American Society of Civil Engineers

Rapid Drawdown of Water Table in Layered Soil Column

by Hong Yang, (Parsons Brinckerhoff, 303 2nd St, 700N, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA. E-mail: yangh@pbworld.corn), Harianto Rahardjo, (School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. E-mail:, and Daping Xiao, (Institute of Foundation Engineering, China Academy of Building Research, Beijing, China. E-mail:
Section: Seepage and Porous Mechanics, pp. 202-209, (doi:

     Access full text
     Purchase Subscription
     Permissions for Reuse  

Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Geoenvironmental Engineering and Geotechnics: Progress in Modeling and Applications
Abstract: Tests of rapid drawdown of water table were performed in two one-meter-high soil columns of finer- over coarser-grained soils. The columns were instrumented with tensiometers for pore-water pressure measurements. The test was started from a saturated, hydrostatic condition and after drawdown the final water table was stabilized at the bottom. The test results show that a segregation of pore pressures across the finer-coarser soil interface began immediately after the drawdown was started. An isolated zone with positive pore pressures formed in the finer layer and the pore pressures dissipated in a relatively slow rate. At the same time, a new water table formed in the coarser layer and dropped to the bottom rapidly. The entire column reached a new hydrostatic condition after several days. The observed behavior was due to the sharp contrast in soil hydraulic properties across the soil interface.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Coarse-grained soils
Drawdown (hydrology)
Layered soils
Water table