An Overview of Methods to Delineate Capture Zones of Pumping Wells

by Benjamin Levy, ENSR Consulting and Engineering, Acton, United States,
Kim Henry, ENSR Consulting and Engineering, Acton, United States,
Christian Hiller, ENSR Consulting and Engineering, Acton, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


Rainfall over the surface area of an unconfined aquifer, which contributes flow to a pumping well under Dupuit conditions, was estimated. Using a two-dimensional analytical model with uniformly-distributed recharge, the capture zone area for the pumping well was calculated from the stagnation point to an up-gradient no-flow boundary. As the model predicts, the capture zone area is elliptically shaped. This prediction is different from the capture zone areas based on other formulations. A formulation for an infinite flow domain without recharge predicts a U-shaped capture zone extending upgradient to infinity. A formulation for a finite flow domain with recharge and linear regional groundwater contours predicts a bell-shaped capture zone extending up-gradient to the no-flow boundary. Based on the comparison, the two-dimensional analytical model, which accounts for both recharge and a non-uniform, non-linear flow regime, provides the greatest flexibility in predicting capture zones.

Subject Headings: Two-dimensional models | Pumps | Wells (water) | Two-dimensional flow | Nonuniform flow | Domain boundary | Numerical models | Hydrologic models

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