Uncertainties in Groundwater Transport Modeling

by Eric W. Strecker, (A.M.ASCE), Woodward-Clyde Consultants, Walnut, Creek, CA, USA,
Wen-sen Chu, (A.M.ASCE), Woodward-Clyde Consultants, Walnut, Creek, CA, USA,
Dennis P. Lettenmaier, (M.ASCE), Woodward-Clyde Consultants, Walnut, Creek, CA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Forum '86: World Water Issues in Evolution


Using synthetic data from a hypothetical aquifer, the effects of data availability and data uncertainty were studied by the combined use of a parameter identification (PI) algorithm and the United States Geological Survey's contaminant transport code. The study results found that the accuracy of transport modeling depends very much on the estimates of transmissivity. It was also found that after the installation of a critical number of observation wells, additional data collected over time was more important to better prediction of contaminant plume than adding more wells. The study results suggest that with our present level of data availability, incorporation of uncertainty analyses in groundwater contaminant transport modeling is highly recommended.

Subject Headings: Hydrologic data | Uncertainty principles | Groundwater | Hydrologic models | Model accuracy | Observation wells | Fluid flow | Water supply systems | United States

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