Its area is about 1200 km2 and its length is approximately 25 km along the

Atlantic coast and located between the cities of Casablanca to the North and

Azemmour near the city of El Jadida to the South-West (Figure 1).

The average mean temperature ranges from 25 °C in summer and 10 °C in winter.

The climate is semi-arid, but influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. The summer is hot;

especially on July and August; and this leads to make more pressures on groundwater

abstractions for irrigation from the aquifer system. The coldest months on the year are

December and January. The average annual rainfall varies from 500 mm/yr in the

north at Casablanca to 300 mm/yr in the south near Azemmour. Most of the rainfall

occurs in the period from October to April, the rest of the year being completely dry.

201

The annual mean of the evapotranspiration in the study area is estimated to 840

mm/yr.

The hydrogeology of the Chaouia coastal aquifer consists of Paleozoic shale

which forms the aquifer bottom, but the aquifer system is filled with the following

formations:

x altered shale in the part between Tnine Chtouka and Casablanca;

x limestone and Cenomanian marine limestone with 60 m of average thickness,

in the south-western zone;

x sandy dunes of 10 m thickness at the coastal strip,

x chalky hills that constitute mainly the quaternary deposits and cover the wadi

area;

x conglomerates, alluvia and silts of small thickness, which crop out just on the

wadi Oum Er Rbia banks.

The altered Paleozoic shale constitutes the main aquifer, with 90% of the total

area. Toward the south-west of the area, the Paleozic bottom rises up and allows a

water divide to occur, separating circulations of water in the chalky horizons of the

Cenomanian to the west of the one of the quaternary deposits and altered shale to the

East. The Quaternary deposits generally have a maximum saturated thickness of 10 m

except, in the inshore zone where it can reach about 20 m.

Schematization of a hydrogeological cross section of the Chaouia aquifer system

is shown in Figure 2.

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The groundwater system characteristics

The regional groundwater flow is mainly SE-NW discharging towards the

Atlantic Ocean, except in the south-western where a part of the outflow discharges

toward the Oum Er Rbia river. To the southwest the hydraulic gradients range

between 0.1 and 1‰. Between Tnine Chtouka and Casablanca they vary from 2 to

3‰, with lower values toward the uphill limit of the zone, of the order of 0.5‰. This

difference in the hydraulic gradient is due to the variation of the permeability. The

depth of water table varies between 10 m along the coastline and can exceed 40m

along the south-west part in the Cenomanian marine-chalk. The comparison of the

piezometric situations of 1971 and 1995 shows that the decrease of the groundwater

level reached 10 m in the coastal strip and 15 m in the rest of the aquifer.

The groundwater productivity of the aquifer varies from 0.5 to 2 L/s in the

coastal zone; 1 to 2 L/s in the zone between Tnine Chtouka and Casablanca and 2 to 4

L/s in the part between Tnine Chtouka and Azemmour.

From a hydrological point of view, the Chaouia plain is not crossed by any

permanent river. Wadi Oum Er Rbias and Wadi Bousskouras, which are located

respectively on the western and eastern limits of the study area, don't contribute to the

replenishment of the aquifer. Hence, the major source of renewable groundwater in

the aquifer is rainfall. The total rainfall recharge to the aquifer is estimated to be

approximately 53 Mm3/yr, while the lateral inflows to the aquifer is estimated to 6.6

Mm3/yr. The groundwater abstraction from the pumping wells was estimated to 34

Mm3/yr, this is based on a field investigation in 1995. This investigation has also

shown that 54% of the total pumping wells used for irrigation have been abandoned,

mainly due to the high salinity in the pumped groundwater, which exceeds 3 g/L. The

outflow towards the Atlantic Ocean is estimated to approximately 41 Mm3/yr in 1949.

The recent results of a hydrogeochemical analysis show that the groundwater

salinity values are very high in some inshore sectors, exceeding 6 g/L. However, in

1971 the salinity reached only 2 g/L in these sectors, with a maximum of 4.5 g/L

locally. This salinity increase in those places is due to the seawater intrusion resulting

from overpumping and conjugated to reduced recharge of the aquifer.

3. MODELING SEAWATER INTRUSION IN THE CHAOUIA AQUIFER

3.1 Simulation code SEAWAT

The original SEAWAT code was written by Guo and Bennett (1998) to simulate

ground water flow and salt water intrusion in coastal environments. SEAWAT uses a

modified version of MODFLOW (McDonald and Harbaugh, 1988) to solve the

variable density, ground water flow equation and MT3D (Zheng, 1998) to solve the

solute-transport equation. The SEAWAT code uses a one-step lag between solutions

of flow and transport. This means that MT3D runs for a time step, and then

MODFLOW runs for the same time step using the last concentrations from MT3D to

calculate the density terms in the flow equation. For the next time step, velocities

from the current MODFLOW solution are used by MT3D to solve the transport

203

equation. For most simulations, the one-step lag does not introduce significant error,

and it can be reduced or evaluated by decreasing the length of the time step.

3.2 Model Set-up

Mesh discretization and boundary conditions

The developed model simulates transient variable density groundwater flow

coupled to solute transport for a period from 1960 to 2002. This model is based on the

hydrogeological description presented in the previous sections. Regular spaced finite-

difference cells of 1 km × 1 km on the horizontal plane are constructed (Figure 3).

Hence, the grid consists of 24 rows, 71 columns and 8 regular spaced layers on the

vertical direction.

In a first step, the model developed is expected to simulate the global aquifer

behavior. However, for studying local variations of the seawater intrusion, a refined

grid is necessary, as will be developed in the further sections.

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Dar Bouazza

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#

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Boundary type

#

S.Saîd Constant head

M'achou

General head boundary

No flow boundary

280000 280000

Figure 3. Finite-difference grid and boundary conditions for the Chaouia regional

model.

Boundary conditions and aquifer parameters

The hydraulic aquifer parameters assigned to the model are based on those

produced from the pumping tests performed in the aquifer system. The hydraulic

conductivity distribution, for tests carried out in the area, shows that values vary from

7×10-4 m/s to 2×10-6 m/s on the western area, with a mean value in general of 2×10-4

204

m/s. At the Eastern part the average value of the hydraulic conductivity is around

6×10-4 m/s.

Only six values of the storage parameter are available for the Chaouia coastal

aquifer. Measurements that carried-out, were concentrated only along the aquifer

coastal part, and the measured values range from 0.13% to 7%. In the rest of the

aquifer, parameters were obtained from Moroccan hydrogeological literature for

similar type of soils (DRPE, 1995).

Constant head and concentrations are specified to the cells along the Atlantic

coast, respectively 0.0 m and 35 kg/m3. The head for each cell is converted to

freshwater head using the specified salt concentration of 35 kg/m3 at the center

elevation of the cell. Constant head along the Oum Er Rabia river presents at layer 3,

expressed by a slope of 0.1% from the sea. The concentration is assumed to be 0.0.

The lateral flow of groundwater upstream is represented by a general head boundary

based on the groundwater level record. The aquifer bottom is a no flux boundary,

while on the top of the aquifer a recharge influx is assigned. The northern and

southern west boundaries are assumed to be no flow boundaries, due to the existence

of impervious layers of schist.

3.3 Calibration and model results

First the numerical model is established and tested against steady state

groundwater flow on 1949. During calculation, measured and calculated groundwater

heads are compared, and the difference referred to as the residual. Figure 4 shows the

calibrated, simulated groundwater heads in the Chaouia aquifer for year 1949

conditions. The results show good agreement between calculated and measured heads,

and the established freshwater-saltwater interface was far away from inland. Table 1

shows also the resulting water balance with different components, including the

discharge to the sea, which is estimated to 43.85 Mm3/yr.

It is clear from Table 1 that the main component of the input corresponds to the

recharge from precipitation and that the ocean boundary constitutes the main outlet of

the aquifer.

Transient simulations are conducted starting from the initial heads and

concentration with reference to 1960 steady state conditions assuming that there was

no change in groundwater abstraction between 1949 and 1960. The initial

concentrations in the aquifer were assumed to be 0 kg/m3. Transient calculation was

performed for the 1960-2001 target period (41 years).

The major pumping started from 1960 and was changed with lateral flows for the

specified stress periods, based on the field investigations and the recorded data. The

results of the transient calculations are prescribed in Figure 5 which shows

satisfactory agreement between measured and calculated heads in different target

observation wells for the considered simulation period. These transient simulations

have led to answer some questions raised by the decision makers and local managers

such as:

205

- To determine the date of the beginning of the seawater intrusion in the aquifer and to

follow up its evolution;

- To identify invaded zones by this intrusion, as well as their degree of contamination;

and

- To quantify the seawater intrusion volume, as well as the other components of the

hydraulic mass balance.

Table 1. Calculated mass balance in 1960 under the steady state conditions.

Total 58.91

Outflow

Evaporation 13.34

Agricultural and domestic abstraction 0.53

Total 58.91

Error % 7 E-6

206

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#

LEGEND

S.Saîd

M'achou Measured head

Calculated Head

280000 280000

Figure 4. Calibrated and observed water level for the year 1949.

207

Table 2 illustrates the results of different water balance terms between 1965 and

2001, as obtained from the transient simulations. This table shows that the intensive

groundwater pumping, especially between 1965 and 1985, resulted in less storage in

the aquifer which reached 24 Mm3 in 1985. As a consequence, seawater intrusion

advances inland and continues to progress until 1995. The concentration values

calculated by the model give the following invaded zones by seawater intrusion and

the extent:

- The first zones invaded by the seawater intrusion in the beginning of the 1980’s are

located north of Azemmour south west. Afterward, this invaded zone extended along

the inshore line, on about 20 km of length and 2 km of width as shown by Figures 6

and 7.

- The aquifer is strongly contaminated on the S-W coastal zone, in which the toe

interface does not exceed the strip of 1km of large. Beyond this zone the

contamination of the aquifer is limited;

- Generally, the calculated concentration values exceed 10 g/L in the aquifer bottom

as demonstrated by several profiles of Figure 8.

The relative vulnerability of the south-west part of the aquifer to the seawater

intrusion in comparison with the rest of the coast is explained by the following:

x the relatively high hydraulic conductivity of the fissured limestone located in

this sector of the coastal aquifers;

x the structure of the aquifer bottom that is deeper in this zone and reaches its

maximum depth (between -60 m to -90 m) in this sector; and

x the high concentrations of the pumping wells in this sector.

220000 240000 260000 280000 300000

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340000 340000

O. Bou Skoura

N

EA

OC

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O.Merzeg

Médiouna

320000

ANT # #

320000

L

AT Bouskoura

O.H

#

o ua

#

ra

#

# Derroura

#

Nouacer

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Ou

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Er

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Rb

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#

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M'achou <2

2-6

280000 280000

>30

208

Table 2. Calculated mass balance for the transient simulations.

209

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20 - 30

280000 280000

>30

In order to study the seawater intrusion effect on the south-western part, a model

of transverse section with a refined mesh has been developed. The objective of this

local model is to simulate the extent of the saltwater intrusion with a finer spatial

210

resolution in two dimensions. The model results will be of great importance for the

management policy at the local level.

The mesh cells dimension is reduced to 100 m along the x-axis for the same

simulation period adopted for the global model.

Figure 9 illustrates the results of this transverse model in transient conditions.

These show that seawater intrusion started in 1980-85 by contaminating the aquifer on

100 m from the coast line; and the estimated extent of the seawater intrusion wedge

reaches 1300 m in 2001.

4. PREDICTED RESULTS FOR RATIONAL WATER MANAGEMENT

The calibrated model can be exploited as a management tool for simulating the

response of the aquifer, including the quantitative and qualitative aspects (variation of

concentration in the Chaouia aquifer) based on proposed planning schemes by the

local managers.

As mentioned in the previous sections, measured withdrawal of groundwater for

irrigation supply, especially at the south-west sector, is the main cause of seawater

intrusion into the aquifer, conjunctive decrease in groundwater withdrawal with

artificial recharge is an important alternative to be considered in the future to prevent

any further intrusion of saltwater inland. For this purpose, planning scenarios schemes

were designed to use the calibrated model for simulating the future changes in

drawdown and salinity concentrations in a period of 40 years:

- The first scenario consists on the design of an irrigation project from surface water

pumped from the Oum Er Rbia river. Pumping from the aquifer has to be stopped on

the inshore strip to the East of Azemmour along an area of 3 km of width and of about

20 km of length. A brutal reduction of withdrawals occurs when the irrigation project

starts in 2005; this leads to a quasi-stabilization withdrawal of about 22 Mm3/y until

the end of the simulation period.

211

- The second scenario (the worst) assumes that the irrigation project would not be

achieved and the pumping from the aquifer of about 30.5 Mm3/y continues to occur.

The evolution of the groundwater quality of the aquifer is analyzed in order to define

the affected area by seawater intrusion.

- The third scenario assumes maintaining the present exploitation and improves the

overexploitation by artificial recharge of the aquifer through a series of injection wells

upstream of the highly contaminated zone (300 l/s).

In all cases, conditions of average annual rainfall infiltration rate (normal

conditions denoted as case 1, 3, and 5) and minimal annual rainfall infiltration rate

about 70% of the normal infiltration rate (drought conditions, denoted as case 2, 3 and

6), are considered.

Results of scenario simulations

The corresponding scenario simulations are performed for a period of 40 years

(2001-2040). For scenario 1 (case 1) (Table 3), although the seawater intrusion

volume decreases and the equilibrium is established after the year 2010 in response to

the irrigation project from surface water, the groundwater quality in the south-western

sector would remain of high salinity concentrations. The improvement of the water

quality is a slow process, and would only be felt after the year 2020, when the width

of the invaded zone by seawater intrusion would be reduced 1 km and the salinity

would decrease significantly, as it is shown in Figure 10 (1) and 11.

Table 3. Calculated volumes of seawater intrusion for scenario 1 (in Mm3/yr)

Year 2005 2010 2015 2020 2030 2040

case 1 1.45 0.2 0 0 0 0

case 2 2 0.42 0.27 0.26 0.31 0.5

The results given also in Table 3 for scenario 1 (case 2) shows that the seawater

intrusion volume decreased progressively until the year 2020; afterwards it continues

to increase. The expected groundwater quality is not improving as shown by Figure

10(2) 12. The north-eastern sector of the coastal part would be also concerned by this

intrusion. The improvement of the groundwater quality would remain very slow by

2020, due to the reduced discharge toward the sea, which is 30% less (drought

conditions) compared to the discharge in case 1 (normal conditions).

The results of the first worst scenario 2 (case 3) (Table 4), show that the

groundwater quality in the coastal zone is alarming, because the salinity concentration

increases much as shown by Figure 10(3) and 13. Indeed scenario 2 (case 3), with the

average annual rainfall infiltration rate, leads to reach after the year 2005 a new

equilibrium with a practically a steady state volume of seawater intrusion (1.4

Mm3/yr). However, the salinity in groundwater would continue to increase and would

exceed 15g/L by 2020 in the deep aquifer levels.

212

Table 4. Calculated volumes of seawater intrusion for scenario 2 (in Mm3/yr)

Year 2005 2010 2015 2020 2030 2040

Case 3 1.45 1.42 1.40 1.41 1.43 1.47

Case 4 2 2.3 2.6 3 3.4 4

For the second worst scenario 2 (case 4) (Table 4), the salinity and the seawater

intrusion volume would increase continuously and no stabilization would be

established. The seawater intrusion volume would reach 3 Mm3/yr by 2020; the

salinity would exceed 20 g/L in the deepest aquifer levels. In addition, the invaded

zone by the seawater intrusion would spread over 3 km and the northern sector of the

coastal part would be also affected significantly by this intrusion (Figure 10(4) and

14).

For scenario 3 (case 5) the seawater intrusion volume decreases and the

equilibrium is restablished after the year 2005 in response to the artificial recharge

project from surface water (Table 5), the groundwater quality in the south-western

sector improves significantly only after 2010, due to the slow process, Figure 10 (5)

and 15 illustrate this situation.

Table 5. Calculated volumes of seawater intrusion for scenario 3(in Mm3/yr)

Année 2005 2010 2020 2030 2040

Case 5 1.45 0 0 0 0

Case 6 2 0.06 0.26 0.31 0.5

The results given also in Table 5 for scenario 3 (case 6) shows that the seawater

intrusion volume increases progressively after 2005; the expected groundwater quality

is improving slowly as shown by Figure 10(6) and 16. The north-eastern sector of the

coastal part would be concerned by this intrusion.

In conclusion, we can say that the improvement of the groundwater quality in

the aquifer is conditioned by the withdrawal decrease, and by increasing the discharge

toward the ocean which mainly depend on the aquifer recharge/discharge conditions.

Hence, the predicted results from planning scenarios show that a sustainable

management of the aquifer, especially in its coastal part, requires the use of surface

water which will contribute first to the economic development of the irrigated area by

restoring the abandoned exploitation; and secondly to improve significantly the

groundwater quality in the invaded sectors of the aquifer by seawater intrusion.

213

Figure 10. Salinity variation in profiles for the model layers (Scenario 1, 2, and 3)

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Haouzia Chtouka Rhnimiyne

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10 - 20

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216

Figure 16. Results of salinity distribution for scenario 3(6) in 2020

5. CONCLUDING REMARKS

This study constitutes a methodological approach to generalize modeling of

seawater intrusion to coastal aquifers in Morocco. In fact, this phenomenon remained

until now far from being well known for these aquifers. The present case study of the

Chaouia coastal aquifer is an example of a pilot study to develop also for several

coastal aquifers threatened by this phenomenon, as Morocco is extended over more

than 3500 km of coasts.

All data used in this application have been analyzed, structured and organized in

a database built-in via the GIS “Arc View " code and integrated into the conceptual

model.

The coupled flow and transport code (SEAWAT) was applied to analyze

seawater intrusion in the Chaouai coastal aquifer in both qualitative and quantitative

issues. The model results showed that seawater intrusion started by 1980-1985 in the

south-western sector of the coastal part and developed within the time, due to

intensive pumping from the wells and drought conditions.

The numerical model is also applied to test the response of the aquifer of three

planning scenarios for a period of 40 years. The first one is the design of an irrigation

project from surface water and stopping groundwater withdrawal in the south-west

sector; the second scenario is a continuous pumping from the aquifer, and the third

one is the design of a series of artificial recharge wells along the south western coast.

It is predicted that the first scenario will reduce considerably the quantity of seawater

217

intrusion and improve the groundwater quality, although in a slow manner in the

south-western sector. However, the results from the second scenario will induce a

considerable quantity of seawater intrusion, and its extent progressed more into the

inland aquifer and will reach the north sector of the coastal part. The third scenario

will also reduce considerably the seawater intrusion volume and improve the water

quality in a similar way as scenario 1.

Given missing data with respect to the aquifer, more recommendations are

necessary to improve the results of this model:

- Measurements of salinity on the vertical profiles are necessary in the invaded zone

by the seawater intrusion, the measurement values will contribute to improve the

calibrated model.

- Some tracing element tests in the coastal part have to be carried out in order to

estimate the dispersivity parameters of the aquifer;

- Refinements of the model cells have to be performed, especially near the shore

where the area is more threatened by the seawater intrusion.

Acknowledgments :

The authors are very thankful to the hydraulic department (Direction Générale de

l’Hydraulique in Morocco) for the fruitful and successful collaborations between the

University and the Administration in conducting this study.

References:

Bentayeb, A, (1972). Etude hydrogéologique de la Chaouia côtière avec essai de

simulation mathématique en régime permanent. Thèse Univ. Scien. Tech. du

Languedoc, Montpellier.

Direction de la Recherche et de la Planification des Eaux (DRPE) (1995). Etude

hydrogéologique et modélisation mathématique de la nappe de la Chaouia côtière,

Direction Générale de l’Hydraulique, Rabat (Internal report).

DRPE, (1994). Reconnaissance par prospection électrique dans la Chaouia côtière

(project carried out by LPEE) Rabat (Internal report).

Guo, W., Bennett. G.D. (1998). Simulation of saline/fresh water flows using

MODFLOW In: Proc MODFLOW ‘98 Conference. International Ground Water

Modeling Center, Golden, Colorado, 1: 267–274.

Langevin, C.D. and Guo W. (2002). User’s Guide to SEAWAT, A computer program

for simulation of three-dimensional variable density groundwater flow. U.S

Geological Survey, Open-File Report 01-434, Tallahassee, Florida.

218

McDonald M.G., and Harbaugh. A.W. (1988) A modular three dimensional finite-

difference ground-water flow model. U.S. Geological Survey Techniques of

Water Resources Investigations, Book 6.

Zheng, C., Wang. P.P (1998) MT3DMS, A modular three dimensional multi-species

transport model for simulation of advection, dispersion and chemical reactions of

contaminants in groundwater systems: Vicksburg, Mississippi, Waterways

Experiment Station, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

219

Performing Unbiased Groundwater Modeling: Application of The

Theory of Regionalized Variables

National Geophysical Research Institute

Hyderabad-500007, India

Abstract:

Importance of groundwater is extremely obvious in arid and semi-arid regions.

However, groundwater, an important constituent of hydrological cycle and major source

of water supply in various sectors, is getting depleted due to over-exploitation, because of

high population growth as well as extensive agricultural uses and urgently requires a

reliable management option. It is essential to have a thorough understanding of complex

processes viz., physical, chemical and/or biological occurring in the system for

groundwater assessment and management. To understand these complexities groundwater

model plays an important role. Groundwater models are simplified, conceptual

representations of a part of the hydrologic cycle. They are primarily used for hydrologic

prediction (hydraulic head, flow rates and solute concentration) and for understanding

hydrologic processes (contaminant migration, solute transport etc.). However, in most

regional studies the modeler has only a few measurements of head, the results of some

pumping tests, and a vague idea of the boundary conditions, leakage, or rate of recharge.

Because of this models are calibrated with fewer available data, which would

significantly lead to erroneous results. Geostatistics, based on theory of regionalized

variables has now-a-days found application in almost all the domains of hydrogeology

from parameter estimation to predictive modeling for groundwater management. It could

be applied at each step of hydrogeological modeling studies viz., from data collection

network designing, parameter estimation for fabrication and calibration of aquifer

modeling. Kriging, best linear unbiased estimator of the regionalized variables, is a

potential tool in increasing the accuracy of model calibration as it provides the best

estimates of the system parameters with a measure of confidence (estimation error) that

can be used in performing simulations with an ease for the modeler to investigate the

model uncertainties. Thus with the help of kriging, equally probable possibilities can be

generated that conforms the available data. The proposed methodology allows the users

to attain a better picture of the aquifer system and would assess the accuracy and

reliability of model predictions.

221

INTRODUCTION

Models are nowadays widely used in hydrogeologic studies mainly for

understanding and the interpretation of the issues having complex interaction of many

variables in the system. These are used to calculate the rate and direction of movement of

groundwater through aquifers and confining units in the subsurface and for the

predictions about the hydraulic heads, flow rates and solute concentrations. These

calculations are referred to as simulations. The simulation of groundwater flow requires a

thorough understanding of the hydrogeologic characteristics of the site. The

hydrogeologic investigation should include a complete characterization of the subsurface

extent and thickness of aquifers and confining units (hydrogeologic framework),

hydrologic boundaries (also referred to as boundary conditions), which control the rate

and direction of movement of groundwater, hydraulic properties of the aquifers and

confining units, and the description of the horizontal and vertical distribution of hydraulic

head throughout the modeled area for both beginning (initial conditions), equilibrium

(steady-state conditions) and transitional conditions when hydraulic head may vary with

time (transient conditions), and distribution and magnitude of groundwater recharge.

These models are computer based numerical solutions to the boundary value problems

and thus can be summarized in few steps as ‘Specified hydrogeological parameters or

inputs, given initial and boundary conditions and lastly the solution of the differential

equations’. However, when the predictions have to be made for a particular area the

available data is certainly not sufficient or the modeler has only a few measurements of

head, the results of some pumping tests, and a vague idea of the boundary conditions,

leakage, or rates of recharge. Because of this models are calibrated with fewer available

data, which would significantly lead to erroneous results.

There is no doubt that the mathematical and computational aspect of groundwater

modeling has reached a satisfactory level of development. The focus of research in recent

years has shifted to the problems of parameter identification and uncertainty

quantification. Hydrogeological parameters display a large spatial heterogeneity, with

possible variations of several orders of magnitude within a short distance. This spatial

variability is difficult to characterize in a deterministic way. However, a statistical

analysis shows that hydrogeological parameters do not vary in space in a purely random

fashion. There is some structure to this spatial variability that can be characterized only in

a statistical way.

During the last few decades numerous mathematical approaches have been used to

estimate hydrogeological parameters from scattered or scant data. The study of

regionalized variables starts from the ability to interpolate a given field starting from a

limited number of observations, but preserving the theoretical spatial correlation. This is

accomplished by means of a geostatistical technique called kriging. The advantage of the

geostatistical estimation technique is that the variance of estimation error can be

222

calculated at any point without knowing the actual measurement on that point. Compared

with other interpolation techniques, kriging is advantageous because it considers the

number and spatial configuration of the observation points, the position of the data point

within the region of interest, the distances between the data points with respect to the area

of interest and the spatial continuity of the interpolated variable.

Geostatistics, a statistical technique based on the theory of regionalized variables, is

used to describe spatial relationship among the data sets. It was initially used by mining

industry as high cost of drilling made the analysis of the data extremely important. The

most important problem faced in the mining is the prediction of the ore grade in the

mining block from observed samples that are irregularly spaced. The basic tool in

geostatistics, the variogram, is used to quantify spatial correlations between observations.

The estimation procedure Kriging is named after D. Krige, who and his colleague’s

applied statistical techniques to ore reserves in 1950’s. Due to lot of advantages of

kriging, the application of kriging can be found in very different disciplines ranging from

mining and geology to soil science, hydrology, meteorology, environmental sciences,

agriculture etc. Kriging can be applied wherever a continuous measure is made on a

sample at a particular location in space and/or time (Cressie, 1991; Armstrong, 1998).

Kriging is best to adopt for spatially dependent variables, where it is necessary to use the

limited data in order to infer the real nature as precisely as possible.

The application of kriging to groundwater hydrology was initiated by Delhomme

(1976,1978,1979), followed by a number of authors, viz., Delfiner and Delhomme (1983),

Marsily et al (1984), Marsily (1986), Aboufirassi and Marino (1983, 1984), Gambolti and

Volpi (1979) and so many else. In geostatistics, the geological phenomenon is considered

as a function of space and or time. If z(x) represents any random function with measured

values at “N” locations in space z(xi) i = 1,2,3,…N and if the value of the function z has

to be estimated at the point xo. Each of z1, z2, z3,….zN contributes a part of it to zo and

taking this in to account, therefore, the expected value of zo is zo*, which is equal to

z*(xo) = Ȝ1z1 + Ȝ2z2 +Ȝ3z3+Ȝ4z4+………. ȜNzN

The kriging estimate can be defined as:

N

z*(xo) = ¦ O z(xi)

i 1

i

(1)

Where z*(xo) is the estimation of function z(x) at the point xo and Ȝi are the weighting

factors.

For the purpose of making this predictor to be unbiased the following conditions

need to be satisfied.

223

On an average the difference between the estimated value and the true (unknown)

value that is the expected value of estimation error should be zero. This un-biased

condition is also sometimes called as universality condition.

E [z*(xo)- z(xo) ] = 0 (2)

The condition of optimality means the variance of the estimation error should be

minimum.

ıK2 (xo)= var [(z*(xo)- z(xo)] is minimum. (3)

Using Equation 1 and 2, we get

N

¦O

i 1

i

=1 (4)

N N N

ıK2(xo)= ¦ O i ¦ O j E[z (xi) z (xj)@ + E [z*(xo)2 @ – 2 ¦ O i E [z (xi) z*(xo)] (5)

i 1 j 1 i 1

The best unbiased linear estimator is the one which minimizes ıK2(xo) under the

constraint of Equation 4. Introducing the Langrange multipliers and adding the term -2 P

N

( ¦ O i -1), we obtain

i 1

N

Q = ıK2(xo) - 2 P ( ¦ O i -1)

i 1

N N

= ¦O ¦O

i 1

i

j 1

j

C (xi , xj) + C (O) –

N N

2 ¦ O i C (xi , xo) - 2P ¦O i

+ 2P (6)

i 1 i 1

to minimize the above equation, making partial differentiation of Q w.r.t. Ȝi and μ and

equal to zero, we obtain the following kriging equations:

N

¦O

j 1

j

C (xi , xj) - P = C (xi , xo) (7)

i = 1,2,3,…..N

N

¦O

j 1

j

1 (8)

where C (xi , xj) is the covariance between points xi and xj. Substituting Equation 7 into

Equation 5, we obtain the variance of estimation error.

N

ıK2(xo) = C (O) - ¦O i

C (xi , xo) + P (10)

i 1

224

The square root of this equation gives us standard deviation ıK(xo), which means that

with the 95% confidence, the true value will be within z*(xo) r 2 ıK(xo) range.

In case the covariance cannot be defined, we can derive the following kriging

equations:

N

¦O

j 1

j

J (xi , xj) + P = J (xi , xo) (11)

i =1,2,3,…..N

N

¦O

j 1

j

1 (12)

N

Vk2 = ¦ O i J (xi , xo) + P (13)

i 1

Equation 12 and 13 are a set of (N+1) linear equations with (N+1) unknowns and on

solving them we obtain the value of Ȝi, which are used to calculate the Equation 1 and 10

or 13.

Kriging is the best linear unbaised estimator (BLUE) as this estimator is a linear

function of the data with weights calculated according to the specifications of

unbaisedness and minimum variance. The weights are determined by solving a system of

linear equations with coefficients that depends only on the variogram which describes the

structure of the family of the functions. The weights are not selected on the basis of some

arbitrary rule, but infact depends on how the function varies in space. A major advantage

of kriging is that it provides the way to estimate the magnitude of the estimation error,

which is the rational measure of the reliabilty of the estimate. Since the variance of

estimation error depends on the variogram and the location of measurements, therefore,

before deciding a new location for measurement or deleting an existing measuremnet

point, a variance can be calculated and a better network of data can be designed based on

the minimum varaince even proir to any measurement.

The Variogram

It has been observed that all the important hydrogeological properties and

parameters such as piezometric head, transmissivity or hydraulic conductivity, storage

coefficient, yield, thickness of aquifer, hydrochemical parameters, etc. are all functions of

space. According to De Marsily (1986) these variables (known as the regionalized

variables) are not purely random, and there is some kind of correlation in the spatial

distribution of their magnitudes. The spatial correlation of such variables is called the

structure, and is normally defined by the variogram. The experimental variogram

measures the average dissimilarity between data separated by a vector h (Goovaerts,

1997). It is calculated according to the following formula.

225

2

1 N h

J h ¦ >z x h zx @

2 N h i 1

h = separation distance between two points, also called the lag distance.

A generalized formula to calculate the experimental variogram from a set of

scattered data can be written as follows (Ahmed, 1995):

1 Nd

J( d,T )= ¦[z( xi +dˆ,Tˆ )- z(xi ,Tˆ )]2 (14)

2Nd i 1

where,

Nd Nd

1 1

with d=

Nd

¦dˆi , T =

i 1 Nd

¦Tˆ

i 1

i

(16)

Where d and T are the initially chosen lag and direction of the variogram with 'd and 'T

as tolerance on lag and direction respectively. d and T are actual lag and direction for the

corresponding calculated variogram. Nd is the number of pairs for a particular lag and

direction. The additional Equation 16 avoids the rounding-off error of pre-decided lags

and directions (only multiples of the initial lag and fixed values of T only are taken in

conventional cases). It is very important to account for every term carefully while

calculating variograms. If the data are collected on a regular grid, 'd and 'T can be taken

as zero and d and T becomes d and T respectively. Often, hydrogeological parameters

exhibit anisotropy and hence variograms should be calculated at least in 2 to 4 directions

to ensure existence or absence of anisotropy. Of course, a large number of samples are

required in that case.

The variogram model is the principal input for both interpolation and simulation

schemes. However, modeling the variogram is not a unique process. Various studies

(Dagan and Neuman, 1997, Cushman, 1990) tried to correlate the mathematical

expressions normally used to describe variogram models to the physical characteristics of

the parameters.

Variograms obtained by modeling an experimental variogram are often not unique.

It is therefore, necessary to validate it. Cross-validation is performed by estimating the

random function at the points where realizations are available (i.e. at data points) and

comparing the estimate with data (Ahmed and Gupta, 1989). In this exercise, measured

values are removed from the data set one by one and the same is repeated for the entire

data set. Thus, all the measurements points, the measured value (z), the estimated value

(z*) and the variance of the estimation error (ı2) become available. This leads to

computing following statistics:

226

1 N

*

N ¦ (z

i 1

i z i ) | 0 .0 (17)

1 N

*

N ¦ (z

i 1

i z i ) 2 | min (18)

1 N

* 2

N ¦ (z

i 1

i z i )2 /V i 1 (19)

*

zi zi

d 2.0 i (20)

Vi

Various parameters of the variogram model are gradually modified to obtain

satisfactory values of Equation 17 to 20. During the cross-validation many important

tasks are accomplished, such as:

Testing the validity of the structural model.

Deciding the optimum neighbourhood for estimation.

Selecting suitable combinations of additional information particularly in case of

multivariate estimation.

Sorting out unreliable data.

Theoretical Aspects

The formulation of the general groundwater flow equation in porous media is based

on mass conservation and Darcy’s law, and can be represented as follows in three-

dimensions (see e.g. Bear, 1979; Mercer and Faust, 1981; Marsily, 1986):

w § wh · w § wh · w § wh · wh

¨ . x ¸ ¨¨ . y ¸¸ ¨ . z ¸ r R' S s ..........(21)

wx © wx ¹ wy © wy ¹ wz © wz ¹ wt

where Kx, Ky and Kz [LT-1] are the hydraulic conductivities (or permeability) along the x,

y and z coordinates, respectively, assumed to be the principal directions of anisotropy, h

[L] is the hydraulic head given by h=p/ȡg+z (p is the pressure, ȡ the density of water, g

the gravity constant, and z the elevation); h is also the water level measured in

piezometers; R c [T-1] is an external volumetric flux per unit volume entering or exiting

the system and S s [L-1] is the specific storage coefficient.

227

Equation 21 can be integrated over the vertical (two-dimensional flow) and

simplified when the flow takes place in confined conditions in the aquifer, and the head is

assumed constant over the vertical:

wh ª wh º wh ª wh º wh

T «T » rR S .......... ... (22)

wx «¬ x wx »¼ wy ¬ y wy ¼ wt

where Tx and Ty [L²T-1] are the transmissivities (product of the hydraulic conductivity and

saturated thickness of the aquifer) in the x and y directions, assumed to be the principal

directions of anisotropy in the plane, respectively; R [LT-1] is an external volumetric flux

per horizontal unit area entering or exiting the aquifer, in practice, it represents recharge,

or sometimes evapotranspiration from a shallow aquifer, or else leakage fluxes between

aquifers; S [-] is the storage coefficient (product of S s , the specific storage coefficient,

by the thickness of the aquifer). In case of unconfined conditions, Equation 21 can be

integrated over the vertical and simplified as follows:

wh ª wh º wh ª wh º wh

K h K h rR Sy .......... ........( 23)

wx «¬ wx »¼ wy «¬ wy »¼

x y

wt

where S y [-] indicates the specific yield of the water-table aquifer. In this case, the

hydraulic head is expressed taking the bottom of the aquifer (assumed horizontal) as the

z=0 reference plane, so that the head h is also the saturated thickness of the aquifer. Since

this equation is non linear, and difficult to deal with, in many instances, Equation 22 is

used as an approximation for unconfined aquifers as well, making the simplifying

assumption that the product K*h of the saturated thickness h of the aquifer by its

permeability K is equal to a constant, the transmissivity T, even if the saturated thickness

varies with time. In that case, the storage coefficient S in Equation 22 is replaced by the

specific yield S y .

These equations with the appropriate boundary and initial conditions can be solved

by standard numerical methods such as Finite Differences or Finite Elements. A large

body of literature is available on the analytical or numerical formulation, development

and solution of the groundwater flow equations. Some useful references are: Freeze

(1971); Remson et al (1971); Prickett (1975); Trescott et al (1976); Pinder and Gray

(1977); Cooley (1977, 1979, 1982); Brebbia (1978); Mercer and Faust (1981); Wang and

Anderson (1982); Townley and Wilson (1985); Marsily (1986).

The major steps involved in performing aquifer modeling of an aquifer are as

follows :

1. Conceptualization of the aquifer system and establishment of various flows.

228

2. Preparing a database of the essential and available parameters with their

georeference.

3. Analyzing the variability of various paramters in the area.

4. Discretization of the aquifer system into meshes with theoretical and practical

constraints.

5. Fabrication of the aquifer model by assigning various parameters to each mesh.

6. Execution of model under steady and transient conditions and comparing the

output with filed values.

7. Calibration of aquifer model to eleminate the mismatches.

8. Performing sensitivity analyses to determine the sensitivity and priority of various

parameters

9. Finalization of the calibrated model simulating the flow in the aquifer system.

10. Building the futuristic scenarios and predcting the waterlevels using the

calibrated model.

The entire procedure involves a large number of decisions and hence the risk of high

biasness. The present work analyses the pratcial problems and constraints faced at all

levels and to solve them in an unbiased way using the theory of regionalized variables.

Discretization

This is the first step in the aquifer modeling. Here the modelers have to descritize

the area into large number of uniform grids or meshes over which it is supposed that

there is no variation in aquifer properties. Although with the invent of advanced

computers, the computation of large number of grids/meshes is not a difficult task but the

preparation of data to be assigned to each grid is time consuming. The main question

arises here is how to decide the number of grid and their sizes? Here the use of

geostatistics lies in the modeling. Initially the area is divided in to very finer grids and

with the help of geostatistical estimation procedure, the variance of estimation error over

each grid is calculated. As we know that the closer the spatial difference, the closer will

be the values and thus final grids sizes can be decided by uniting the grids having same or

close values of the variance of estimation error. Thus the grid size is decided on the basis

of geostatistical estimation which provide unbiased, minimum variance and with a unique

value over the entire area of the mesh as block kriging is used.

Model Fabrication

After discretization of the area in to optimal grid sizes, the hydrogeological

parameters are required over each grid. It is often very difficult to determine these

parameters accurately in the field over such a large number of points either due to

economic reason or because of access to the area. The data is always available only at

few places in the area. Now it is necessary to link the two situations, and to supply the

parameter values for all the discretized volumes from the available observed data.

229

It has been observed that the deterministic approaches are not much applicable due

to great spatio-temporal variability of the hydrogeological parameters. The field

heterogeneity of the groundwater basins is often inextricable and very difficult to analyze

with deterministic methods (e.g., Bakr et al., 1978; Delhomme, 1979; Ganoulis and

Morel-Seytoux, 1985). In-situ measurements at the basin scale have shown that physical

properties of the hydrogeological variables are highly irregular. However, this spatial

variability is not, in general, purely random and the variables exhibit some kind of

correlation in their spatial distribution.

It is more convenient and common to introduce geostatistics in a probabilistic

framework, for performing estimation considering the spatio-temporal variability of the

parameters. By using geostatistical estimation techniques, it is not only possible to

evaluate the values of parameters at each and every grid but the level of accuracy in terms

of variance of estimation error can also be obtained prior to estimation.

Calibration

Calibration is the process of modifying the input parameters to a groundwater model

until the output from the model matches an observed set of data with in some acceptable

criteria. This criterion is decided with the help of geostatistics. A confidence interval is

given by the standard deviation of the estimation error that provides a useful guide to

parameter modification at each mesh and to check that the calculated value falls inside

the confidence interval of the observed values.

The calibration process typically involves calibrating the steady state and transient

state conditions. In steady state condition unbiased calibration of aquifer model is

obtained by using kriging estimation variance and the result lies within the 95% of

confidence interval. Mathematically it can be stated as,

him hi

<2 (24)

Vi

Where,

him = modeled water level.

hi* = estimated water level.

V i = standard deviation of the estimation error.

Similarly in case of transient condition, the calibration of the aquifer model in an

unbiased way is performed using hydraulic conductivity within 95% confidence interval

of estimation variance. Mathematically it can be stated as,

K
2V k d K T t K
2V k (25)

where,

K* = estimated hydraulic conductivity

KT = observed hydraulic conductivity

230

V k = standard deviation of the estimation error.

Prediction

After the model has been succesfully calibrated it is now ready for predictive

simulation. Thus the model now can be used for predicting some future groundwater flow

or contaminant transport conditions. It can also be used for evaluating different

remediation alternatives. However errors and uncertainities in a groundwater flow

analysis and solute transport analysis make any model prediction no better than

approximation unless all the model predictions should be expressed as a range of possible

outcomes that reflects the assumptions involved and uncertainity in the model input data

and parameter values. In spite of all unbiased and best efforts, still a large number of

calibrated models could be avialable for prediction. Thus to make them unique, a double

sum is calculated using the statnadard deviation of the water level estimation error also

for all the time step and for all the meshes. Thus a calibrated model providing minimum

value of this sum could be used for prediction.

PRADESH, INDIA

The Maheshwaram watershed of about 53 km² in the Ranga Reddy district (Figure 1)

of, Andhra Pradesh, India, is underlain by granitic rocks. This watershed is a

representative Southern India catchment in terms of overexploitation of its weathered

hard-rock aquifer (more than 700 borewells in use), its cropping pattern, rural socio-

economy (based mainly on traditional agriculture), agricultural practices and semi-arid

climate. The granite outcrops in and around Maheshwaram form part of the largest of all

granite bodies recorded in Peninsular India. Alcaline intrusions, aplite, pegmatite, epidote,

quartz veins and dolerite dykes traverse the granite. There are three types of fracture

patterns in the area, viz. (i) mineralised fractures, (ii) fractures traversed by dykes, and (iii)

late-stage fractures represented by joints. The vertical fracture pattern is partly

responsible for the development of the weathered zone and the horizontal fractures are

the result of the weathering. Hydrogeologically, the aquifer occurs both in the weathered

zone and in the underlying weathered-fractured zone. However, due to deep drilling and

heavy groundwater withdrawal, the weathered zone has now become dry. About 150 dug

wells were examined and the nature of the weathering was studied. The weathered-zone

profiles range in thickness from 1 to 5 m below ground level (bgl). They are followed by

semi-weathered and fractured zones that reach down to 20 m bgl. The weathering of the

granite has occurred in different phases and the granitic batholith appears to be a

composite body that has emerged in different places and not as a single body. One set of

pegmatite veins displacing another set of pegmatitic veins has been observed in some

well sections. Joints are well developed in the main directions – N 0° – 15°E, NE-SW,

and NW-SE that vary slightly from place to place.

231

Figure 1. Geographical location of the study area and the watershed

The groundwater flow system is local, i.e. with its recharge area at a topographic

high and its discharge area at a topographic low adjacent to each other. Intermediate and

regional groundwater flow systems also exist since there is significant hydraulic

conductivity at depth. Aquifers occur in the permeable saprolite (weathered) layer, as

well as in the weathered-fractured zone of the bedrock and the quartz pegmatite intrusive

veins when they are jointed and fractured. Thus only the development of the saprolite

zone and the fracturing and interconnectivity between the various fractures allow a

potential aquifer to develop, provided that a recharge zone is connected to the

groundwater system.

Mean annual precipitation (P) is about 750 mm, of which more than 90% falls

during the monsoon season. The mean annual temperature is about 26 °C, although in

summer ("Rabi" season from March to May), the maximum temperature can reach 45 °C.

The resulting potential evaporation from the soil plus transpiration by plants (PET) is

1,800 mm/year. Therefore, the aridity index (AI = P/PET = 0.42) is 0.2 < AI < 0.5,

typical of semiarid areas (UNEP 1992). Although the annual rainfall is around 750 mm

and the recharge around 10-15%, the water levels have been lowered by about 10 m

during the last two decades due to intensive exploitation. The transmissivity of the

fractured aquifer was measured by seven pumping tests in wells and it varies

considerably from about 1.7×10-5 m²/s to about 1.7×10-3 m²/s, and a low storage

232

coefficient (0.6%) indicates a weak storage potential of the aquifer (Maréchal et al.,

2004). The withdrawal which increases year by year has to be controlled to allow

recharge by rainfall to maintain or restore the productive capacity of the depleted aquifer.

Our data show that the weathered-fractured layer is conductive mainly from the

surface down to a depth of 35 m, the range within which conductive fracture zones with

transmissivities greater than 5×10-6 m2/s are observed (Maréchal et al. 2004). The lower

limit corresponds to the top of the unweathered basement, which contains few or poorly

conductive fractures (T < 5×10-6 m2/s) and where only local deep tectonic fractures are

assumed to be significantly conductive at great depths, as observed by studies in Sweden

(Talbot and Sirat, 2001), Finland (Elo, 1992) and the United States (Stuckless and Dudley,

2002). An unpublished study of the same area has statistically confirmed this result by the

analyses of airlift flow rates in 288 boreholes, 10 to 90 m deep, where the cumulative

airlift flow rate ranges from 1.5 m3/h to 45 m3/h, and the mean value increases drastically

in the weathered-fractured layer at depths between 20 and 30 m. Below 30 m, the flow

rate is constant and does not increase with depth. In practice, drilling deeper than the

bottom of the weathered-fractured layer (30 – 35 m) does not increase the probability of

improving the well discharge. The data confirm that the weathered-fractured layer is the

most productive part of the hard-rock aquifer, as already shown elsewhere by other

authors (e.g. Houston and Lewis 1988, Taylor and Howard 2000).

Two different scales of fracture networks are identified and characterized by

hydraulic tests (Maréchal et al., 2004): a primary fracture network (PFN) which affects

the matrix at the decimetre scale, and a secondary fracture network (SFN) affecting the

blocks at the borehole scale. The latter is the first one described below.

The secondary network is composed of two conductive fractures sets - a horizontal

one (HSFN) and a sub-vertical one (VSFN) as observed on outcrops. They are the main

contributors to the permeability of the weathered-fractured layer. The average vertical

density of the horizontal conductive set ranges from 0.15 m-1 to 0.24 m-1, with a fracture

length of a few tens of meters (10 - 30 m in diameter for the only available data). This

corresponds to a mean vertical thickness of the blocks ranging from |4 m to |7 m. The

strong dependence of the permeability on the density of the conductive fractures indicates

that individual fractures contribute more or less equally to the bulk horizontal

conductivity (Kr = 10-5 m/s) of the aquifer. No strong heterogeneity is detected in the

distribution of the hydraulic conductivities of the fractures, and therefore no scale effect

was inferred at the borehole scale. The sub-vertical conductive fracture set connects the

horizontal network, ensuring a vertical permeability (Kz = 10-6 m/s) and a good

connectivity in the aquifer. Nevertheless, the sub-vertical set of fractures is less

permeable than the horizontal one, introducing a horizontal-to-vertical anisotropy ratio

for the permeability close to 10 due to the preponderance of horizontal fractures.

As discussed earlier, the horizontal fracture set is due to the weathering processes,

through the expansion of the micaceous minerals, which induces cracks in the rock.

These fractures are mostly sub-parallel to the contemporaneous weathering surface, as in

233

the flat Maheshwaram watershed where they are mostly horizontal (Maréchal et al.,

2003). In the field, the bore wells drilled with a fairly homogeneous spacing throughout

the watershed confirm this conclusion: of 288 wells, 257 (89%) were drilled deeper than

20 meters and 98% of these are productive. In any case, the probability of a vertical well

crossing a horizontal fracture induced by such wide-scale weathering is very high.

The primary fracture network (PFN), operating at the block scale, increases the

original matrix permeability of Km = 10-14 – 10-9 m/s to Kb = 4×10-8 m/s. Regarding the

matrix storage, it should also contribute to the storage coefficient in the blocks of Sb = 5.7

x 10-3. The storage in the blocks represents 91% of the total specific yield (Sy = 6.3×10-3)

of the aquifer; storage in the secondary fracture network accounts for the rest. This high

storage in the blocks (in both the matrix and the PFN) and the generation of the PFN

would result from the first stage of the weathering process itself. The development of the

secondary fracture network (SFN) is the second stage in the weathering process: that is

why the words “primary” and “secondary” have been chosen to qualify the different

levels of fracture networks. The obtained storage values are compatible with those of

typical unconfined aquifers in low-permeability sedimentary layers.

The universal character of granite weathering and its worldwide distribution

underline the importance of understanding its impact on the hydrodynamic properties of

the aquifers in these environments.

Several input parameters were analysed for their variability to assess the areas of

high, low and medium variability. Finally the water level gradient have been kriged all

over the area by taking initially a reasonable fine grids of 200m by 200m size. The

estimation error of the estimates of the water level gradient in a pre-monson season when

the pumping has been least and water levels were not disturbed by the anthropogenic

activity, were taken as guiding parameter and by joining the grids with uniform values the

meshes were made courser and courser. Figure 2 shows the experimental and theoretical

variogram of the water level gradient.

Figure 3 depicts a reasonable discretization of the aquifer system with variable

meshe sizes in a nested square fashion. The discretization thus are made based on the

criteria of parameters varibility and distribution of the estimation error. However, this has

to be refined as the software MODFLOW does not permit a nested square grids and due

to this constraints, the meshes were further modified but this change was made only to

suit the software. There are software that may permit the use of originally obtained mesh

discretization. The meshe sizes thus used are 200m by 200m, 200m by 400m, 400m by

200m and 400m by 400m with a total of 764 meshes in the watershed (Figure 4).

The model discreized thus has reasonable logics and have been obtained following

criteria laid down mainly on the variability of the paramters. The system parameter

mainly K values obtained from the hydraulic tests on 25 wells fairly distributed in the

area, were kriged using a suitable variogram and obtained the values over all the 764

meshes of the model. Of course, the field values were log-transformed and then the

estimated values were backword transformed by taking anti-logs. The Specific Yield

234

values were not available so two zones were assigend. The eastern and western

boundaries are taken as no flow boundaries as the major flow direction is from south to

north. The remaining nodes at the boundaries are taken as fixed head boundaries as the

water levels are well known, Other input paramters such as rainfall recharge,

groundwater withdrawal, groundwater evaporation, Irrigation return flow from irrigated

fields etc. are treated as regionalized variables and they have all beenestimated using

theory of regionalized variables. Figures 5 and 6 show the variogram of recharge

percentage and the map of the estimated recharge percentage over the area

Figures 7 and 8 show the variogram and the estimates of groundwater withdrawals.

In this case the number of meshes and number of pumping wells are more or less

conciding and then values were estimated at each grids using block estimation. The

model with these paramter values was run for the steady and transient conditions. Figures

9 show the estimated values of initial water level that was used for steady state simulation.

235

Figure 3. The discretization of the aquifer into Nested Square meshes

236

Figure 4. Variable size mesh discretization suitable to MODFLOW

237

1902000

1901000

1900000

1899000

1898000

1897000

1896000

1895000

1894000

1893000

224000 225000 226000 227000 228000 229000 230000 231000 232000 233000

238

1902000

1901000

1900000

1899000

1898000

1897000

1896000

1895000

1894000

1893000

224000 225000 226000 227000 228000 229000 230000 231000 232000 233000

1902000

1901000

1900000

1899000

1898000

1897000

1896000

1895000

1894000

1893000

224000 225000 226000 227000 228000 229000 230000 231000 232000 233000

Figure 9. Piezometric map in the area for the initial conditions (June 2000)

239

The most important aspect in deaaling with and removing biasness from the aquifer

modeling is during calibration and acceptance of the model. The Equation 24 has been

used for testing the acceptability and zones of calibration if required and the changes

during the calibration was based on the Equation 25. The values of Equation 24 is thus

plotted in a map at Figure 10 that very intrestingly shows the meshes needed caibration

chnages and these chnages were carried out using Equation 25.

The comparison during the transient state was also made using the geostatistics.

1902000

1901000

1900000

1899000

1898000

1897000

1896000

1895000

1894000

1893000

224000 225000 226000 227000 228000 229000 230000 231000 232000 233000

Figure 10. Map showing the areas that need calibration and the areas where the

comparison of water-levels are satisfactory.

CONCLUSIONS

It is often very difficult to analyse field hetrogeneties of groundwater basins with

deterministic methods. Thus stochastic methods has been used especially for the

estimation of the hydrogeological parameters. The theory of regionalized variables

provides a sound stochastic model for the study of spatial phenomena and its applicaion

in the field of hydrogeology has been found to be extremely fruitful. The advantage of

240

geostatistical methods is that it provide the variance of estimated error together with the

estimated value. Of course there are tremendous applications of this method particularly

in groundwater modelling:

¾ The closer the values of aquifer parameters to reality the faster will be the model

calibration. Better estimated values with lower estimation variance are initially

assigned to the nodes of aquifer model using geostatistical estimation.

¾ An assumption is made in aquifer modeling that a single value of system parameter

represents the entire grid(although, very small). Averaging over a block in two or

three dimension can be obtained through block estimation.

¾ An optimal grid size and number of nodes in discretizing aquifer system, can be

obtained and best locations for the new control points can be predicted.

¾ A confidence interval given by the standard estimation of the estimation error

provides a useful guide to K/T modification over each grid and to check that the

calculated heads fall inside the confidence interval of the observed heads.

¾ A performance analysis of the calibrated model can be achieved to decide the best

calibrated model using variance of the estimated error which can be used for

prediction.

The main handicap in applying geostatistical techniques to the hydrogeological

problems is the scarcity of the observed data. Careful estimation of the variogram and

cross-validation of the variogram models are therefore essential. Thus, a few

modifications and improvement to the existing techniques permits to utilize

hydrogeological data successfully in prediction of aquifer parameters. One such

modification which has found much use is ˝kriging with external drift˝.

In geostatistics assumptions are made on the nature of the underlying random

function (such as the intrinsic hypothesis or second order stationarity). These assumptions

are critical to the success of the application of these techniques.

References

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243

WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH, VOL. 34, NO. 5, PAGES 1011–1025, MAY 1998

of pumping tests in heterogeneous formations

Peter M. Meier, Jesús Carrera, and Xavier Sánchez-Vila

Departament Enginyeria del Terreny i Cartogràﬁca, ETS Enginyers de Camins, Canals i Ports de Barcelona

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

Abstract. Most pumping tests are interpreted using the classical Theis assumption of

large-scale homogeneity with various corrections to account for early time behavior of

drawdown curves. When drawdowns are plotted versus log time, late time data often

delineate a straight line, which is consistent with Jacob’s approximation of Theis’ solution

but may seem surprising in view of the heterogeneity of natural media. The aim of our

work is to show that Jacob’s method leads to a good approximation of the effective

transmissivity of heterogeneous media when constrained to late time data. A review of

several multiwell pumping tests demonstrates that when drawdown curves from each

observation well are interpreted separately, they produce very similar transmissivity T

estimates. However, the corresponding estimates for storativity span a broad range. This

behavior is veriﬁed numerically for several models of formation heterogeneity. A very

signiﬁcant ﬁnding of the numerical investigation is that T values estimated using simulated

drawdown from individual observation wells are all very close to the effective T value for

parallel ﬂow. This was observed even in nonmultiGaussian T ﬁelds, where high T zones

are well connected and where the effective T is larger than the geometric average of point

values. This implies that Jacob’s method can be used for estimating effective T values in

many, if not most, formations.

1.1. Basic Concepts and Previous Work distance to the observation well; if drawdowns are measured at

the pumping well, r is equal to the effective radius of the well.

Formation transmissivity is the most important parameter to The method is considered a valid approximation of the Theis

be determined in many hydrogeological problems. Transmis- solution if the slope can be derived from data points with u ⫽

sivity is often determined in the ﬁeld using pumping tests. r 2 S/(4Tt) smaller than 0.03 for which the approximation error

Hydrogeologists have to rely on an interpretation model for is ⬍1%.

the evaluation of pumping test data. Constant rate pumping The analytical solution underlying the Theis and Jacob tech-

tests are most often interpreted using the Theis [1935] method niques is based on the assumption of aquifer homogeneity.

or Jacob’s semilogarithmic approximation [Cooper and Jacob, Other analytical solutions assume that the aquifer can be sub-

1946]. Both of these techniques use the temporal evolution of divided into, at most, two or three regions with uniform pa-

pumping-induced drawdown to obtain estimates of transmis- rameters [e.g., Streltsova, 1988; Butler, 1988, 1990; Butler and

sivity and storativity under the assumptions of homogeneity, a Liu, 1991, 1993]. Although such conﬁgurations are simpliﬁca-

two-dimensional domain, and conﬁned conditions. Because of tions of the complex structure of real heterogeneous forma-

the importance of Jacob’s method for this work, we review it tions, they can provide insight into the behavior of drawdown

brieﬂy here (further details can be found in most hydrogeology in heterogeneous formations. For example, Butler [1990] ex-

text books; see, e.g., Freeze and Cherry [1979]). Jacob’s method plains how the Theis and Jacob methods lead to different T

is based on the fact that the Theis well function plots as a values in heterogeneous aquifers because they apply different

straight line on semilogarithmic paper at large dimensionless weightings to different portions of the drawdown curve. As

times. Hence the method consists of drawing a straight line shown in (1), pumping test analysis using Jacob’s method is

through the late time data points and extending it backward to based on the rate of drawdown change. When T only depends

the point of zero drawdown (time axis intercept), which is on radial distance (axial symmetry), such change reﬂects aqui-

designated t 0 . The drawdown per log cycle is obtained from fer properties only within a ring of inﬂuence through which the

the slope m of the line. Values for transmissivity T and stor- front of the pressure depression passes within the considered

ativity S can then be found from time interval. Therefore estimated transmissivity is indepen-

dent of the aquifer properties between the inner radius of the

2.3Q

T⫽ (1) ring of inﬂuence and the pumping well. However, storage es-

4m timates depend on the variations in T between the pumping

2.25Tt 0 well and the front of the cone of depression [Butler, 1988].

S⫽ (2) Butler and Liu [1993] conceptualized the nonuniform aquifer

r2

as a uniform matrix into which a disk of anomalous properties

Copyright 1998 by the American Geophysical Union. has been placed. They found, among other things, that Jacob’s

Paper number 98WR00008. method can be used in any laterally nonuniform system to

0043-1397/98/98WR-00008$09.00 estimate matrix transmissivity if the ﬂow to the pumping well is

245

1012 MEIER ET AL.: JACOB’S METHOD AND HETEROGENEOUS FORMATIONS

approximately radial during the period of analysis. Oliver [1997] for fractured rocks, Ptak and Teutsch [1994] for a porous

[1990] used a perturbation approach to determine the weight- aquifer, Bachu and Underschulz [1992] for sandstone cores,

ing function according to which formation permeabilities are and Neuzil [1994] for clays and shales. Because of this, we have

averaged in the determination of apparent values from Jacob’s assumed storativity to be homogeneous for our numerical

method for pumping test analysis. He found that the averaging work.

area is an annular region of the formation and that both the The above paragraphs appear paradoxical: Long-term hy-

averaging area and the radius of investigation of a pumping draulic tests lead to small variability of T est and large variability

test increase with time. Oliver [1993] used a perturbation ap- of S est, while the opposite should be expected for point values

proach to study the effect of two-dimensional spatial variations of T and S. We conjecture that this paradox can be attributed

in transmissivity and storativity. He concluded that the area of to the fact that methods developed for homogeneous media

investigation of a pumping test is bounded by an ellipse that are being used for interpretation of tests performed in heter-

encloses the pumping well and the observation well and that ogeneous formations.

observation well drawdown is relatively sensitive to near-well Our work is centered around the above conjecture. Hence

transmissivity, whereas the observation well drawdown deriv- we ﬁrst provide some ﬁeld observations to show that this sit-

ative is inﬂuenced by the near-well properties for a ﬁnite pe- uation indeed exists. Second, we use a series of numerical

riod only. simulations to show that Jacob’s method yields nearly constant

Previous numerical investigations of transient radial ﬂow in T est and spatially variable S est in aquifers with variable T and

heterogeneous systems resembling real formations by Warren constant S. Third, we investigate how the spatial correlation

and Price [1961], Lachassagne et al. [1989], and Butler [1991] structure of T and the variance of the input log T ﬁeld affect

have been concerned with estimates of transmissivity from the results. Finally, we compare the value of transmissivity

pumping tests and their relationship to statistical parameters obtained using Jacob’s method with the effective transmissivity

of the heterogeneous transmissivity ﬁeld. These authors con- derived for parallel ﬂow.

clude that transmissivity values obtained from late time data

using standard analysis techniques and especially Jacob’s

method are close to the geometric mean of the transmissivity 2. Field Observations

ﬁelds and are a reasonable representation of transmissivity on We have obtained similar T est and strongly varying S est val-

the regional scale (assuming boundary effects are negligible). ues when using Jacob’s method at several ﬁeld studies in very

Gómez-Hernández et al. [1995] simulate pumping tests in non- different types of heterogeneous media, including a single-

stationary anisotropic T ﬁelds and conclude that the simulated shear zone in granitic rock, a fractured gneiss formation, and

drawdown curves can be misinterpreted as typical responses alluvial aquifers. In what follows, we ﬁrst present ﬁeld data

from a variety of homogeneous aquifer conceptual models from the migration experiment of the joint project of Nagra

(e.g., leaky aquifers, double porosity systems, Theis with (Swiss National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive

boundary effects, and others). Herweijer [1996] simulates Waste) and PNC (Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Develop-

pumping and tracer tests in T ﬁelds corresponding to both a ment Corporation, Japan) at the Grimsel underground rock

deterministic sedimentological facies model and a Gaussian laboratory, located in the Swiss Aar Massif within granitic

geostatistical model. He concludes that early time portions of rocks. Second, we show the results from the interpretation of a

pumping test data reveals high conductivity interwell pathways, long-term pumping test in a fractured gneiss formation at El

which dominate solute transport. Cabril, which is the site for storage of low- and intermediate-

level radioactive waste in southern Spain. Third, we present

1.2. Working Hypothesis and Scope of the Work two other cases from the literature in which different authors

We have frequently observed that when applying Jacob’s have reported a similar behavior of T est and S est values in

method to late time drawdown data at several observation alluvial aquifers.

wells, transmissivity estimates T est tend to be fairly constant,

while the storativity estimates S est display a great spatial vari- 2.1. Migration Experiment at the Grimsel Test Site

ability. Similar observations have previously been reported by The Grimsel rock laboratory consists of galleries lying 450 m

Schad and Teutsch [1994] and Herweijer and Young [1991] in below the surface within granitic rock. A migration experiment

studies in which the Theis method is used to analyze drawdown [Frick et al., 1992] was conducted within an almost vertical

data from observation wells in heterogeneous alluvial aquifers. shear zone that dips parallel to the foliation of the host rock.

This behavior is surprising in most cases because indepen- This shear zone, henceforth designated as the migration shear

dent information (such as short term hydraulic tests, geological zone, is more or less isolated from other shear zones and

information, etc.) often suggests that the actual formation consists of a series of subparallel fractures. Mylonite, cataclas-

transmissivity T is strongly heterogeneous. Conversely, the ac- tite, and other gouge materials are observed within the sub-

tual aquifer storativity S is not thought to be highly variable. fractures, inﬂuencing the permeability within the shear zone.

The variability of the storativity estimates is sometimes attrib- The migration shear zone can be conceptualized as a vertical

uted to radial ﬂow in homogeneous anisotropic formations zone of intersecting fractures with a thickness of ⬃0.5 m and

[e.g., Streltsova, 1988]. However, methods accounting for ho- can be considered to be a two-dimensional feature at the scale

mogeneous anisotropic transmissivity [e.g., Neuman et al., of the tests described here. Hydrological exploration involved

1984; Hantush, 1966; Papadopulos, 1965] did not provide con- drilling eight boreholes into the shear zone. Locations of the

sistent results when applied to our ﬁeld cases. Storativity de- boreholes and the laboratory gallery within the shear zone

pends on porosity and the rock and water compressibility. The plane are shown in Figure 1. The intervals in the boreholes

latter are believed to be fairly constant at the local scale. were isolated with packers for the performance of hydraulic

Porosity usually varies within a small range compared with and tracer tests.

hydraulic conductivity, as reported by Guimerà and Carrera Single-hole short-term pumping tests of 5–10 s in duration

246

MEIER ET AL.: JACOB’S METHOD AND HETEROGENEOUS FORMATIONS 1013

point estimates for the transmissivity. These tests were ana-

lyzed with the MARIAJ code [Carbonell and Carrera, 1992],

which uses an automatic optimization procedure coupled with

the general analytical solution of Barker [1988]. Transmissivity

estimates range between 10⫺8 and 5 ⫻ 10⫺6 m2/s, indicating

strong local heterogeneity, while storativity estimates vary from

5 ⫻ 10⫺10 to 10⫺5 m2/s [Meier, 1997]. The large variation in the

S estimates is believed to reﬂect the uncertainties in estimating

S from single-well tests but may also be a product of an analysis

method based on an analytical solution for homogeneous aqui-

fers. Cross-hole constant-rate pumping tests of ⬃2 hours in

duration were performed in boreholes 4, 6, 8, 9, and 10 using

pumping rates of 200 mL/min. Analysis of the late time data at

both the pumping and the observation wells with Jacob’s

method resulted in a virtually constant T est value of ⬃10⫺6

m2/s for all tests and in a broad range of S est values extending

from 4 ⫻ 10⫺7 to 5 ⫻ 10⫺2 m2/s [Meier, 1997]. Transmissivities

and storativities are displayed in Figures 2a and 2b for the

single-hole tests and for the cross-hole test performed by Figure 2. Results from single-hole and cross-hole tests con-

pumping in borehole 9. A semilog plot of the drawdown curves ducted in the migration shear zone for (a) transmissivity esti-

for the cross-hole pumping test in borehole 9 is shown in mates and (b) storativity estimates. Note that transmissivities

Figure 3 as an example of the drawdown behavior seen in all derived from short-term single-hole tests display a large vari-

the cross-hole tests. Straight lines with similar slopes start ability in contrast to transmissivities from cross-hole tests,

developing after about 3500 s for all drawdown curves. Bound- which remain virtually constant. Storativity estimates span a

ary effects due to the inﬂuence of the gallery are not observed wide range of values for single-hole and cross-hole tests.

during these tests. Note that inverse geostatistical modeling of

the steady state hydraulic head ﬁeld and the transient draw-

down data reveals a variation in transmissivity of several orders N-S) are clearly indicated on the surface [Carrera et al., 1993].

of magnitude and the existence of highly transmissive channels A large number of slug and short-term pumping tests were

within the shear zone [Meier et al., 1997]. Such channels may be carried out at this site. The transmissivities obtained from

responsible for the relatively large drawdown at borehole 5 these tests vary over 5 orders of magnitude. A long-term pump-

shown in Figure 3. ing test was also performed [Bureau de Recherches Geologiques

et Minières, 1990]. The locations of the pumping (S33) and

2.2. El Cabril observation wells are shown in Figure 4. The drawdown curves

The El Cabril site is located in a very sparsely populated area from individual observation wells were interpreted separately

west of Cordoba in southern Spain. The underlying formations using the MARIAJ code [Carbonell and Carrera, 1992] under

are composed of biotitic gneiss and metaarkoses. These for- the assumption of a homogeneous and isotropic medium. The

mations were affected by the compressive Hercynian deforma- estimated parameters obtained for each well are shown in

tion, so the formations follow a predominantly WNW-ESE and Figure 5. The T est values range from 0.38 to 0.52 m2/d, while

NW-SE trend and are characterized by primarily vertical dips. the S est values range from 10⫺4 to 3 ⫻ 10⫺2 m2/d. Thus the T est

Several sets of transverse fractures (directions 60⬚N, 90⬚N, and values are almost constant, while the S est values range over

Figure 1. Locations of the boreholes and the laboratory gal- pumping well and the observation points during a cross-hole

lery in the migration shear zone at the Grimsel test site. test in the migration shear zone.

247

1014 MEIER ET AL.: JACOB’S METHOD AND HETEROGENEOUS FORMATIONS

values (5.8 ⫻ 10⫺4 to 1.0 ⫻ 10⫺1 m2/s). The analysis of the late

time data, using the Theis method, resulted in a small range of

T est values (2.4 ⫻ 10⫺2 to 5.0 ⫻ 10⫺2 m2/s) and in a broad

range of S est values (1.7 ⫻ 10⫺2 to 1.3 ⫻ 10⫺1 m2/s). They also

conducted a long-term (96 hour) pumping test in which draw-

down was monitored at 23 observation wells. The analysis of

this test with the Theis method resulted in a very small range

of T est values (2.9 ⫻ 10⫺2 to 3.5 ⫻ 10⫺2 m2/s) and in a broad

range of S est values (2.6 ⫻ 10⫺2 to 1.1 ⫻ 10⫺1 m2/s). Schad and

Teutsch also mention that S est values show a large variability at

short observation distances and a progressively smaller vari-

ability for larger distances. They point out that the variations in

S est should be a function of the relative transmissivity of the

ﬂow path between the pumping and the observation well. If

this path has a high relative transmissivity, S est should be small

and vice versa.

Herweijer and Young [1991] present a qualitative model of

aquifer heterogeneity for the interpretation of spatial and tem-

poral variability of hydraulic parameters derived from pump-

ing tests in a heterogeneous ﬂuvial aquifer at Columbus Air

Force Base, Mississippi. Their results from pumping tests an-

alyzed with the Theis method cover a wide range for storativity

Figure 4. Location of pumping and observation wells at the estimates and a relatively small range for transmissivity esti-

El Cabril site. mates. They conclude that the storage estimates show a strong

dependence on the ﬂow pattern induced by pumping and the

degree of interconnection of high hydraulic conductivity lenses

more than 2 orders of magnitude. This test was later inter- between the pumping and observation wells.

preted by means of a ﬁnite element model automatically cali-

brated with the approach of Carrera and Neuman [1986].

Drawdowns could only be closely matched by assuming that 3. Numerical Simulation Methodology

S227 (the observation well at which the smallest S est was ob- We performed a series of numerical simulations to corrob-

tained) was connected to S33 through a fracture, a likely situ- orate our ﬁeld observations and to further develop those of

ation given the geology at the site. Note that a convergent ﬂow Schad and Teutsch [1994]. Our methodology, which is similar

tracer test was performed at this site by injecting a different to that used by Lachassagne et al. [1989], consists of the fol-

tracer into each of the observation wells displayed in Figure 4 lowing steps: (1) generation of two-dimensional (2-D) hetero-

while well S33 was pumped. Porosities were estimated under geneous T ﬁelds, (2) simulation of transient radial ﬂow toward

the assumption of homogeneity using the TRAZADOR code a pumping well in the generated T ﬁelds using a ﬁnite element

[Benet and Carrera, 1992]. The pattern of estimated porosities code, (3) analysis of the drawdown curves simulated at all

is very similar to that of S est in Figure 5 [Sanchez-Vila et al., nodes of the grid using Jacob’s method, (4) generation of maps

1992; Carrera, 1993]. This suggests that relatively high trans- showing the spatial distribution of the T est and S est values and

missivity pathways are reﬂected not only in S est but also in drawdown, and (5) analysis of the results. Regarding the anal-

estimated porosity when homogeneous media solutions are ysis of the results, we ﬁrst compare the spatial S est distribution

used. with the spatial structure of the input T ﬁelds. Second, we

check whether the average of the T est values (designated as

2.3. Field Observations Reported in the Literature T avg) is somewhat representative of the full domain by com-

Schad and Teutsch [1994] provide an extensive data set from paring it with the effective transmissivity obtained from theo-

a series of pumping tests performed in a highly heterogeneous retical considerations and from numerical analysis of parallel

aquifer at the Horkheimer Insel ﬁeld site in the Neckar Valley ﬂow in the same T ﬁelds.

of Germany. Because of its relevance to our work, we review

brieﬂy some parts of their study. The unconﬁned aquifer in

which the tests were performed consists of ⬃4 m of poorly

sorted sand and gravel deposits of a braided river origin. This

aquifer is overlain by 5– 6 m of mostly clayey ﬂood plain de-

posits and underlain by a hydraulically tight clay. Hydraulic

conductivity data derived from grain-size distributions had an

overall variance of log conductivity equal to 2.35, indicating

signiﬁcant heterogeneity. Schad and Teutsch performed 26

pumping tests (duration of 2 hours) at different wells at the

site. During each of these tests, up to four observation wells Figure 5. Transmissivity and storativity estimates obtained

were monitored at radial distances of 2 to 36 m from the from the interpretation of drawdown curves at each observa-

pumping well. The analysis of the early time data, using the tion well for the long-term pumping test in borehole S33 at the

Theis method, resulted in a broad range of T est values (1.6 ⫻ El Cabril site. Again, T estimates remain virtually constant,

10⫺2 to 3.2 ⫻ 10⫺1 m2/s) and in a very broad range of S est while S estimates span 3 orders of magnitude.

248

MEIER ET AL.: JACOB’S METHOD AND HETEROGENEOUS FORMATIONS 1015

Figure 6. Schematic drawing of the model setup indicating the discretization scheme in the top left quad-

rant, the pumping well location, the full model domain, the heterogeneous domain, and the heterogeneous

subdomain for which our methodology is considered valid.

We ﬁrst describe in detail the methodology and then exam- erogeneous domain. Several preliminary simulations showed

ine the inﬂuence of the variance and spatial correlation struc- that this inﬂuence starts at ⬃30,000 time units. Our simulations

ture of T on the results. Our investigations include multilog- are therefore terminated at 20,000 time units, and our meth-

normal, nonmultilognormal, and fractal T ﬁelds. odology is considered valid in a square domain of 100 units on

The simulated random transmissivity ﬁelds are square in a side centered on the well. This small heterogeneous domain

shape and are discretized into 500 ⫻ 500 square elements of is schematically indicated in Figure 6.

unit area. We assign T values, which are generated using the Note that this methodology involves applying Jacob’s

computer code GCOSIM3D [Gómez-Hernández and Journel, method over the same time range for all observation points.

1993], to each of the elements and consider these as point This results in Jacob’s method being applied at different di-

values. mensionless times (1/u ⫽ 4Tt/(r 2 S)) at different points in the

To minimize boundary effects, the heterogeneous domain of domain. Since the appropriateness of the approximation un-

500 ⫻ 500 square elements of unit area is bounded on all sides derlying Jacob’s method is a function of the dimensionless

by 20 rectangular elements of increasing size as shown sche- time, the appropriateness of this approximation varies as a

matically in Figure 6. The T values of these elements are set function of location within the domain. For example, the di-

equal to the geometric mean transmissivity of the random T mensionless time is 15.79 for a radius of 71 units, correspond-

ﬁeld (Tg ⫽ 1.0). Constant head conditions are applied to the ing to the distance between the pumping well and the corners

external boundaries of the full domain. This full domain is of the domain of valid methodology, for t ⫽ 19,900, which is

square in shape and consists of 291,600 elements. A homoge- the average time of the small time period from 19,800 to 20,000

neous input storativity of 1.0 is used for all the simulations. time units for which Jacob’s method is applied, for an average

Although 1.0 is a physically implausible value for storativity, T ⫽ 1.0 and for S ⫽ 1.0. For 1/u ⫽ 15.79 the error in using

this assignment has no effect on the results (S ⫽ 1.0 was Jacob’s method instead of the Theis method is about 3.0%,

chosen so that the average diffusivity (T/S) of the heteroge- assuming that these criteria are valid for heterogeneous con-

neous domain was 1.0). The pumping well is located at the ditions. The errors are considerably smaller at the center of the

center of the domain. The transient ﬂow equation is solved domain (about 0.2% for a radius of 30 units and the same

with the ﬁnite element computer code FAITH [Sánchez-Vila et parameters used above). Therefore we expect to obtain a slight

al., 1992], which is especially designed to work with a large radial trend with smaller T values in the center and larger T

number of elements. Drawdown values are calculated every 10 values at further distances from the pumping well as a conse-

time units and are written to a ﬁle every 100 time units for all quence of applying Jacob’s method over the same time range

nodes of the ﬁnite element mesh. The T est and S est values are for all observation points. However, we want to stress that the

calculated with Jacob’s method for all nodes by ﬁtting a above considerations are strictly valid only for homogeneous

straight line through the last three drawdown points. Special conditions and may not be appropriate for highly heteroge-

care is taken to make sure that drawdown curves are not neous T ﬁelds.

sensitive to the homogeneous outer zone surrounding the het- The arithmetic mean of the 10,000 T est values within the

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1016 MEIER ET AL.: JACOB’S METHOD AND HETEROGENEOUS FORMATIONS

of an aquifer is measured in situ.” It should be stressed that the

problem of an effective transmissivity for radial ﬂow conditions

is not examined here, because we are primarily interested in

the relationship between the transmissivity estimates provided

by an interpretation model for pumping test analysis (in our

case Jacob’s method) and the effective transmissivity for par-

allel ﬂow conditions (T effp), which is a representative param-

eter for most problems in hydrogeology.

In section 4 we examine the relation between T effp and T avg

for three conceptual models for aquifer heterogeneity: (1) a

multilognormal T ﬁeld, (2) a nonmultilognormal T ﬁeld with

connected high T zones without a large-scale trend, and (3) a

fractal ﬁeld with a large-scale trend.

4. Test Cases

Figure 7. Boundary conditions used to compute effective

4.1. Test Case 1: Multilognormal Random Field,

transmissivity for parallel ﬂow conditions in a heterogeneous T

Effect of log T Variance 2Y

ﬁeld.

The objective of the ﬁrst test case is to corroborate the ﬁeld

observations and to investigate the inﬂuence of 2Y on T est and

small domain, which are obtained using Jacob’s method, will S est. We simulate three T ﬁelds, assuming Y ⫽ ln T is a

be designated as T avg throughout the remainder of this work. stationary multinormal random function characterized by the

T avg is compared (1) with the geometric sample mean (T g ) of mean 具Y典 (⬇0.0 for the three T ﬁelds), the variances ( 2Y ⫽

the input T ﬁelds and (2) with the effective transmissivity 0.25, 1.0, and 4.0), and the variogram (a spherical isotropic

obtained from parallel ﬂow simulations (T effp) using the same model with a range of 26 unit lengths, which corresponds to an

T ﬁelds as in the radial ﬂow simulations. The motivation for integral scale of ⬃10 unit lengths). The T ﬁelds are generated

this twofold comparison is based on the work of Sánchez-Vila by conditioning on the four square elements surrounding the

et al. [1996]. This work suggests that the assumption of multi- node located at the center, which serves as the pumping well,

lognormality may not be valid in many real ﬁeld cases, even if ﬁxing their values to T g ⫽ 1.0, T g being the geometric mean

point T values display a lognormal distribution and, further- of the point T values. The effect of varying the transmissivity at

more, that the appearance of scale effects in T may be attrib- the well (T w ) will be investigated in test case 3. The T ﬁeld

uted to departures from multilognormality. Here the term with 2Y ⫽ 1.0 is shown in Figure 8a, where the black areas

“scale effect” is used to describe the apparent increase of T represent the most transmissive quartile and the white areas

with the size of the deﬁnition domain and, more speciﬁcally, represent the least transmissive one. Table 1 indicates that

the increase of large-scale effective T with respect to the geo- T effp agrees well with the sample T g of the input T ﬁelds, as

metric average of point values. They performed 2-D ﬂow sim- expected for multilognormal ﬁelds.

ulations with a mean parallel gradient in nonmultilognormal T Figures 8c and 8d show the simulated drawdown curves at

ﬁelds and showed that the effective transmissivity T effp does several observation points located in different directions (1 to

not necessarily agree with T g , contrary to T eff derived for 8) but at the same distance R from the pumping well (see

multilognormal distributions. Following their approach, we ob-

tain T effp for T ﬁelds by solving the steady state ﬂow equation

under very simple boundary conditions as shown in Figure 7. Table 1. Comparison Between Effective Transmissivity for

When applied to our heterogeneous T ﬁelds (large domain of Parallel Flow Conditions and Average Transmissivity

500 ⫻ 500 cells), we obtain a mean gradient that is constant Estimates Obtained From Jacob’s Method for Different

and parallel to the x coordinate axis. Under such conditions, Integral Scales, Pumping Well Transmissivity, log T

the effective transmissivity in the x direction is given by Variances, and Geometric Mean Transmissivity

T effpx ⫽ Q T ⫻ L/⌬H, where Q T is the total ﬂux per unit width

Test T avg/T g ,

into (and out of) the domain and L is its length. A change of Case Tw I 2Y Tg T effp/T g ⫾Range

boundary conditions is used to ﬁnd the effective transmissivity

in the y direction T effpy . The geometric mean T effp ⫽ 1 1.00 10 0.25 1.00 1.00 1.01 ⫾ 2.1E-4

公T effpxT effpy is considered an appropriate quantity for the 1 1.00 10 1.01 1.03 1.00 0.97 ⫾ 2.6E-4

1 1.00 10 4.04 1.00 0.99 0.96 ⫾ 8.5E-4

comparison with our simulation results (T avg). The T g , T effp, 3 1.65 10 1.01 1.03 1.00 0.97 ⫾ 2.5E-4

and T avg values for all our test cases are given in Table 1. 3 0.61 10 1.01 1.03 1.00 0.97 ⫾ 2.7E-4

It should be stressed that a single effective transmissivity, 4 1.00 25 1.03 1.00 1.10 1.13 ⫾ 4.2E-4

deﬁned as the tensor that relates the expected values of ﬂow 4 1.00 25 2.06 1.02 1.24 1.23 ⫾ 6.3E-4

4 1.00 25 4.12 1.00 1.58 1.48 ⫾ 7.6E-4

and head gradient, can only be deﬁned for parallel ﬂow con-

5 1.00 䡠䡠䡠 0.74 0.97 0.97 1.07 ⫾ 1.2E-3

ditions, for which it is equal to T g under relatively broad

conditions [Matheron, 1967]. De Marsily [1986, p. 82] states, “If T w , pumping well transmissivity; I, integral scale; 2Y , log T variance;

the ﬂow is not uniform (converging radial, for example), there T g , geometric mean transmissivity; T effp, effective transmissivity for

parallel ﬂow conditions; T avg, average transmissivity estimate. Notice

is no law of composition, constant in time, that makes it pos- that T effp and T avg are very close except when T is nonstationary (test

sible to deﬁne a mean darcian permeability. This problem is case 5). Notice also the small range of T avg. Read 1.01 ⫾ 2.1E-4 as

quite worrying from the conceptual viewpoint in so far as it is 1.01 ⫾ 2.1 ⫻ 10⫺4.

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MEIER ET AL.: JACOB’S METHOD AND HETEROGENEOUS FORMATIONS 1017

Figure 8. Test case 1. (a) Multilognormal random T ﬁeld of 500 ⫻ 500 units with 2Y ⫽ 1.0 and (b)

subdomain of 100 ⫻ 100 units for which the methodology is considered valid are shown here. “W” indicates

the well location. The numbers indicate the observation points at a radial distance R ⫽ 30 units. The solid

triangles indicate the observation points at R ⫽ 10 units. (c) and (d) Semilog plots of the simulated drawdown

at the observation points shown in Figure 8b for 2Y ⫽ 0.25 and 4.0 are shown. Note that late time slopes are

approximately equal for all curves.

Figure 8b), for the T ﬁelds with 2Y ⫽ 0.25 and 4.0. Results are number of drawdown points are shown on each curve to keep

presented for R ⫽ 10 and R ⫽ 30. The corresponding draw- the ﬁgures clear. All drawdown curves exhibit late time slopes

down curves for a homogeneous T ﬁeld with T ⫽ T g ⫽ 1.0 which are similar to that corresponding to the homogeneous

and S ⫽ 1.0 are shown for comparison. Note that only a small case. In Figure 8d the drawdown curves at observation points

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1018 MEIER ET AL.: JACOB’S METHOD AND HETEROGENEOUS FORMATIONS

2 and 5 at radial distances of 30 unit lengths from the well original T ﬁeld is assigned to its surrounding elements, forming

illustrate the variability in early time pressure response in het- blocks of 3 ⫻ 3 unit lengths. This procedure is repeated for

erogeneous media. Observation point 2 and the well are con- every third element in the x and y directions for the T ﬁeld

nected through a zone of low T, which can easily be recognized shown in Figure 8a. The central domain of the resulting T ﬁeld

in Figure 8b. The drawdown response is therefore delayed with with the increased support scale is shown in Figure 10a. Com-

respect to the homogeneous case. Jacob’s method yields a S est parison with Figure 8b indicates that the main features of the

greater than the formation S because t 0 , the intercept with the original T ﬁeld are maintained. The spatial distributions of S est

time axis of the straight line ﬁtted through the last data points, obtained for the T ﬁeld with increased support scale and for

is greater than that of the homogeneous case. On the contrary, the original T ﬁeld are shown in Figures 10b and 10c, respec-

observation point 5 and the well are connected through a zone tively. The change of support scale results only in minor

of high T. The drawdown response is therefore earlier in time changes of the spatial S est distribution. The increase of support

than the homogeneous case, resulting in a S est smaller than the scale has virtually no effect on the spatial distribution of T est,

formation S. A high 2Y results in greater differences between which is therefore not shown.

the drawdown curves at the same radial distance to the well,

which in turn results in a higher variability of S est and vice 4.3. Test Case 3: Multilognormal Random Field,

versa. The differences between the drawdown curves decrease Effect of Transmissivity at the Well

with increasing radial distance to the well, causing a decrease In the T ﬁelds presented in the ﬁrst two cases the transmis-

of the S est variance with the radial distance from the well, as sivity at the well (T w ) was selected to be equal to T g . In test

the ﬂow process samples a larger number of heterogeneities. case 3 we are interested in examining the effects that changing

This is consistent with the ﬁeld observations of Schad and the T w value would have on the S est and T est values. For this

Teutsch [1994] discussed in section 2. Note that for R ⫽ 10 the purpose, two new ﬁelds were generated by conditioning the

solid line (homogeneous case) is below all responses in Figure simulations on T w values different from T g ⫽ 1.0. The two

8c and all but one in Figure 8d for times later than 200 time new values were T w ⫽ 0.61 and T w ⫽ 1.65. The statistical

units at which the pressure front has already passed the obser- parameters and the random number seed corresponding to the

vation points at R ⫽ 10. This is due to the increased slopes of ﬁrst test case were maintained. Comparison of the subdomains

the drawdown curves (with respect to the homogeneous case) of the ﬁelds generated with T w ⫽ 1.0, T w ⫽ 0.61, and T w ⫽

between ⬃100 and 500 time units. The increased slopes reﬂect 1.65 (Figures 8b, 11a, and 11b, respectively) indicates that only

the relatively low geometric average of ⬃0.8 of the point T the T values at the central domain of ⬃20 ⫻ 20 elements are

values within the annular ring between radial distances of ⬃10 signiﬁcantly changed.

and 30 units from the well. The increased slopes of the draw- The spatial distributions of S est and T est are shown in Fig-

down curves between 100 and 500 time units result in a general ures 11c–11f. The T avg values for the two ﬁelds remain prac-

decrease of the S est values for the observation points at R ⫽ tically unchanged with respect to the ﬁrst test case (see Table

10. In summary, S est values seem to depend not only on the 1). This is in conceptual agreement with the results of Butler

transmissivity connecting the well and the observation points [1988], Butler and Liu [1993], and Oliver [1993], who state that

but also on transmissivities within a certain catchment area methods of transmissivity estimation that use the late time rate

surrounding both the well and the observation points. of change of drawdown, instead of the total drawdown, are less

The spatial distribution of S est and T est and the drawdown likely to be inﬂuenced by near-well nonuniformity. Note that

for the T ﬁelds with 2Y ⫽ 0.25 and 4.0 are shown in Figures the radial trend of the T est distributions, which is similar to the

9a–9f. The following can be concluded from these ﬁgures: (1) one observed for test case 1, may be attributed to applying

The T est values obtained from Jacob’s method are very close to Jacob’s method over the same time range to all points, regard-

T g ⫽ 1.0, which is equal to T effp in multilognormal T ﬁelds (as less of the distance to the pumping well.

discussed in section 3, the radial trend of the T est distributions Noticeable differences between the two simulations are re-

may be attributed to applying Jacob’s method over the same stricted to the S est in the central domain where the input T

time range to all points, regardless of the distance to the ﬁelds are different. High T w results in high S est next to the well

pumping well); (2) the S est values vary strongly in space despite and vice versa. Note that the results within a radial distance of

the fact that the formation S was homogeneous; (3) the spatial ⬃5 unit lengths around the well are considered to be affected

structures of S est resemble each other for different values of by numerical errors due to a poor spatial discretization in the

2Y (see Figure 10c for 2Y ⫽ 1.0), and the variance of S est vicinity of the well. However, our qualitative interpretation of

depends on 2Y ; and (4) a dependence between the heteroge- the simulations seems to be in agreement with the common

neous input T ﬁeld (Figure 8b) and the spatial distribution of knowledge that S est obtained from single-hole hydraulic tests

S est does exist, although the S est ﬁeld is smoother. Note that we can disagree considerably with formation S (a detailed discus-

have also found that results are independent of the integral sion about this topic is given by Butler [1988, 1990]). For the

scale (I) by performing the same test with different values of I. case of S est that is considerably greater than formation S we

expect that the pumping well is situated within a zone of T ⬎

4.2. Test Case 2: Multilognormal Random Field, T est or vice versa. The formation S has then to be calculated

Effect of Support Scale from rock and ﬂuid properties, which is a common practice in

The idea behind test case 2 is to examine what happens when the ﬁeld of reservoir engineering. Note that differences be-

we sample the ﬁeld more coarsely and assign the data as block tween S est and real aquifer S are generally attributed to skin

values. A new multilognormal random ﬁeld with increased effects [e.g., Earlougher, 1977], which are conceptually equiv-

support scale is generated using the T ﬁeld with 2Y ⫽ 1.0 alent to heterogeneities near the well. The fact that the S est

corresponding to the ﬁrst test case, while maintaining 具Y典 and values at the well are highly sensitive to near-well nonunifor-

changing only slightly 2Y and the variogram. The generation mity may potentially be utilized to characterize small-scale

procedure is the following: The T value of one element of the heterogeneity using S est values from single-hole tests at differ-

252

MEIER ET AL.: JACOB’S METHOD AND HETEROGENEOUS FORMATIONS 1019

Figure 9. Test case 1: (a) and (b) spatial distribution of S est for 2Y ⫽ 0.25 and 4.0, (c) and (d) spatial

distribution of T est for 2Y ⫽ 0.25 and 4.0, and (e) and (f) drawdown distribution for 2Y ⫽ 0.25 and 4.0. A

noteworthy feature of Figures 9c and 9d is the very small range of T est values, suggesting that T estimates in

this ﬁeld are independent of the location of the observation points.

ent locations. However, the applicability of these ﬁndings to 4.4. Test Case 4: Nonmultilognormal Field,

real ﬁeld data will strongly depend on several factors fre- Effect of 2Y

quently encountered in ﬁeld situations. These factors include, Test cases 1–3 show that Jacob’s method yields values very

among others, skin effects due to well drilling and develop- close to T g and T effp when applied to pumping test data from

ment, well losses, well bore storage effects, and delayed drainage. multilognormal T ﬁelds. The objective of this test case is to

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1020 MEIER ET AL.: JACOB’S METHOD AND HETEROGENEOUS FORMATIONS

multilognormality of the original ﬁeld were not retained. The

generation procedure is explained by Sánchez-Vila et al. [1996].

We believe that nonmultilognormal T ﬁelds like the one shown

in Figure 12a, having well-connected high T zones, are better

conceptual models for fractured rocks or alluvial aquifers than

multilognormal T ﬁelds. Sánchez-Vila et al. [1996] have shown

that T effp may depend on 2Y in nonmultilognormal T ﬁelds.

Here we examine whether the good agreement between T effp

and T avg obtained for multilognormal T ﬁelds holds also for

nonmultilognormal T ﬁelds.

Radial ﬂow was simulated in three T ﬁelds with 具Y典 ⫽ 0.0

and 2Y values of 1.0, 2.1, and 4.1. The spatial T est distributions

are shown in Figures 12c, 12e, and 12f. Note that the radial

trend of the T est distributions, which is similar to the ones

observed for test cases 1–3, may be attributed to applying

Jacob’s method over the same time range for all observation

points, regardless of the distance to the pumping well.

Table 1 shows that T avg agrees well with T effp but is quite

different from T g at large 2Y . These results indicate that

performing a pumping test and using the slope of the draw-

down curve in the analysis allow a value of transmissivity to be

obtained that is very close to the effective transmissivity of the

area inﬂuenced by the test, regardless of whether the T ﬁeld is

multilognormal. We have observed this type of behavior on

several occasions. The most dramatic is the one reported by

Carrera et al. [1990], who found T derived from a long-term

pumping test to be 20 times larger than the geometric average

of short-term single-hole tests performed in a fractured me-

dium at nine wells at the Chalk River site in Canada. Note that

highly transmissive channels as conceptualized in Figure 12a

are frequently observed within fractured zones. Hence we are

lead to the conclusion that transmissivities derived from long-

term pumping tests are frequently larger than those derived

from the geometric mean of short-term single-hole tests (see

Sánchez-Vila et al. [1996] for a further discussion of this issue).

The main ﬁnding from this section is that an effective trans-

missivity for parallel ﬂow is that obtained from long-term

pumping tests, rather than the geometric average of local val-

ues.

The spatial S est distribution is shown for 2Y ⫽ 1.0 in Figure

12d. Unlike the other test cases, it is difﬁcult to recognize here

a correlation between the input T ﬁeld and the spatial S est

distribution. The ﬁne structure of the input T ﬁeld is not

reﬂected by the S est distribution, which seems to be the result

of a spatial integration. Therefore we conjecture that S est de-

pends not only on the nature of the connection between the

well and the observation points but also on all the Y values in

a certain catchment area surrounding both the well and the

Figure 10. Test case 2: (a) subdomain (100 ⫻ 100 units) with observation points. This aspect is further explored by X.

increased support scale (T blocks of 3 ⫻ 3 units) and with the Sánchez-Vila et al. (Pumping tests in heterogeneous auquifers:

geostatistical parameters of test case 1, (b) spatial distribution An analytical study of what can be really obtained from their

of S est for test case 2, and (c) spatial distribution of S est for test interpretation using Jacob’s method, submitted to Water Re-

case 1 with original support scale (T blocks of 1 ⫻ 1 units) and

sources Research, 1998). Note that the spatial S est distributions

2Y ⫽ 1.0.

for the other 2Y qualitatively resemble the one shown in Fig-

ure 12d and are therefore not presented.

extend our study to nonmultilognormal T ﬁelds. For this pur- 4.5. Test Case 5: Fractal Field

pose, we use ﬁeld number 4 of Sánchez-Vila et al. [1996]. This A log transmissivity ﬁeld was generated having a power law

ﬁeld is shown in Figure 12a. It was generated by connecting semivariogram ␥ (h) ⫽ c h 2 with ⫽ 0.25 and c ⫽ 0.027,

high T values of an originally multilognormal ﬁeld while main- as proposed by Neuman [1990, 1994]. This T ﬁeld, shown in

taining the histogram for the In T ﬁeld and the normality of the Figure 13a, is generated by conditioning on the transmissivity

254

MEIER ET AL.: JACOB’S METHOD AND HETEROGENEOUS FORMATIONS 1021

Figure 11. Test case 3: (a) and (b) Subdomains for T ﬁelds with T w ⫽ 0.61 and 1.65 ( 2Y ⫽ 1.0) (the

pumping well locations are in the center of the subdomain), (c) and (d) spatial distributions of S est for T w ⫽

0.61 and 1.65, and (e) and (f) spatial distributions of T est for T w ⫽ 0.61 and 1.65.

value (T w ⫽ 1.0) at the well. The ﬁeld has a sample mean it is not surprising that some trend can be observed in T est.

具Y典 ⫽ ⫺0.03 and a sample variance 2Y ⫽ 0.74. However, the range of T est is relatively small. The fact that

The spatial T est distribution, shown in Figure 13c, may be T avg ⬎ T g ⬎ T effp (see Table 1) may indicate a problem for the

affected by the spatial distribution of the extreme transmissiv- deﬁnition of an effective T value for our fractal ﬁeld.

ity values which are located at the corners of the large domain, According to the relation given by Neuman [1994], T eff(L) ⫽

as the radial pattern observed in test cases 1– 4 is distorted. In T g exp (cL 2 [0.5 ⫺  /E]), where L is the characteristic

this case, the original T ﬁeld is markedly nonstationary. Hence length of a rock volume which acts as the support for a per-

255

1022 MEIER ET AL.: JACOB’S METHOD AND HETEROGENEOUS FORMATIONS

Figure 12. Test case 4: (a) nonmultilognormal random T ﬁeld with 2Y ⫽ 1.0 (500 ⫻ 500 units), (b)

subdomain (100 ⫻ 100 units) for which our methodology is considered valid, (c) spatial distribution of T est for

2Y ⫽ 1.0, (d) spatial distribution of S est for 2Y ⫽ 1.0, and (e) and (f) spatial distribution of T est for 2Y ⫽

2.1 and 4.1.

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MEIER ET AL.: JACOB’S METHOD AND HETEROGENEOUS FORMATIONS 1023

Figure 13. Test case 5: (a) fractal T ﬁeld of 500 ⫻ 500 units, (b) subdomain (100 ⫻ 100 units) for which our

methodology is considered valid, (c) spatial distribution of T est, and (d) spatial distribution of S est.

meability test, E is the dimension of the ﬂow condition sented in Figure 13b. High S est correspond to zones with a low

(1, 2, or 3), and  ⫽ 1 for inﬁnite isotropic media, 0 ⱕ  ⱕ 1 connectivity to the well, for example, the bottom right corners

for bounded isotropic media, and 1 ⱕ  ⱕ E for inﬁnite of Figures 13b and 13d, and vice versa.

anisotropic media. Using the above relation with our T avg,

T effp, T g , and L ⫽ 700 unit lengths, we obtain  ⫽ 0.82 for

T avg, indicating a bounded isotropic medium, and  ⬎ 1.0 for 5. Summary and Conclusions

T effp, indicating an anisotropic medium. Inspection of Figure 1. Our numerical simulations of pumping tests in aquifers

13a reveals the somewhat anisotropic nature of this ﬁeld. How- with heterogeneous transmissivity T and homogeneous storat-

ever, because the well is located at the center of the ﬁeld and ivity S show that applying Jacob’s method to late time draw-

the extreme T values are concentrated at the corners, the down data at observation points results in a strong spatial

drawdown behavior is similar to the one for a bounded do- variability of storativity estimates S est and in an almost homo-

main. The high T zones at the bottom left and the top right geneous spatial distribution of transmissivity estimates T est.

corners act similar to constant head boundaries, whereas the This is in agreement with ﬁeld observations.

low T zones at the other corners act similar to no-ﬂow bound- 2. Our simulations indicate that S est depends mainly on the

aries. connectivity between the well and the observation points. This

The spatial distribution of S est (Figure 13d) seems to be was suggested by Schad and Teutsch [1994] on the basis of ﬁeld

dominated by the heterogeneities of the small domain pre- observations and is consistent with the discussions of Butler

257

1024 MEIER ET AL.: JACOB’S METHOD AND HETEROGENEOUS FORMATIONS

[1990] and Butler and Liu [1993]. Furthermore, S est values Kansas Geological Survey have helped improve the ﬁnal text and are

seem to depend also on the transmissivities within a certain gratefully acknowledged. The ﬁrst author acknowledges ﬁnancial sup-

port from SATW (Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences) and Nagra

catchment area surrounding both the well and the observation (Swiss National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste).

points. The work of the remaining authors was funded by ENRESA (Spanish

3. As has been shown in previous investigations, nonuni- Nuclear Waste Management Company), 1995SGR00405 (CIRIT), and

formities near the well have no effect on T est. However, S est AMB95-0407 (CICYT). The data from the Grimsel test site were

values vary considerably in the near-well region. A well located kindly supplied by Nagra and PNC (Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel

Development Corporation, Japan).

within a zone of T ⬎ T est results in S est values considerably

greater than the formation S and vice versa. This result has

been documented in the petroleum engineering and ground- References

water literature [e.g., Barker and Herbert, 1982; Butler, 1988,

Bachu, S., and J. R. Underschulz, Regional scale porosity and perme-

1990]. However, these results were mostly considered within ability variations, Peace River Arch area, Alberta, Canada, AAPG

the context of artiﬁcially induced heterogeneities around a well Bull., 76(4), 547–562, 1992.

(e.g., skin effects due to drilling and development). We con- Barker, J. A., A generalized radial ﬂow model for hydraulic tests in

jecture that these results could potentially be used to charac- fractured rock, Water Resour. Res., 24(10), 1796 –1804, 1988.

Barker, J. A., and R. Herbert, Pumping tests in patchy aquifers,

terize natural small-scale heterogeneity (still much larger than Ground Water, 20(2), 150 –155, 1982.

the well radius), using S est values from single-hole pumping Benet, I., and J. Carrera, A code for statistical interpretation of tracer

tests at different locations, provided that artiﬁcially induced tests, in Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on Water

heterogeneities at the well are either measured by other means Tracing, edited by H. Hötzl and A. Werner, pp. 457– 460, A. A.

or are negligible in comparison with natural small-scale heter- Balkema, Brookﬁeld, Vt., 1992.

Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, Interpretation of

ogeneity. hydraulic tests (pulse tests, slug tests and pumping tests) from the

4. T est values show an almost homogeneous spatial distri- third testing campaign at the El Cabril site (Spain) (in French),

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the T est distributions obtained for all test cases may largely be Orléans, France, 1990.

Butler, J. J., Jr., Pumping tests in nonuniform aquifers: The radially

attributed to applying Jacob’s method over the same time symmetric case, J. Hydrol., 101, 15–30, 1988.

range for all observation points, regardless of the distance to Butler, J. J., Jr., The role of pumping tests in site characterization:

the pumping well. However, in the case of the fractal T ﬁeld Some theoretical considerations, Ground Water, 28(3), 394 – 402,

the spatial distribution of T est may also be affected by the 1990.

spatial trend of the input T ﬁeld, although the enormous trans- Butler, J. J., Jr., A stochastic analysis of pumping tests in laterally

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missivity contrasts of the input ﬁeld are smoothed out dramat- Butler, J. J., Jr., and W. Z. Liu, Pumping tests in non-uniform aqui-

ically. Furthermore, the arithmetic average of the T est values fers—The linear strip case, J. Hydrol., 128, 69 –99, 1991.

does not coincide with the effective transmissivity for parallel Butler, J. J., Jr., and W. Z. Liu, Pumping tests in nonuniform aquifers:

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1993.

it should be noted that the concept of effective transmissivity is Carbonell, J. A., and J. Carrera, MARIAJ code for the automatic

only valid for stationary ﬁelds. interpretation of pumping tests, user’s manual, Polytech. Univ. of

5. Transmissivity estimates obtained from Jacob’s method Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain, 1992.

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Carrera, J., and S. P. Neuman, Estimation of aquifer parameters under

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ﬂow on a small fractured monzonitic gneiss block, in Hydrogeology of

Therefore the above conclusion bears two signiﬁcant implica- Low Permeability Environments, Hydrogeol. Selec. Pap., vol. 2, edited

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heterogeneous formations. Second, the problem that a single Hydrogeol., Kenilworth, England, 1990.

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Gómez-Hernández, J. J., H. Sovero, and A. Sahuquillo, Some issues on Neuzil, C. E., How permeable are clays and shales?, Water Resour. Res.,

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Lachassagne, P., E. Ledoux, and G. de Marsily, Evaluation of hydro- 407– 414, A. A. Balkema, Brookﬁeld, Vt., 1992.

geological parameters in heterogeneous porous media, in Ground- Sánchez-Vila, X., J. Carrera, and J. P. Girardi, Scale effects in trans-

water Management: Quantity and Quality, IAHS Publ., 188, 3–18, missivity, J. Hydrol., 183, 1–22, 1996.

1989. Schad, H., and G. Teutsch, Effects of the investigation scale on pump-

Matheron, G., Elements pour une Theorie des Milieux Poreux, 166 pp., ing test results in heterogeneous porous aquifers, J. Hydrol., 159,

Masson et Cie, Paris, 1967. 61–77, 1994.

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Retardation Project (RRP), Results of additional hydraulic testing John Wiley, New York, 1988.

in the migration shear-zone, Nagra Internal Rep. 96-37, Nagra, Wet- Theis, C. V., The relation between the lowering of the piezometric

tingen, Switzerland, 1997. surface and the rate and duration of discharge of a well using

Meier, P. M., J. Carrera, A. Medina, and L. Vives, Inverse geostatis- ground-water storage, Eos Trans. AGU, 16, 519 –524, 1935.

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International Association for Mathematical Geology, vol. 2, edited

by V. Pawlowsky-Glahn, pp. 755–760, Int. Cent. of Numer. Method J. Carrera, P. M. Meier, and X. Sánchez-Vila, Department Enginy-

in Eng., Barcelona, Spain, 1997. eria del Terreny i Cartogràﬁca, E. T. S. Enginyers de Camins, Canals

Neuman, S. P., Universal scaling of hydraulic conductivities and dis- i Ports de Barcelona, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Mòdul D-2,

persivities in geologic media, Water Resour. Res., 26(8), 1749 –1758, 08034 Barcelona, Spain. (e-mail: carrera@etseccpb.upc.es;

1990. vmeiers@etseccpb.upc.es; dsanchez@etseccpb.upc.es)

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Gonzales, Determination of horizontal aquifer anisotropy with three (Received December 31, 1996; revised December 23, 1997;

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WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH, VOL. 41, W11410, doi:10.1029/2005WR004056, 2005

reactive transport problems

M. De Simoni

Dipartimento di Ingegneria Idraulica, Ambientale, Infrastrutture Viarie, Rilevamento, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy

Department of Geotechnical Engineering and Geosciences, Technical University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain

A. Guadagnini

Dipartimento di Ingegneria Idraulica, Ambientale, Infrastrutture Viarie, Rilevamento, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy

Received 23 February 2005; revised 16 July 2005; accepted 1 August 2005; published 8 November 2005.

understanding the fate of pollutants and geochemical processes occurring in aquifers,

rivers, estuaries, and oceans. Geochemical processes involving multiple reactive species

are generally analyzed using advanced numerical codes. The resulting complexity has

inhibited the development of analytical solutions for multicomponent heterogeneous

reactions such as precipitation/dissolution. We present a procedure to solve groundwater

reactive transport in the case of homogeneous and classical heterogeneous equilibrium

reactions induced by mixing different waters. The methodology consists of four steps:

(1) defining conservative components to decouple the solution of chemical equilibrium

equations from species mass balances, (2) solving the transport equations for the

conservative components, (3) performing speciation calculations to obtain concentrations

of aqueous species, and (4) substituting the latter into the transport equations to evaluate

reaction rates. We then obtain the space-time distribution of concentrations and

reaction rates. The key result is that when the equilibrium constant does not vary in space

or time, the reaction rate is proportional to the rate of mixing, rT u D ru, where u is the

vector of conservative components concentrations and D is the dispersion tensor. The

methodology can be used to test numerical codes by setting benchmark problems but

also to derive closed-form analytical solutions whenever steps 2 and 3 are simple, as

illustrated by the application to a binary system. This application clearly elucidates that in

a three-dimensional problem both chemical and transport parameters are equally important

in controlling the process.

Citation: De Simoni, M., J. Carrera, X. Sánchez-Vila, and A. Guadagnini (2005), A procedure for the solution of multicomponent

reactive transport problems, Water Resour. Res., 41, W11410, doi:10.1029/2005WR004056.

[2] Reactive transport modeling refers to the transport of reactions such as dissolution can also modify the aquifer

a (possibly large) number of aqueous species that react properties (i.e., porosity and hydraulic conductivity) [e.g.,

among themselves and with the solid or gaseous phases. It is Wood and Hewett, 1982; Philips, 1991; Kang et al., 2003;

relevant because it helps in understanding the fate of Singurindy and Berkowitz, 2003; Singurindy et al., 2004].

pollutants in surface and groundwater bodies, the hydro- Therefore it is not surprising that numerous general math-

chemistry of aquifers, and many geological processes [e.g., ematical formulations to solve reactive transport problems

Gabrovšek and Dreybrodt, 2000; Freedman et al., 2003; are available [e.g., Rubin, 1990, 1992; Yeh and Tripathi,

Salas and Ayora, 2004; Emmanuel and Berkowitz, 2005]. 1991; Friedly and Rubin, 1992; Lichtner, 1996; Steefel and

Unfortunately, it is complex, both conceptually and math- MacQuarrie, 1996; Clement et al., 1998; Saaltink et al.,

ematically. Modeling reactive transport involves two cou- 1998, 2001; Tebes-Stevens et al., 1998; Robinson et al.,

pled ingredients: (1) the mass balance of all participating 2000; Molins et al., 2004]. The resulting sets of governing

species, which is expressed by the solute transport equation equations have been included in a large number of reactive

for mobile species; and (2) a set of equations describing the transport codes that can handle several species with differ-

reactions among species. The nature of participating species ent types of reactions (see Saaltink et al. [2004] for a list of

and reactions leads to a broad range of possible behaviors of codes).

[3] As opposed to numerical solutions, very few analyt-

ical results are available. These are of general interest, as

Copyright 2005 by the American Geophysical Union. they provide insights on the nature of the solution and allow

0043-1397/05/2005WR004056$09.00 evaluating the relative importance of the involved parame-

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are available in the case of linear and nonlinear equilibrium

sorption reactions [e.g., Serrano, 2003, and references

therein]. Analytical solutions are also available to solve

reactive transport problems in case of (networks of) first-

order kinetic reactions [Sun et al., 1999, 2004; Clement,

2001; Serrano, 2003; Quezada et al., 2004]. These meth-

odologies are appropriate for radioactive decay chains and

for many biochemical processes. However, they are difficult

to extend to geochemical processes whose rates are nonlin-

ear functions of the concentrations of the dissolved species,

or to cases in which equilibrium conditions can be assumed

and the reaction rates cannot be written explicitly.

[4] Because transport times are generally large in aqui-

fers, most aqueous reactions and many dissolution/precip-

itation reactions can be modeled with the assumption of

chemical equilibrium conditions at each point of the

domain. As equilibrium is reached instantaneously, the

amount of reactants evolving into products depends on

the rate at which they mix, which is, in turn, governed by

transport. To illustrate the concept, Figure 1a depicts a

reaction of pure dissolution/precipitation in the mixing of

two waters. The concentrations of the dissolved species, c1

and c2, in both mixing waters satisfy the equilibrium

condition c1c2 = K, where K is the equilibrium constant.

For conservative species, concentrations of the mixture

would be a linear function of the mixing waters concen-

trations, while equilibrium concentrations for reactive

species are governed by a number of factors, including

pH, salinity and temperature [e.g., Wigley and Plummer,

1976]. As a result, it is generally difficult to predict whether

the mixture will precipitate or dissolve, and to estimate the

amount of precipitated/dissolved mass.

[5] In this paper we propose a concise methodology to

analyze groundwater reactive transport in the presence of

general homogeneous and classical heterogeneous equilib-

rium reactions (according to the classification of Rubin

[1983]) caused by mixing of different waters. We analyze

situations where all reactions in the system can be assumed

Figure 1. Schematic representation of a pure dissolution/

at equilibrium conditions at all times. Emphasis is placed on

precipitation process during the mixing of two waters. (a)

evaluating not only concentrations, but also reaction rates.

Concentrations of the dissolved species, c1 and c2, in the

The method is first applied to a binary system, providing an

mixing waters satisfy the equilibrium condition c1c2 = K, K

original analytical expression for the reaction rate in the

being the equilibrium constant. From the conservative

case of mixing-driven precipitation. The methodology is

mixing point (at which the concentrations are weighted

then extended to deal with all kinds of classical heteroge-

arithmetic averages of the input c values), the mixture

neous and homogeneous equilibrium reactions. The com-

evolves toward the equilibrium curve following a straight

plete methodology allows the mathematical decoupling of

line (whose slope is given by the ratio of the stoichiometric

the problem into four steps: (1) definition of mobile

coefficients and is equal to 1 in the simple binary case

conservative components of the system, (2) transport of

presented in the text). (b) Example of the evaluation of

these components, (3) speciation, and (4) evaluation of

(22a). Function u (arbitrarily chosen, for illustrative

reaction rates and mass change of constant activity species.

purposes) and the two factors in (22a) are displayed versus

The method is proposed as a useful tool in deriving further

the distance from the location at which u reaches its

analytical solutions describing reactive transport processes.

maximum value. Note the different scales: @ 2c2/@u2 is

It can also be of practical use in developing, adapting, or

nearly constant, while the term accounting for mixing

testing numerical codes to solve solute transport problems

displays the largest variations.

involving multiple reactions.

[6] The outline of the paper is as follows. In section 2 we

present the mathematical formulation of the problem. constituents at equilibrium with a solid mineral. We derive a

Section 3 is focused on the reactive transport problem in closed-form solution for the mixing-driven precipitation

the presence of a pure dissolution/precipitation reaction. process induced by an instantaneous point-like injection

Specifically, we analyze in detail a three-dimensional of water containing the same constituents of the resident

porous medium with uniform flow carrying two dissolved water, but at a different equilibrium state. Finally, in

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section 4 we generalize the formulation to solute transport where a0a and a00a are the activities of primary and secondary

problems involving multiple reactions. species, respectively; S00ea = I and Sea 0

are the redefined

matrices of stoichiometric coefficients of secondary and

2. Preliminary Concepts primary species, respectively; K is the redefined vector of

equilibrium constants, log K = (S00ea)1 (log K0 Sec log ac).

2.1. Chemical Equilibrium With these definitions and upon assuming unitary activity

[7] Equilibrium reactions are described by mass action coefficients, the mass action law (1) reduces to

laws, which in the case of multiple species can be written in

a compact form as [Saaltink et al., 1998] Sea log ca ¼ log K: ð4Þ

Se log a ¼ log K0 ; ð1Þ When the assumption of unitary activity coefficients is not

where Se is the stoichiometric matrix, that is a Nr Ns justified, one needs (2) to relate activities and concentrations.

matrix (Nr and Ns being the number of reactions and the However, it is still possible to write the mass action law in

total number of chemical species, respectively) containing terms of concentrations. This is accomplished by substitut-

the stoichiometric coefficients of the reactions, a is the ing K with an equivalent equilibrium constant, K*, defined

vector of activities of all species and K0 is the vector of as

equilibrium constants. In general, the activity of aqueous log K* ¼ log K Sea log gðca Þ; ð5Þ

species, aa, is a mildly nonlinear function of aqueous

concentrations, ca, which can be written as

where K* is a function of ca, besides other possible inde-

log aa ¼ log ca þ log gðca Þ; ð2Þ

pendent state variables, such as temperature.

[10] In the following we present all chemical equations in

terms of concentrations, using (4). Appendix A is devoted

where the activity coefficient, g, may be a function of all

to the discussion of an example to facilitate understanding

aqueous concentrations and can be computed in several

of the meaning of the vectors and matrices appearing in the

ways, the Debye-Huckel equation being a frequent choice

mass action law.

for moderate salinities [Helgeson and Kirkham, 1974]. For

dilute solutions, which are frequently observed in many real 2.2. Mass Balances

groundwater problems, the activity coefficients can be

[11] Mass balance of each species can be written in a

assumed as unitary. If some reactions involve pure phases

concise vector notation as

or, in general, mixtures with fixed proportions of constitu-

ents or minerals or gas phases, the activities of the

@ ðmÞ

corresponding species can be assumed to be fixed and ¼ MLt ðcÞ þ f: ð6Þ

constant (e.g., activity is unity for pure minerals and water). @t

[8] Let Nc be the number of constant activity species. We

Here, vector m contains the mass of species per unit volume

split vector a (equation (1)) into two parts, ac and aa,

of porous medium; it can be split into two parts, mc and ma,

containing the constant activity and the remaining aqueous

respectively related to the constant activity species and to

species, respectively. Here and in the following, subscripts c

the remaining species. Vector c contains the concentrations

and a are used to identify the constant activity and the

of species (mi = nci for mobile species, where n is porosity).

remaining aqueous species, respectively. Matrix Se is also

Matrix M is diagonal and its diagonal terms are unity when

divided into two parts, that is, Se = (SeajSec), where Sec and

a given species is mobile and zero otherwise; f is a general

Sea contain the stoichiometric coefficients of constant

source/sink term. The linear operator Lt(ci) appearing in (6)

activity species and of the aqueous species, respectively.

is defined as

Since Nc activities are fixed and (1) can be used to eliminate

Nr activities, we can now pose the problem in terms of Ns

Lt ðci Þ ¼ r ðq ci Þ þ r ðnDrci Þ; ð7Þ

Nc Nr independent activities (conforming with Gibbs

phase rule). Once these are calculated, we would obtain the

remaining Nr activities on the basis of the chemical equi- where D is the dispersion tensor and q is Darcy’s flux.

librium relations (equation (1)). We call as primary those [12] Assuming that the source/sink terms are only due to

species corresponding to the independent Ns Nc Nr chemical reactions and that the system is always at chemical

activities; the remaining Nr species are called secondary. We equilibrium, we can express f as

0 00

then split Sea into two parts, that is, Sea = (Sea jSea ), where

0 00 f ¼ STe r; ð8Þ

Sea and Sea contain the stoichiometric coefficients of the

primary and secondary species, respectively. where r is the vector of reaction rates (expressed per unit

[9] It is convenient to redefine the chemical system so that volume of medium) and Se is defined after (1). We notice

the matrix of the stoichiometric coefficients of the secondary that reactive transport processes also affect immobile spe-

species coincides with the opposite of the identity matrix, I. cies. For instance, while a mineral at equilibrium with the

Mathematically, this is equivalent to multiplying equation (1) solution is not transported, its mass is changed in order to

by (S00ea)1 (a proper choice of primary and secondary species allow the system to attain equilibrium.

00

leads to Sea invertible). As activities ac are fixed and known, [13] A reactive transport process is completely described

we can rewrite the mass action law (1) as by the concentrations of the Ns species, together with the

definition of the Nr (unknown) reactions rates, including the

log a00a ¼ S0ea log a0a log K; ð3Þ Nc rates of mass change of the constant activity species. To

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this end, one has to solve the Ns mass balance equations (6) For this system, Se can be split as

together with the Nr equilibrium equations (4). While the

problem is very complex because of the nonlinearity of the Sec ¼ ð1Þ ð14aÞ

governing system, it can be significantly simplified upon

introducing the concept of components [e.g., Rubin, 1990, Sea ¼ S0ea j S00ea ¼ ð1 j 1Þ: ð14bÞ

1992; Friedly and Rubin, 1992; Steefel and MacQuarrie,

1996; Saaltink et al., 1998, 2001; Molins et al., 2004], as Matrices Sec and Sea contain the stoichiometric coefficients

described below. related to the constant activity species and to the remaining

2.3. Components aqueous species, respectively. Equation (14b) implicitly

identifies B1 as primary species and B2 as secondary.

[14] Components are linear combinations of species [17] Thus the mass action law (equation (4)) for the

whose mass is not affected by equilibrium reactions. Their considered system is expressed as

introduction is convenient since it allows eliminating the

chemical reactions source term in the transport equations. log c1 þ log c2 ¼ log K: ð15Þ

Most of the solution methods for reactive transport prob-

lems mentioned in the introduction are based on this

The equilibrium constant, K, is strictly related to solubility

concept. We introduce the components matrix, U, defined

of the solid phase, S3s, and usually depends on temperature,

such that

pressure and chemical composition of the solution [e.g.,

USTea ¼ 0: ð9Þ Philips, 1991; Berkowitz et al., 2003].

0

[18] Recalling (8), the mass balance equations for the

Recalling that the system was defined so that Sea = (Sea jI), three species are

a widely used expression for U is

@ ðnc1 Þ

U ¼ INu j S0T Lt ðc1 Þ ¼ r ð16aÞ

ea ; ð10Þ @t

components matrix is not unique. The motivation of @ ðnc2 Þ

Lt ðc2 Þ ¼ r ð16bÞ

expressing U by (9) is that multiplying (6) by U, yields @t

the equation

@ ðnuÞ @ ðm 3 Þ

¼ Lt ðuÞ; ð11Þ ¼ r; ð16cÞ

@t @t

where u = Uc is a vector of Nu components. Equation (11) where r is the rate of the reaction (12). The reaction rate

represents Nu transport equations where no reaction sink/ expresses the moles of B1 (and B2) that precipitate in order

source terms appear. That is, components are indeed con- to maintain equilibrium conditions at all points in the

servative quantities in systems at equilibrium. A general moving fluid (as seen by (16a) and (16b)) and coincides

formulation for decoupling transport equations in the pres- with the rate of change of m3 (as seen by (16c)).

ence of kinetic reactions is given by Molins et al. [2004]. [19] In order to obtain the space-time distribution of the

[15] In the following we first solve a simple binary concentrations of the two aqueous species and the

system and then generalize the methodology to deal with reaction rate, we need to solve the nonlinear problem

classical heterogeneous and homogeneous chemical reac- described by the mass balances of the aqueous species

tions at equilibrium. (equations (16a) and (16b)) and the local equilibrium

condition (equation (15)). The rate of change in the solid

mineral mass is then provided by (16c).

3. Binary System

3.1. Problem Statement 3.2. Methodology of Solution

[16] We consider a reaction of pure dissolution/precipita- [20] The general procedure to solve a multispecies trans-

tion [Philips, 1991] at equilibrium, where an immobile solid port process will be detailed in section 4. Here, we start by

mineral S3s dissolves reversibly to yield ions B1 and B2: illustrating the application of the method to the binary

system described in section 3.1 and provide a closed-form

B1 þ B2 !

S3s : ð12Þ analytical solution.

[21] In essence, the solution procedure develops accord-

We further assume that the mineral, S3s, is a pure phase, so ing to the following steps:

that its activity equals 1. With the notation of section 2, [22] 1. Definition of mobile conservative components of

vector ma contains the mass per unit volume of medium, the system: Using (10) for U and (14b) for Sea, yields

m1 = nc1 and m2 = nc2, of the aqueous species B1 and B2

respectively, while mc contains the mass per unit volume of U ¼ ð1 1Þ; ð17Þ

medium, m3, of the solid mineral, S3s. The stoichiometric

matrix of the system described by (12) is this implies that one needs to solve the transport problem for

only one conservative component u = Uca = c1 c2. Notice

Se ¼ ð1 1 1Þ: ð13Þ that simply subtracting (16b) from (16a) leads to the

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equation which governs the transport of the conservative equilibrium conditions, they provide a way to compute

component u = (c1 c2). In other words, dissolution or directly the rate of dissolution/precipitation as a function

precipitation of the mineral S3s equally affects c1 and c2 so of quantities such as the concentrations of components, the

that the difference (c1 c2) is not altered. equilibrium constants, and the dispersion coefficients, with-

[23] 2. Transport of the conservative components: Since out the need to actually evaluate the concentrations of the

only one component is evidenced in this case, one needs to dissolved species. We note that (21) includes the model of

solve (11) for u. Philips [1991] as a particular case.

[24] 3. Speciation: Here one needs to compute the con- [28] Furthermore, equation (22) shows that the reaction

centrations of (Ns Nc) mobile species from the concen- rate is always positive (i.e., precipitation occurs) in systems

trations of the components. In our binary system, this where K is constant. This is consistent with the comments of

implies solving Rubin [1983], who points out that, in the case of the reaction

described by (12), reactive transport processes cannot result

c1 c2 ¼ u ð18aÞ in dissolution of the solid mineral. This is also evident from

Figure 1a. Figure 1a displays another interesting feature.

log c1 þ log c2 ¼ log K: ð18bÞ The equilibrium point can be obtained by drawing a line

from the conservative mixing point toward the equilibrium

[25] Assuming that K is independent of c1 and c2, the line. The slope of this line is equal to the ratio of the

solution of (18a) and (18b) is stoichiometric coefficients and is equal to 1 in our example.

[29] Equations (20) and (22) clearly demonstrate that the

pﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ reaction rate depends on chemistry, which controls @ 2c2/@u2

uþ u2 þ 4 K (equation (22b)), but also on transport processes, controlling

c1 ¼ ð19aÞ

2 the gradient of u. Figure 1b qualitatively shows a synthetic

pﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ example which allows evaluating the relative importance of

u þ u2 þ 4 K the two factors (chemistry and transport) in the reaction rate.

c2 ¼ : ð19bÞ

2 We note that it would be hard to make general statements

about which one is more important, which is consistent with

[26] 4. Evaluation of the reaction rate: Substitution of the the sensitivity analysis of Tebes-Stevens et al. [2001]. One

concentration of the secondary species, B2, into its transport of the most paradoxical features of Figure 1b is that reaction

equation (16b) leads to (see Appendix B for details) does not necessarily take place where concentrations attain

their maximum values. In fact, the reaction rate equals zero

when u is maximum or minimum (i.e., when c1 or c2 reach

r @c2 @K 1 @ 2 c2 @ 2 c2 T

¼ þ Lt ð K Þ þ 2 rT uDru þ 2 r uDrK their maximum value, respectively). In general (see equa-

n @K @t n @u @u@K

@ c2 T

2 tion (20)), the reaction rate depends on both the gradients of

þ r KDrK: ð20Þ u and K. A nonzero gradient of K, for example, can occur

@K 2

when the mixing of different waters induces spatial vari-

ability in temperature or salinity [Berkowitz et al., 2003;

When K is a function of conservative quantities such as Rezaei et al., 2005].

salinity, s, equation (20) can be rewritten (see Appendix C [30] It is interesting to notice that, in the absence of the

for details) as first contribution on the right hand side of (20), all terms are

proportional to the dispersion tensor, D, thus strengthening

r @ 2 c2 T @ 2 c2 @ 2 c2 T the relevance of mixing processes to the development of

¼ 2 r sDrs þ 2 rT uDru þ 2 r uDrs: ð21Þ such reactions. In particular, the term rT u D ru can be

n @s @u @u@s

used as a measure of the mixing rate, which is consistent

Moreover, in the case of constant K, equation (20) reduces with the concept of dilution index, as defined by Kitanidis

to [1994] on the basis of entropy arguments. This result also

suggests that evaluating mixing rates may help to properly

r @ 2 c2 T identify not only the sources of water [Carrera et al., 2004],

¼ r u D ru ð22aÞ but also the geochemical processes occurring in the system.

n @u2

[31] In general, the amount of S3s that can precipitate is

controlled by the less abundant species. Thus we expect

@ 2 c2 2K

¼ : ð22bÞ precipitation to be highest when mixing induces similar

@u2 ðu2 þ 4 K Þ3=2 values of c1 and c2. Mathematically, this is evidenced by the

dependence of the reaction rate on @ 2c2/@u2, that reaches a

In general, the reaction rates should be used to compute the maximum when u = 0 (see equation (22b)). We also notice

mass change of solid mineral. In turn, this would cause a that the rate (22a) increases with decreasing K, since

modification in the medium properties. Here, however, we solubility also decreases (in a system described by (12),

will neglect such changes assuming that modification in solubility is the square root of K).

the solid mass due to transport involves very thin layers of [32] The methodology we have presented can easily be

the matrix [Rubin, 1983] and no significant variations of the extended to deal with solute transport in the presence of

pore system occur. multiple reactions. This is shown in section 4. It is then

[27] The results encapsulated in (20), (21) and (22) relevant to stress the point that analytical solutions for these

deserve some discussion. First of all, under chemical types of systems are possible whenever an analytical solu-

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tion is available for the conservative transport problem (11). where r is the normalized radial distance from the center of

One such case is discussed below. the plume, defined as

3.3. Analytical Solution: Pulse Injection in a sﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

Binary System ð x Vt Þ2 y2 þ z2

r¼ þ : ð27Þ

[33] In this section we apply the general methodology to 2tDL 2 tDT

derive a closed-form solution for a mixing-driven precipi-

tation reaction. Closed-form solutions provide basic means e d is the ratio between the

The dimensionless quantity V

to investigate the physical underlying processes and to volume containing about the 99, 7% of the excess of

analyze the relative importance of the parameters involved. injected mass [Domenico and Schwartz, 1997] and the

Moreover, analytical solutions are potentially useful as injection volume

benchmark for numerical codes and can be of assistance

in developing methodologies for the setup of laboratory pﬃﬃﬃ pﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

e 72pn 2t3=2 DL DT

experiments and procedures for data analysis and/or Vd ¼ ð28Þ

Ve

interpretation.

[ 34] We consider a three-dimensional homogeneous and is a measure of the temporal evolution of the dispersive

porous formation, of constant porosity, n, under uniform effect.

flow conditions. The system is affected by an instantaneous [37] Substituting (26) into (19a) and (19b), we obtain the

point-like injection of water containing the same constitu- concentrations, c1 and c2, of the dissolved species. Finally

ents as the initial resident water. This problem can be used the expression of the local mineral mass precipitation rate, r,

as a kernel for other injection functions. We consider the per unit volume of medium is derived from (22) as

case of constant K. We assume that the velocity is aligned

with the x coordinate, V = q/n = Vix (ix being the unit vector 2

parallel to the x axes), and that the dispersion tensor is 18 ue

r2 exp½r2

nK ð2pÞ1=2 e

Vd

diagonal, DL and DT respectively being its longitudinal and rðx; t Þ ¼ " #3=2 : ð29Þ

transverse components. We further assume that the time of t

2

the reaction is small as compared to the typical time of u0 þ 18 ue

exp 12 r2 þ4K

ð2pÞ1=2 e

Vd

transport (i.e., equilibrium condition).

[35] The reactive transport system is governed by (12),

(15), and (16). The boundary conditions are We notice that the rate, r, vanishes in the trivial case of ue =

0, since the concentrations of the two injected species are

ci1 ¼ ci ðx ! 1; t Þ ¼ ci0 ; i ¼ 1; 2: ð23Þ the same as the resident ones and there is no excess of

injected mass in the solution right after the injection. The

rate vanishes also when V e d ! 1. The latter situation

Initially, we displace resident water by injecting a volume Ve

of solution with concentration ciext = ci0 + cie. In order to describes a scenario where gradients of the component u are

find an analytical solution for small Ve, it is mathematically negligible because of large dispersion effects or because a

convenient to write the initial concentration condition, after large amount of time has elapsed since injection.

equilibrium is reached at the injection point, as [38] To illustrate the features of this solution we consider

the following problem: pﬃﬃﬃﬃ we start with a president ﬃﬃﬃﬃ water

characterized

pﬃﬃﬃﬃ by c10/ K = 0.25 and c20/ K = 4.0 (u0/

ci ðx; t ¼ 0Þ ¼ cie Ve dðxÞ=n þ ci 0 ; i ¼ 1; 2; ð24Þ

K = 3.75); we then inject pﬃﬃﬃﬃ water from an external

pﬃﬃﬃﬃ source,

characterized

pﬃﬃﬃﬃ by c1ext / K = 0.184, c 2ext / K = 5.434

where equilibrium must be satisfied at all points in the (uextp/ ﬃﬃﬃﬃK = 5.25). Equilibrium condition is satisfied when

aquifer. This implies that (1) c10c20 = K, and (2) (c10 + c1e) pﬃﬃﬃﬃ pﬃﬃﬃﬃ

c 1e/ K = 0.066, c 2e/ K = 1.434 (u e/ K = 1.5).

(c20 + c2e) = K. From these two equilibrium conditions, it Figure 2a depicts thepﬃﬃﬃ dependence of

should be clear that c1e and c2e would have different signs. ﬃ pﬃﬃﬃﬃthe dimensionless

concentrations ~c1 = c1/ K and ~c2 = c2/ K on the normalized

[36] With this in mind, we then follow the steps detailed

in section 3.2. The (conservative) component u = c1 c2 pﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ from the center of the (moving) plume, (x Vt)/

distance

2tDL (while z = y = 0), and V e d = 3.5. Dimensionless

satisfies (11) with boundary and initial conditions concentrations (~c1NR, ~c2NR) for the corresponding nonreac-

u1 ¼ uðx ! 1; t Þ ¼ c1 ðx ! 1; t Þ c2 ðx ! 1; t Þ ¼ u0 ð25aÞ

tive system are also shown for comparison. Notice that while

both concentrations are higher than the initial ones in the

nonreactive case, in the reactive case ~c1 decreases while ~c2

uðx; t ¼ 0Þ ¼ ue Ve dðxÞ=n þ u0 : ð25bÞ increases (in agreement with the fact that c1e < 0 and c2e > 0).

[39] The spatial distribution

pﬃﬃﬃﬃ of the (local) dimensionless

reaction rate, ~r = rt/(n K ), for the same conditions of

With this definition, ue is then the excess of the injected

Figure 2a, is depicted in Figure 2b. A comparison of

component u that remains in the aquifer immediately after

Figures 2a and 2b clearly elucidates that the system is chem-

injection. The solution of (11), subject to boundary and

ically active (i.e., the reaction rate is significant) at locations

initial conditions (25a) and (25b) is [Domenico and

where concentration gradients of both species are relevant.

Schwartz, 1997, p. 380]

This implies, in turn, that strong gradients of the component u

give rise to significant reaction rates, in agreement with (22a).

18 ue 1

uðx; t Þ ¼ u0 þ exp r2 ; ð26Þ In general, no reactions occur within the system when concen-

ð2pÞ1=2 ed

V 2 tration gradients vanish. As a consequence, no reaction occurs

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effects rather than a modification in DL. This is so since DT

is not squared in the definition of V e d and is also clear when

considering that dispersion is enhanced along two directions

by increasing DT, while an increase in DL affects only one

spatial direction. We will comment further on this topic in

the following.

[41] The sensitivity of the reaction rate to ue for a given

u0 is presented pﬃﬃﬃﬃin Figure 4, p

with

ﬃﬃﬃﬃ reference p toﬃﬃﬃﬃa resident

water with u0/ K = 20 (c10/ K = 0.05; c20/ K = 20.05). pﬃﬃﬃﬃ

We start by considering the case with a negative ue (ue/ K =

30). The dimensionless mixing volume is set as V e d = 3.5.

The shape of the reaction rate function is displayed in

Figure 4a at the plane z = 0. From the plot it is clear that, at

any given time, precipitation would concentrate in a (three-

~c1, ~c2 and (b) dimensionless reaction rate, ~r, on the

normalized distance

pﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

ﬃ from the center of the (moving)

pﬃﬃﬃﬃ plume,

(x Vt)/

pﬃﬃﬃﬃ e d = 3.5, ue/ K = 1.5, and

2tDL , for z = y = 0, V

u0/ K = 3.75. In Figure 2a, the dimensionless concentra-

tions ~c1NR, ~c2NR are those of a nonreactive system; the

dashed line indicates the initial concentrations of the two

species within the system.

highest (or lowest) concentration values.

[40] Figures 3a and 3b display the same quantities of

Figures 2a and 2b but for V e d = 16. A comparison between

Figures 2a and 3a reveals that the concentration profiles

display a lower amplitude when V e d increases. A larger value

for Ve d (equation (28)) can be seen as an increase either in

elapsed time or in the effects of dispersion for a given time. Figure 3. Dependence of (a) dimensionless concentrations

Thus it is expected that more dispersed plumes are associ- ~c1, ~c2 and (b) dimensionless reaction rate, ~r, on the

ated to weaker gradients of u and thus to reduced precip- normalized distance

pﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

ﬃ from the center of the (moving)

pﬃﬃﬃﬃ plume,

itation rates. This behavior is not observed in the range of (x Vt)/

pﬃﬃﬃﬃ 2tD L , for z = y = 0, e

V d = 16, ue / K = 1.5, and

small dispersion effects (V e d 1), where an increase of u0/ K = 3.75. In Figure 3a, the dimensionless concentra-

dispersion phenomena enhances the mixing process and the tions ~c1NR, ~c2NR are those of a nonreactive system; the

related reaction. This feature can be observed mathemati- dashed line indicates the initial concentrations of the two

cally by taking the limit of (29) when V e d tends to zero. species within the system.

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pﬃﬃﬃﬃ reaction rate, ~r, on the dimensionless distancepﬃﬃﬃﬃ

from the

e d = 3.5: (a) three-dimensional view for ue/ K = 30

center of mass of the plume forpuﬃﬃﬃ0ﬃ/ K = 20 and V

and (b) radial sections for ue/ K = 20, 30, 40, 20, 30, and 40.

The actual location and shape of this aureole is governed

by (29), and would depend on DL, DT and ue. One should

note that Figure 4a displayspan artificial

ﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ

ﬃ symmetry, as

pﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ by 2tDL, while the y direction

coordinate x is normalized

is normalized by 2tDT . Figure 4b depicts radial profiles

of the dimensionless reaction rate, ~r, for different ue.

Because of the symmetry of the solution with respect to

the normalized coordinates, we display only radial profiles

starting from the plume center. Figure 4b is organized in

such a way that while the curves resulting from positive

values of ue are displayed on the larger scale, those arising

by negative values of ue are displayed within the insert.

Figure

p pﬃﬃﬃﬃ that the reaction rate is larger when ue/

ﬃﬃﬃﬃ 4b reveals

K and u0/ K have opposite signs. An explanation of

this is provided with the aid of Figure 5 where, p forﬃﬃﬃﬃ the

sake of discussion, we consider the effect of jue/ K j =

30. From the points reached on the equilibrium curve pﬃﬃﬃﬃ

right after injection, characterized by (cie + ci0)/ K ,

concentrations would evolve until they reach the asymp- Figure 5. Scheme of a pure dissolution/precipitation

totic condition characterized by the same concentrations reaction induced by a point-like injection. The equilibriumpﬃﬃﬃﬃ

as the resident water. In the case of conservative solutes, condition at the injection point is characterized ﬃ jue/ K j =

pﬃﬃﬃby

the paths would be the straight lines depicted in Figure 5 30, while the initial water is identified by u0/ K = 20 (the

as dashed lines. For reactive solutes the path would be initial point is also the final equilibrium point). Dashed lines

along the hyperbola (equilibrium line: ~c1~c2 = 1). From outline the path of the reaction in the case of conservative

Figure 5 we see that there is no symmetry: in the case of solutes. For reactive solutes, the path would develop along

ue < 0 reactive and conservative solutes paths are quite the hyperbola (equilibrium line).

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similar, which is not the case when ue > 0. As a [44] An asymptotic expression for (30b) (see Appendix D

consequence, in the latter case a larger amount of precip- for details) can be derived analytically in the presence of

itation is needed in order to reach equilibrium at all e d) as

large dispersion effects (i.e., large V

locations and times. Going back to Figurepﬃﬃﬃﬃ4b, we observe

that the largest absolute value of ue/ K produces the Ve K u2e 27

largest reaction rate, as a consequence of the mixing of rW ð t Þ ¼ : ð32Þ

t V ed 4p1=2 ðc10 þ c20 Þ3

increasingly different waters, thus inducing significant

gradients of u. Recalling the definition of V e d (equation (28)), expression

[42] Knowledge of the local rate is essential to evaluate e

(32) reveals that, for large V d, the global reaction rate, rW,

the global reaction rate decreases with time proportionally to t5/2. Figure 6 depicts

Z

the dependence pﬃﬃﬃﬃof the dimensionless global pﬃﬃﬃﬃ reactionprate,

ﬃﬃﬃﬃ

rW ð t Þ ¼ rðx; t Þ dW; ð30aÞ e d for different ue/ K and u0/ K =

~rW = rW t/(Ve K ), on V

W 20; bold lines are the asymptotic solution (32), while thin

which is an integral measure of the rate of precipitation of lines with symbols correspond to ~rW as obtained by

the mineral mass of the system at any given time. Here, W is numerical solution of (30b). We observe that ~rW increases

with V e d in the range of small dispersion effects (V e d < 9),

the entire volume of the medium. This information is of

practical interest for experimental applications devoted to since an increase of dispersion effects enhances the mixing

analyze precipitation/dissolution processes, such as those process and the related reaction is enhanced. On the

contrary, ~rW is a decreasing function of V e d for larger

reported by Berkowitz et al. [2003] and Singurindy et al.

dispersion effects (V e d > 9), as the prevailing effect of the

[2004].

[43] In general a closed form solution for the integral enhanced dispersion effects is now a reduction of

(30a) does not exist. Upon using spherical coordinates, the concentration gradients and thus of precipitation. Consis-

three-dimensional integral (30a) can be written as the tently with our previous comments, pﬃﬃﬃﬃ forpsmall

ﬃﬃﬃﬃ dispersion

following one-dimensional integral, effects ~rW is larger when ue/ K and u0/ K have p opposite

ﬃﬃﬃﬃ

pﬃﬃﬃﬃ while it is independent of the sign of ue/ K and

signs,

Z1 !2 u0/ K when dispersion effects are large.

nK Ve =n e 18 ue

[45] We note that the asymptotic solution (32) coincides

rW ¼ Vd 1=2 e

r2 exp r2

t 36 p ð2pÞ Vd with the exact results of the numerical integration of (30b)

2

0

33=2 when V e d 100. Considering, as an example, a medium

!2 characterized by DT = 0.21 m2/day and DL = 2.1 m2/day and

18 u 1

4 u0 þ þ4K 5

e

exp r2 4p r2 dr: setting Ve/n = 1 m3, this means that the precipitation

ed

ð2pÞ1=2 V 2

phenomenon starts decreasing according to a factor t5/2

ð30bÞ after 1 day from the injection. This suggests that the bulk of

the reactive process develops at early time and is confined

As evidenced by (30b) all information related to dispersion is within a region of the domain which is relatively close to

e d. Thus the sensitivity of rW on dispersion

concentrated in V the injection point.

can be analyzed from the following expression, [46] As a final result, Figures 7a and 7b depict the spatial

distribution of the dimensionless total rate of precipitation

@rW ed

@rW @ V @rW Ved DT @rW Z1

¼ ¼ ¼ : ð31Þ

@DL @ Ved @DL @ V ed 2DL 2DL @DT rðx; t Þ dt

0

ert ðxÞ ¼ pﬃﬃﬃﬃ ; ð33Þ

Equation (31) shows that the overall reaction rate, rW, is much n K

more sensitive to DT than to DL. Considering that long- obtained by numerical integration of (29) on the horizontal

itudinal dispersion is often taken to be about five to ten times plane z = 0 for the entire duration of the process. Figures 7a

of transverse dispersion, equation (31) implies that the and 7b havepﬃﬃﬃﬃbeen obtained on the basis of the initial

overall reaction rate would be ten to twenty times more condition u / K = 20, while the boundary conditions are

sensitive to DT than to DL. Furthermore, the input of pﬃﬃﬃﬃ 0

ue/ K = ±20.

solutes is frequently continuous in time and reactants do [47] Figures 7a and 7b corroborates the findings that the

not enter directly into the flow domain, as they are laterally system is active within a region close to the injection point.

driven into it. Both factors would tend to enhance the role of We note that the reaction can be considered exhausted when

transverse dispersion in reactive transport problems. This is Vx/DL > 0.5 and Vy/DT > 2. Considering, as an example, a

particularly relevant in view of the uncertainties surrounding medium characterized by DT = 0.21 m2/day and DL =

the actual values of transverse dispersion. While some argue 2.1 m2/day, setting Ve/n = 1 m3 and V = 0.5 m/day, this

that transverse dispersion tends to zero in three-dimensional means that the precipitation process is negligible for x >

domains for large travel times [Dagan, 1989], others 2.1 m and y > 0.85 m.

[Neuman and Zhang, 1990; Zhang and Neuman, 1990;

Attinger et al., 2004] show that this is not the case, thus

corroborating the idea that the actual transverse dispersion is 4. Generalization of the Methodology of Solution

linked to the interplay between spatial heterogeneity and [48] We now extend the methodology illustrated in

time fluctuations of velocity [Cirpka and Attinger, 2003; section 3 to describe multispecies transport processes in

Dentz and Carrera, 2003]. the presence of generic homogeneous and classical hetero-

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W11410 DE SIMONI ET AL.: MULTICOMPONENT REACTIVE TRANSPORT PROBLEMS W11410

species are mobile, so that mass balances (equation (6)) for

dissolved and constant activity species are expressed as

@ ðnca Þ

¼ Lt ðca Þ þ STea r ð34aÞ

@t

@ ðmc Þ

¼ Mc Lt ðmc Þ þ STec r; ð34bÞ

@t

where matrix Mc is diagonal and its diagonal terms equal 1

when a given constant activity species is mobile or zero

otherwise. Our aim is to evaluate the concentrations of

dissolved species, ca (Ns Nc unknowns) and the rates of

the reactions, r (Nr unknowns). Once r is known, (34b)

provides the rates of mass change of the constant activity

species. In order to calculate ca and r, we need to solve the

algebraic-differential system given by the Ns Nc partial

differential equations of transport for ca (equation (34a))

and the Nr nonlinear algebraic equilibrium conditions

(equation (4)). The general methodology of solution of this

Figure 6. Dependence of the dimensionless global reac- system of equations is detailed in the following.

tion rate, ~rW, on pthe

ﬃﬃﬃﬃ dimensionless e d,

pﬃﬃﬃﬃ dispersive volume, V

for different ue/ K and u0/ K = 20. Thin lines with 4.1. Step 1: Definition of Mobile

symbols correspond to ~rW as obtained by numerical Conservative Components

integration of (30b); thick lines correspond to the [49] The first step of the methodology consists of defin-

asymptotic solution (32). ing the chemical system (species and reactions, that is, the

stoichiometric matrix of (1)) and reducing the number of

equations describing transport of dissolved species by

eliminating the source term in (34a). To this end, we use

the components matrix, U, defined by (9).

4.2. Step 2: Transport of Components

[50] Since components are conservative, equation (11)

can be used to describe their transport. The initial and/or

Figure 7. Spatial distribution of the dimensionless total rate of precipitation, ~rt, as obtained pﬃﬃﬃﬃ by

numerical

pﬃﬃﬃﬃ integration of (29) ﬃ the horizontal plane z = 0 during the entire process, for u0/ K = 20,

pﬃﬃﬃon

(a) ue/ K = 20 and (b) ue/ K = 20.

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W11410 DE SIMONI ET AL.: MULTICOMPONENT REACTIVE TRANSPORT PROBLEMS W11410

boundary conditions for (11) are given by u0 = Uc0, c0 Substituting the functional dependences of (36b) into (37),

being the vector of initial and/or boundary species concen- it is possible to evaluate the rates of the reactions (see

trations. Since the reaction sink/source terms have been Appendix E for details). The rate of the mth reaction (we

eliminated, all components are independent. Moreover, the switch temporarily to index notation to avoid ambiguities) is

resulting transport equation is identical for all components, given by

the only difference being in the boundary conditions. Only

in some particular cases (such as in the example of rm X Nr

@c00am @Kp

¼ V rKp þ r DrKp

section 3.3) a closed-form analytical solution is possible. n p¼1

@Kp @t

Otherwise, any conventional transport simulator can be XNu X XNu X

Nu

@ 2 c00am T Nr

@ 2 c00am T

used. The underlying hypotheses are that (1) the mobile þ r ui Druj þ 2 r ui DrKq

species are subject to the same advective flow field and i¼1 j¼1

@u i @u j i¼1 q¼1

@u i @Kq

(2) the same dispersion processes apply to all species, with XNr XNr

@ 2 c00am

equal dispersion coefficients. Other than that, the formula- þ rT Kp DrKq : ð38Þ

p¼1 q¼1

@Kp @Kq

tion does not impose any additional restrictions on the

nature of flow. That is, flow can be steady or transient,

saturated or unsaturated, single phase or multiphase, and This equation can be simplified when K is a function of

temperature may be constant or variable. state variables satisfying nonreactive transport equation

(recall equation (21)) and, especially, when K is constant.

4.3. Step 3: Speciation The latter condition leads to

[51] This step is devoted to evaluating the concentrations rm X Nu XNu

@ 2 c00am T

of the Ns Nc aqueous species, ca. The components, ¼ r ui Druj : ð39Þ

n @ui @uj

computed in step 2, provide N u = Ns Nc Nr equations. i¼1 j¼1

The mass action law for each reaction provides the remain-

Reverting to vector notation, (39) can then be expressed as

ing Nr equations. Thus one needs to solve the nonlinear

algebraic system

r ¼ nHrT u D ru; ð40Þ

u ¼ Uca ð35aÞ

where H is the vector of Hessian matrices (a third-order

log c00a ¼ S0ea log c0a log K: ð35bÞ tensor) of the reactions (as represented by the corresponding

secondary species) with respect to the components.

It is clear that the system is nonlinear, both explicitly [53] The rate of mass change of constant activity species

(simultaneous linear dependence on ca and log ca) and is then obtained by substituting the reaction rates into the

implicitly (in general, K may depend on activity coefficients corresponding mass balance equations (34b). In the case of

and thus be a nonlinear function of ca, as discussed in immobile species (minerals subject to precipitation or dis-

section 2.1). The solution of this system can be very solution), the rate of mass change is given directly by the

complex. However, in some geochemical problems (such as reaction rate. Knowledge of these rates of solid mass change

the binary system of section 3) it is possible to derive an is of particular interest, since it is a prerequisite to estimate

analytical solution. Formally, one can substitute (35b) into the characteristic time of changes in medium properties

(35a), obtaining Nu nonlinear algebraic equations for c0a. [Wood and Hewett, 1982; Philips, 1991].

Their solution renders c0a, as a function of u and K, which is [54] When the constant activity species are mobile (e.g.,

then substituted in (35b) to obtain c00a. In summary, we can dissolved gases or some colloids), the formulation is still

write valid but more complex, as one would need to use the

complete equation (34b) to obtain the reaction rate. If the

c0a ¼ c0a ðu; KÞ ð36aÞ species is water, then one is rarely interested in finding its

concentration, other than in special cases, such as in the

c00a ¼ c00a ðu; KÞ: ð36bÞ

presence of osmotic effects. In such cases our formulation is

still valid, but water would not be a constant activity species

anymore.

4.4. Step 4: Evaluation of Reaction Rates and 4.5. Additional Considerations

Mass Change of Constant Activity Species

[55] As previously pointed out, a key feature of our

[52] Here, we substitute the concentrations computed in methodology is that it allows obtaining concentrations of

step 3 into the mass balance equations to obtain the Nr solutes and reaction rates independently of constant activity

reaction rates. We recall (section 2) that each equilibrium species.

reaction yields a secondary species and that the [56] As compared to existing formulations proposed in

corresponding transport equation solely depends on its the literature to solve multispecies transport processes in the

reaction rate, as the redefined matrix of the stoichiometric presence of a generic number of homogeneous and classical

coefficients of the secondary aqueous species coincides with heterogeneous reactions [Rubin, 1990, 1992; Friedly and

the opposite of the identity matrix, I. Therefore, considering Rubin, 1992; Steefel and MacQuarrie, 1996; Saaltink et al.,

the Nr transport equations of the secondary species leads to 1998, 2001; Molins et al., 2004], our method is simpler and

more concise. It allows eliminating constant concentration

@ n c00a species from the beginning, thus simplifying the formula-

r ¼ Lt c00a : ð37Þ

@t tion from the outset.

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W11410 DE SIMONI ET AL.: MULTICOMPONENT REACTIVE TRANSPORT PROBLEMS W11410

[57] The method leads to general expressions for reaction [64] 5. The general expression provided for the reaction

rates. The latter should then be used to compute the mass rates highlights that mixing processes control equilibrium

change of solid mineral, which may induce modifications in reaction rates and evidences the possibility of inducing

the medium properties. Here we neglect such changes and reaction by simply mixing waters at different equilibrium

assume that modifications in solid mass due to transport conditions. This type of mixing-driven chemical reactions

involve very thin layers of the matrix [Rubin, 1983] and no can help in explaining the enhancement of reaction pro-

significant variations of the pore system occur. In many cesses observed when different solutions mix in carbonate

practical problems minerals may appear (in response to the systems [Gabrovšek and Dreybrodt, 2000; Corbella et al.,

changes caused by mixing and reactions) or disappear (by 2003; Rezaei et al., 2005].

being totally dissolved) in zones of the flow domain. This [65] 6. We applied the general methodology to a binary

can be handled by defining different chemical systems in system and derived an original closed-form analytical

each zone. Unfortunately, this would lead to severe math- solution of a mixing-driven precipitation reaction induced

ematical complications. by a pulse injection in a three-dimensional homogeneous

[58] The first three steps of the proposed method are porous medium in the presence of uniform flow. Our results

similar to those implemented in many computer codes, such prove that in binary systems the mixing process of two

as HYDROGEOCHEM [Yeh and Tripathi, 1991], waters, both of which are at equilibrium, induces precipita-

PHREEQC [Parkhurst, 1995] and RETRASO [Saaltink et tion processes throughout the system. The solution also

al., 2004] (which also includes a detailed list of codes). The demonstrates that (1) the presence of precipitation signifi-

evaluation of reaction rates using (38) or (40) is no less cantly modifies the concentrations of aqueous species, when

cumbersome than simply substituting the concentrations of compared to a nonreactive situation; (2) the features of the

secondary species into the transport simulator to solve for r, reactive process are strongly dependent on flow character-

as implied by (37). In fact, conventional speciation codes do istics and on the difference in the concentrations of both the

not yield the second derivatives of secondary species. Our initial and the injected water; (3) the bulk of the reactive

equations yield valuable insights into the basic processes process develops at early time, thus remaining confined

controlling the rate of equilibrium reactions and allow for within a region of the domain which is relatively close to

explicit evaluations of these rates in cases when an analyt- the injection point; and (4) the overall reaction rates are

ical solution is feasible. more sensitive to transverse than to longitudinal dispersion.

[59] Our work leads to the following major conclusions: Chemical Equilibrium Formulation

[60] 1. The methodology we propose allows obtaining the [66] As an example to help understanding the meaning of

local concentrations of dissolved species and the rates, r, of vectors and matrices employed within the mass action law

the reactions occurring in the system. It also allows evaluating (1), we analyze the system of reactions leading to dedolo-

the rate of change in the mass of the solid minerals involved in mitization [Ayora et al., 1998]. The system is governed by

the phenomena as a function of r; this is a prerequisite to four equilibrium reactions (Nr = 4)

estimate the characteristic timescale of changes in medium

properties [Wood and Hewett, 1982; Philips, 1991]. þ

3 ¼ HCO3 H

CO2 ðA1aÞ

[61] 2. An appealing feature of our method is that it

allows separating the solution of chemical equations to the

mass balance equations of dissolved species. This leads to a CO2 ¼ HCO þ

3 þ H H2 O ðA1bÞ

reduced number of transport equations to be solved, and,

more importantly, deconstructs the problem to the solution

of a set of independent nonreactive advection-dispersion CaMgðCO3 Þ2s ¼ Ca2þ þ Mg2þ þ 2CO2 ðA1cÞ

3

equations.

[62] 3. From a practical standpoint, our methodology is a

very powerful tool in deriving analytical solutions for CaCO3s ¼ Ca2þ þ CO2

3 : ðA1dÞ

multispecies system where homogeneous or classical het-

erogeneous reactions occur [Rubin, 1983] on the basis of

We identify H2O, CaCO3(s) and CaMg(CO3)2s as constant

known classical solutions describing nonreactive processes.

activities species (Nc = 3; one aqueous and two solid

It can also be used to develop and/or simplify numerical

species). As the total number of species involved is Ns = 9,

codes for solving reactive transport problems.

we need to define Ns Nr Ns = 2 primary species. We

[63] 4. As compared to formulations previously proposed

then define H+ and HCO 2

3 as the primary species and CO3 ,

in the literature to solve multispecies transport phenomena 2+ 2+

CO2, Mg and Ca as the secondary species.

in the presence of a generic number of homogeneous and

[67] We write the vector of activities, a, as

classical heterogeneous reactions [Rubin, 1990, 1992;

Friedly and Rubin, 1992; Steefel and MacQuarrie, 1996;

Saaltink et al., 1998, 2001; Molins et al., 2004], our method a ¼ Hþ ; HCO

3 ; CO3 ; CO2 ; Mg ;

2 2þ

is simpler and more concise. Moreover, it permits not only Ca2þ ; CaMgðCO3 Þ2s ; CaCO3s ; H2 OÞT ; ðA2Þ

to evaluate concentrations of dissolved species, but also

provides general expressions for the rates of the system which is written respecting the order presented in section 2,

reactions and for the rate of change in solid mass involved first the primary species, then the secondary, and last the

in the phenomena. constant activity species. The stoichiometric matrix is

272

W11410 DE SIMONI ET AL.: MULTICOMPONENT REACTIVE TRANSPORT PROBLEMS W11410

0 1

Hþ HCO 3 CO23 CO2 Mg2þ Ca2þ CaMgðCO3 Þ2s CaCO3s H2 O

B 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 C

B C

Se ¼ B

B 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 C C (A3)

@ 0 0 2 0 1 1 1 0 0 A

0 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0

0 00

¼ ðSea j Sec Þ ¼ Sea Sea Sec :

to reactants and products of the reactions, respectively. [69] Applying the advective operator to c2 leads to

Multiplying S0ea and S00ea by (S00ea)1 we rewrite the @c2 @c2

stoichiometric matrix so that the matrix of the stoichio- Lt adv ðc2 Þ ¼ ðV ruÞ þ ðV rK Þ; ðB4Þ

@u @K

metric coefficients of the secondary species coincides with

the opposite of the identity matrix, I, and redefine the while applying the diffusive operator to c2 leads to

matrices Sea as

@c2 @c2

0 1 Lt d ðc2 Þ ¼ r ðDruÞ þ r ðDrK Þ

Hþ HCO3 CO2

3 CO2 Mg2þ Ca2þ @u @K

B 1 1 1 0 0 0 C @c2 @c2 @ 2 c2

0 B C ¼ r ðDruÞ þ r ðDrK Þ þ 2 rT uDru

Sea j I ¼ B

B 1 1 0 1 0 0 CC: @u @K @u

@ 1 1 0 0 1 0 A @ 2 c2 T @ 2 c2 T

1 1 0 0 0 1 þ2 r uDrK þ r KDrK: ðB5Þ

@u@K @K 2

ðA4Þ

Substituting (B4) and (B5) into the transport operator (B2),

This last operation has simply implied rewriting the last two applied to c2, leads to

reactions (A1c) and (A1d) in terms of primary species (i.e.,

eliminating CO23 ), so that the last two reactions now read @c2

Lt ðc2 Þ ¼ n ½V ru þ r ðDruÞ

@u

Mg2þ ¼ CaMgðCO3 Þ2s CaCO3s þ Hþ HCO ðA5aÞ @c2

3 þ ½V rK þ r ðDrK Þ

@K

@ 2 c2 @ 2 c2 T

Ca2þ ¼ CaCO3s þ Hþ HCO þ 2 rT uDru þ 2 r uDrK

3: ðA5bÞ @u @u@K

@ 2 c2 T

þ r KDrK : ðB6Þ

@K 2

Appendix B: Reaction Rate for a Binary System

Finally, substituting (B1) and (B6) into (16b) and recalling

[68] Here we detail the steps leading to a general expres-

(11), yields

sion for the rate of the reaction of pure precipitation/

dissolution processes in a binary system (given by

equation (20)). We start from the transport equation of the r @c2 @K 1 @ 2 c2 @ 2 c2 T

¼ þ Lt ð K Þ þ 2 rT uDru þ 2 r uDrK

species B2 (equation (16b)) and assume n to be constant. n @K @t n @u @u@K

Recalling (19b), the time derivative of c2 can be expressed @ 2 c2 T

as þ r KDrK: ðB7Þ

@K 2

@ ½n c2 ðu; K Þ @c2 @u @c2 @K

¼n þ : ðB1Þ

@t @u @t @K @t Appendix C: Reaction Rate for a Binary

System When the Equilibrium

We introduce the advective and diffusive linear operators, Constant Depends on Conservative Quantities

Lt_adv and Lt_d, defined as [70] This Appendix is devoted to finding the expression for

the rate of the reaction of pure precipitation/dissolution, when

Lt ðcÞ ¼ n½Lt adv ðcÞ þ Lt d ðcÞ; ðB2Þ the equilibrium constant, K, is a function of a given quantity,

s, satisfying a nonreactive form of the advection-dispersion

where equation. This could be, for example, the case of salinity.

[71] We start from the general expression of the reaction

Lt adv ðcÞ ¼ V rc ðB3aÞ rate (20)

r @c2 @K 1 @ 2 c2 @ 2 c2 T

¼ þ Lt ð K Þ þ 2 rT uDru þ 2 r uDrK

Lt d ðcÞ ¼ r ðDrcÞ ðB3bÞ n @K @t n @u @u@K

@ 2 c2 T

þ r KDrK: ðC1Þ

and V = q/n. @K 2

273

W11410 DE SIMONI ET AL.: MULTICOMPONENT REACTIVE TRANSPORT PROBLEMS W11410

[73] The derivation relies on the fact that when V

expressed as we can write an approximate expression for the local rate

upon disregarding terms of order larger than 2 (in 1/V e d) as

@ ½ K ðsÞ @K @s

¼ : ðC2Þ

@t @s @t " #2

Recalling the definition of advective and diffusive linear r 2K 1 18 ue

¼ 3=2 1=2 e

r2 exp r2 ; ðD1Þ

operators, Lt_adv and Lt_d, (equations (B3a) and (B3b)), we n u0 þ 4K

2 2t ð2pÞ Vd

split the operator Lt (K) as

Lt ðK Þ ¼ Lt adv ð K Þ þ Lt d ð K Þ: ðC3Þ

n [74] Recalling that

3 pﬃﬃﬃ

r4 exp r2 dr ¼ p; ðD2Þ

8

@K 0

Lt adv ð K Þ ¼ ðV rsÞ: ðC4Þ

@s

integration of (D1) over the domain renders rW (equation

The diffusive operator acting on K provides (32)) as

Ve K u2e 27

@K @K @2K rW ¼ : ðD3Þ

Lt d ð K Þ ¼ r ðDrsÞ ¼ r ðDrsÞ þ 2 rT sDrs: t V ed 4p1=2 ðc10 þ c20 Þ3

@s @s @s

ðC5Þ

By virtue of (C4) and (C5), (C3) results Appendix E: General Expression for the

Reaction Rate

1 @K @2K [75] Here we detail the steps needed to obtain (38),

Lt ð K Þ ¼ ½V rs þ r ðDrsÞþ 2 rT sDrs : ðC6Þ

n @s @s expressing the reaction rates for the general case of multi-

component transport. We start from the transport equations

Substituting (C2) and (C6) into (C1), and recalling that s for the secondary species (equation (37)) and recall that c00a is

satisfies a nonreactive format of the advection-dispersion solely a function of u and K (equation (36b)). Let us first

equation, leads to consider a single secondary species’ concentration, c00am.

Using the chain rule, we express the time derivative of c00am

r @c2 @ 2 K T @ 2 c2 as

¼ r sDrs þ 2 rT uDru

n @K @s 2 @u

@c00a m @ui XNr

@c00a m @Kp

þ2 r uDrK þ r KDrK: ðC7Þ ¼n þn ; ðE1Þ

@u@K @K 2 @t i¼1

@ui @t p¼1

@Kp @t

where Nu = Ns Nc Nr is the number of primary species.

written as

[ 76 ] Application of the advective operator, L t_adv

(equation (B3a)), yields

@ 2 c2 T @ 2 c2 T

r uDrK ¼ r uDrs ðC8Þ

@u@K @u@s 00 X Nu

@c00a m XNr

@c00a m

Lt adv ca m ¼ ðV rui Þ þ V rKp :

i¼1

@ui p¼1

@Kp

@ 2 c2 T @ 2 c2 @K 2 T

r KDrK ¼ r sDrs: ðC9Þ ðE2Þ

@K 2 @K 2 @s

The diffusive operator, Lt_d (equation (B3b)), acting on c00am

Substituting (C8) and (C9) into (C7) and noticing that is expressed as

,

@ 2 c2 @c2 @ 2 K @ 2 c2 @K 2 00

¼ þ we finally obtain X Nu

@c00a m XNu

@ca m

@s2 @K @s2 @K 2 @s Lt d c00a m ¼ r ðDrui Þ þ r ðDrui Þ

i¼1

@u i i¼1

@ui

X 00

r @ 2 c2 T @ 2 c2 @ 2 c2 T

Nr

@c00a m X Nr

@ca m

¼ 2 r sDrs þ 2 rT uDru þ 2 r uDrs: ðC10Þ þ r DrKp þ r DrKp :

n @s @u @u@s p¼1

@K p p¼1

@K p

ðE3Þ

Overall Reaction Rate in a Binary System

[72] Here we provide the analytical expression of the 00 X X

@ca m Nu

@ 2 c00a m Nr

@ 2 c00a m

overall rate, rW (equation (30b)), in the case of large r ¼ ruj þ rKq ; ðE4Þ

e d). @ui @u i @u j @u i @Kq

dispersion effects (large dimensionless volumes, V j¼1 q¼1

274

W11410 DE SIMONI ET AL.: MULTICOMPONENT REACTIVE TRANSPORT PROBLEMS W11410

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X Nu

@c00a m XNr

@c00a m 209, 346 – 365.

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i¼1

@u i p¼1

@K p diagenesis and mineral deposition: CaCO3 precipitation in salt water –

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þ am

rT ui Druj 2002GL016208.

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@ui @uj Carrera, J., E. Vázquez-Suñé, O. Castillo, and X. Sánchez-Vila (2004), A

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@ui @Kq Cirpka, O. A., and S. Attinger (2003), Effective dispersion in heterogeneous

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ðE5Þ 37(1), 157 – 164.

Using (E2) and (E5), the linear operator (7) acting on c00am

Clement, T. P., Y. Sun, B. S. Hooker, and J. N. Petersen (1998), Modeling

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@ui Dagan, G. (1989), Flow and Transport in Porous Formations, Springer,

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@ 2 c00 Domenico, P. A., and F. W. Schwartz (1997), Physical and Chemical Hy-

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financial support by the European Union and Enresa through project Resour.

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