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Principles of

Groundwater Flow
Hydraulic Head

• Bernoulli’s Equation

• Hydrostatic Pressure
Hydraulic Head

• Bernoulli’s Equation

v 2
P
+z+ = const.
2g rg
• Hydrostatic Pressure

P + rgz = P0
Hydraulic Head

• Total Hydraulic Head (drop velocity – why?)

P
h =z+ Or h = z + hP
rg

• Force Potential
(driver)
f = gh
• Bernoulli’s equation suggests this should be
constant, but clearly it is not – what’s going on?
How to measure it?

• Piezometer
Validity and Applicability of
Darcy’s Law
• Reynolds Number

• Re = (rvd/m)

• r – density
• v – velocity
• d – characteristic distance
• m- viscosity
Equations of Flow – Confined
Aquifers
• Combine Darcy’s Law and Conservation of Mass

• (Derivation on Pages 126-128 of Fetter)

• Governing Equation

• Transmissivity (average over z direction)


Unconfined Aquifers

• Without a confining upper layer the governing


equation changes a little

• Boussinesq Equation

  h    h  h
K  h   K  h   S y
x  x  y  y  t
• What makes this equation so difficult to deal with?
Direction of Groundwater
Flow
• Potential and Equipotential Lines

• What direction is the flow in


Steady Flow in Confined
Aquifer
Steady Flow in Confined
Aquifer
¶h
q = -K
¶x
¶h
q' = -Kb
¶x
dq' dq
= =0
dx dx
For ¶ h
2

constant =0
K and b ¶x 2
Steady Flow in Confined
Aquifer

¶ 2h
=0
¶x 2

h = Ax + b
Steady Flow in an Unconfined
A quifer
Steady Flow in an Unconfined
A quifer
¶h
q = -K
¶x
¶h
q' = -Kh
¶x
¶q ¶ q'
¹0 but =0
¶x ¶x
  h 
For constant K K h   0
x  x 
Steady Flow in an Unconfined
Aquifer
  h 
K h   0
x  x 
  1 h 2 
   0
x  2 x 

¶ h
2 2
=0
¶x 2

h 2 = Ax + B
1 D Confined vs Unconfined

*
Confined h = Ax + b

Unconfined h = Ax + B
2

Both assume constant hydraulic conductivity K

*Also assuming constant thickness confined aquifer


Groundwater Divides

• Can our equations predict these?


Groundwater Divides

• Can our equations predict these?

  h 
K  h   w
x  x 
Source or sink
Groundwater Divides

• Can our equations predict these?

wx 2
h =-
2
+ c1 x + c 2
K
Groundwater Divides

• If h=h1 at x=0 and h =h2 at x=L

(h 2
- h 2
2) w
h = h1 -
2 2 1
x + (L - x)x
L K
Groundwater Divides

• Discharge per unit width

dh K (h  h )
2 2
L 
q '   Kh  1
 w  x 
2
dx 2L 2 
Groundwater Divides

• Location of GW Divide is where q’=0

L K( 1
h - h 2)
2 2

d= -
2 w 2L
What about 2-d steady state

• Confined

 h   0
2
2

• Unconfined

 h   0
2
2 2
What about 2-d steady state

• Confined

h = Ax + By + C

• Unconfined
1
h = ( Ax + By + C) 2
Sample Problem

• Wells are located at locations (x,y)=(0,0), (15,20) and (10,10)


and the respective head at each well is 15,140 and 8 5. All units
are in meters.

• Calculate the head distribution assuming a confined aquifer.

• Calculate the head distribution assuming an unconfined


aquifer.

• What direction is the flow in for both cases.

• You obtain a fourth measurement at (x,y)=(5,5) where the head


is approximately 50. Is the aquifer confined or unconfined?
Hydraulic Gradient and
Potentiometric Surface
3 well setup

(1) Draw lines connecting wells

(2) Note elevation at each well

(3) Map distances between wells

(4) Note difference in elevations

(5) Find distance for unit head drop


between wells

( )
(6) Mark even increments
q = arctan dh / dy
dh / dx
(7) Repeat for all well pairs

(8) Create Contour Lines


Does this work for confined and unconfined?
(9) Gradient normal to these lines
Hydraulic Gradient and
Potentiometric Surface
• Right Angled Triangle
grad(h) = (dh /dx) 2 + (dh /dy)2

q = arctan( )dh / dy
dh / dx
Final Test
• You are performing a study of fluid flow through the groundwater system underlying a
very large lake. As shown on the next page, you have been provided with five wells which
penetrate into the underlying geology. You have determined previously that the flow
through this system occurs as follows:
• Water moves from west to east in the lower confined aquifer with essentially no flow
between the lower aquifer and the middle aquifer.
• Flow in the middle aquifer has components both in the northeast direction AND
vertically into the upper confining layer (upper aquitard).
• Flow in the upper aquifer is vertically upward from the upper aquitard and into the lake
with no noticeable horizontal components to flow.
• The rate of flow into the lake is 0.05 meters per day. The hydraulic conductivity of the
upper aquifer is 0.01 cm/sec. The conductivity of both confining layers is 3 x 10-5
cm/s. The conductivity of the middle aquifer is 0.06 cm/s. The conductivity of the
lower confined aquifer is unknown.
Final Test

• If you were to compare the


water levels in wells A and
B, which well would have
the higher water level?

• How would you calculate


the water level difference
between A and B?

• Which well has the higher


water level, well A or Well
Q?
Direction of Groundwater
Flow
What if anisotropic?? Kx is not the same as Ky (Kz)

Transform in to equivalent isotropic case


Direction of Groundwater
Flow
What if anisotropic?? Procedure