Groundwater flow models have become almost a routine tool of the practicing hydrologist. Yet, surprisingly little attention has been given to true verification analysis of studies using these models. This paper examines predictions for 1982 of water-level declines and streamflow depletions that were made in 1965 using an electric analog groundwater model of the Blue River basin in southeastern Nebraska. Analysis of the model's predictions suggests that the analog model used too low an estimate of net groundwater withdrawals, yet overestimated water-level declines. The model predicted that almost all of the net groundwater pumpage would come from storage in the Pleistocene aquifer within the Blue River basin. It appears likely that the model underestimated the contributions of other sources of water to the pumpage, and that the aquifer storage coefficients used in the model were too low. There is some evidence that groundwater pumpage has had a greater than predicted effect on streamflow. Considerable uncertainty about the basic conceptualization of the hydrology of the Blue River basin greatly limits the reliability of groundwater models developed for the basin. The paper concludes with general perspectives on groundwater modeling gained from this post-audit analysis. ?? 1986.
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Groundwater model of the Blue River basin, Nebraska-Twenty years later