# Flow to Wells (Ch. 5).

Flow to Wells

For scientific exploration

Knowledge of aquifer characteristics

K, S, T, …

For resource exploitation

Effective, responsible aquifer pumping

Maximum sustainable yield

Extent of cone of depression

Connectedness

Others…

Basic Assumptions in Chapter 5
1. aquifer is bounded on the bottom by a confining layer
2. All geologic formations are horizontal and have infinite horizontal extent
3. The potentiometric surface if the aquifer is horizontal prior to the start of
pumping
4. The potentiometric surface of the aquifer is not changing with time prior to
the start of pumping
5. All changes in the position of the potentiometric surface are due to the
effect of the pumping well alone
6. The aquifer is homogeneous and isotropic
7. All flow is radial toward the well
8. Groundwater flow is horizontal
9. Darcy’s law is valid
10. Groundwater has a constant density and viscosity
11. The pumping well and the observational well are fully penetrating; that is,
they are screened over the entire thickness of the aquifer.
12. The pumping well has an infinitesimal diameter and is 100% efficient

Fig 5.2
Compare with next slide
Fetter, Applied Hydrology, 2001

Heath, Ground-Water Hydrology, 1983

Bouwer’s Fig. 4.1
Bouwer, Groundwater Hydrology, 1978

Why does potentiometric surface steepen as it approaches the pumping well? If we
assume steady-state, the flux towards the well at any given radius must be equal. Since
radial flow results in ever decreasing cross-sectional area, the gradient must increase to
maintain the same flux.

A new governing equation
• Predicting drawdown and response potentiometric surfaces involve
predicting the spatial and temporal distribution of h, for which we have
equations.
• Recall the 3d governing equation
• Radial symmetry, resulting from assumptions 6, 2 and 3 allows reduction of
the confined, three-dimensional radial flow into a 2-dimensional problem:
S
h h h h
K K K S
x x y y z z t
¸ _ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂
¸ _ ¸ _
+ + ·

∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂ ∂
¸ , ¸ ,
¸ ,
2 2
2 2
S
S h h h
x y K t
∂ ∂ ∂
+ ·
∂ ∂ ∂

New Governing Equation

When discussion aquifer productivity we
often use the term transmissivity (T) which
is defined as:

so
T Kb ·
2 2
2 2
h h S h
x y T t
∂ ∂ ∂
+ ·
∂ ∂ ∂

New Governing Equation

2 2
r x y · +
2 2
2 2
h h S h
x y T t
∂ ∂ ∂
+ ·
∂ ∂ ∂
2
2
1 h h S h
r r r T t
∂ ∂ ∂
+ ·
∂ ∂ ∂

A New Governing Equation

With recharge through confining layer…

In the next section we will evaluate above
equation to determine drawdown and aquifer
characteristic for

– Transient confined
– Transient unconfined
t
h
T
S
t
w
r
h
r r
h

· +

+

∂ 1
2
2

Transient (non-equilibrium)
Confined Aquifer
Original potentiometric
Q
Observation wells
b
t
1
t
2
t
inf
t
3
-A cone of depression grows until equilibrium is reach. While cone is
growing we use solutions for transient case. When equilibrium is reached

Topic Organization
• Fetter

2 problems

Determining drawdown

Transient confined
• Transient unconfined
– Determining aquifer properties
(K,S)
• Transient confined
• Transient unconfined
• Me
• 2 conditions

Confined drawdown and
aquifer properties

Unconfined drawdown and
aquifer properties
– Transient
• Confined drawdown and
aquifer properties
• Unconfined drawdown and
aquifer properties

• When a well is pumped, drawdown and creation of a cone of
depression develops. Eventually, steady state is achieved and the
cone is stable
– Pumping rate and aquifer properties determine the shape of the
cone

Derivation of the Thiem equation (confined)

Steady state flow to a well in a confined
aquifer

What is the extent of the cone of depression?

What is the drawdown at any distance h?

,
_

¸
¸

·
1
2
1 2
ln
) ( 2
r
r
h h T
Q
π

Thiem Confined
Confined Aquifer
r1
h1
r2
h2
Original potentiometric

,
_

¸
¸

·
1
2
1 2
ln
) ( 2
r
r
h h T
Q
π
Q
Observation wells
b

Thiem Confined

See example page 168

In addition, estimate the extent of the cone
of depression…

Derivation of the Thiem
equation (unconfined)

unconfined aquifer

,
_

¸
¸

·
1
2
2
1
2
2
ln
) (
r
r
h h K
Q
π

,
_

¸
¸

·
1
2
1 2
ln
) ( 2
r
r
h h T
Q
ave
π

The extent of the zone
of influence for an
unconfined aquifer is
small compared to that
of a confined aquifer…
Heath, Basic Ground-Water Hydrology, 1983
Thiem UnConfined

Bouwer’s 4.2
Bouwer, Groundwater Hydrology, 1978

Heath, Basic Ground-Water Hydrology, 1983

Example

A 12” well in an unconfined aquifer has been
pumped at 350 gpm until equilibrium has been
achieved. The well penetrates 108 ft below the
original water table. Two observation wells locat
57 and 148 ft from the pumped well show
drawdowns of 12 and 7.4 ft respectively

A. Estimate K

B. Estimate T

C. What is the drawdown at the pumped well?

D. How large is the cone of depression?

well in a confined aquifer
Theis (1935) equation assumptions:

Fully confined aquifer (top and bottom)

No recharge source

The aquifer is compressible

Water released from storage is
instantaneously discharged with a drop in

Well is pumped at a constant rate

(Be mindful of the differences between confined and unconfined values)
S=ρgb(α +nβ)
Heath, Basic Ground-Water Hydrology, 1983

Derivation of the Theis solution

ANALYTICAL solution to Eq 5.2 subject to
the following boundary and initial
conditions (Eq. 5.12):

h(r,0) = ho for all r (constant piezometric
surface at t = 0)

h(∞,t) = ho for all t (no drawdown at infinite
distance from the well)

Constant pumping rate at the well: Q = 2πrT
dh/dr

Theis Solution
da
a
e
T
Q
h h
u
a
o

· −
π 4
) (
4
u W
T
Q
h h
o
π
· −
Tt
S r
u
4
2
·
) ( ...
! 4 4 ! 3 3 ! 2 2
ln 5772 . 0
4 3 2
u W
u u u
u u da
a
e
u
a
·
1
]
1

¸

+

+

− + − − ·

Domenico and Schwartz, Physical and Chemical Hydrology, 1998

Use of the Theis solution

If Q is constant and S and T are known,
can solve for drawdown distribution in
time: h
o
-h(r,t)

Alternatively, if the drawdown as a
function of time is known for one or more
observation wells, given a constant Q at
the well, then one can solve for T and S
using a graphical procedure using a Theis
type curve.