Boundary condition effects on maximum groundwater withdrawal in coastal aquifers

Chunhui Lu, Yiming Chen, Jian Luo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Prevention of sea water intrusion in coastal aquifers subject to groundwater withdrawal requires optimization of well pumping rates to maximize the water supply while avoiding sea water intrusion. Boundary conditions and the aquifer domain size have significant influences on simulating flow and concentration fields and estimating maximum pumping rates. In this study, an analytical solution is derived based on the potential-flow theory for evaluating maximum groundwater pumping rates in a domain with a constant hydraulic head landward boundary. An empirical correction factor, which was introduced by Pool and Carrera (2011) to account for mixing in the case with a constant recharge rate boundary condition, is found also applicable for the case with a constant hydraulic head boundary condition, and therefore greatly improves the usefulness of the sharp-interface analytical solution. Comparing with the solution for a constant recharge rate boundary, we find that a constant hydraulic head boundary often yields larger estimations of the maximum pumping rate and when the domain size is five times greater than the distance between the well and the coastline, the effect of setting different landward boundary conditions becomes insignificant with a relative difference between two solutions less than 2.5%. These findings can serve as a preliminary guidance for conducting numerical simulations and designing tank-scale laboratory experiments for studying groundwater withdrawal problems in coastal aquifers with minimized boundary condition effects.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)386-393
    Number of pages8
    JournalGroundwater
    Volume50
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2012

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