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Three-dimensional hydraulic tomography analysis of long-term municipal wellfield operations: Validation with synthetic flow and solute transport data
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  • Walter Arthur Illman,
  • Yuanyuan Zha,
  • Young-Jin Park,
  • Steven J. Berg
University of Waterloo

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Walter Arthur Illman
University of Waterloo
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Yuanyuan Zha
Wuhan University
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Young-Jin Park
University of Waterloo
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Steven J. Berg
Aquanty Inc.
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This study proposes the utilization of municipal well records as an alternative dataset for large-scale heterogeneity characterization of hydraulic conductivity () and specific storage () using hydraulic tomography (HT). To investigate the performance of HT and the feasibility of utilizing municipal well records, a three-dimensional aquifer/aquitard system is constructed and synthetic groundwater flow and solute transport experiments are conducted to generate data for inverse modeling and validation of results. In particular, we simultaneously calibrate four groundwater models with varying parameterization complexity using five datasets consisting of different time durations and periods. Calibration and validation results are qualitatively and quantitatively assessed to evaluate the performance of investigated models. The estimated and tomograms from different model cases are also validated through the simulation of independently conducted pumping tests and conservative solute transport. Our study reveals that: 1) the HT analysis of municipal well records is feasible and yields reliable heterogeneous and distributions where drawdown records are available; 2) accurate geological information is of critical importance when data density is low and should be incorporated for geostatistical inversions; 3) the estimated and tomograms from the geostatistical model with geological information are capable in providing robust predictions of both groundwater flow and solute transport. Overall, this synthetic study provides a general framework for large-scale heterogeneity characterization using HT through the interpretation of municipal well records, and provides guidance for applying this concept to field problems.
Nov 2020Published in Journal of Hydrology volume 590 on pages 125438. 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2020.125438