Basic concepts are illustrated for the display of ground water level recession as a linear plot on a semilog graph, as first described by Rorabaugh. This exponential decay function can be achieved if there is a definable outflow boundary such as a lake or river and if water levels are expressed relative to the altitude of the boundary. The model can be used to estimate aquifer hydraulic diffusivity. Concepts are illustrated using three finite-difference simulations. One represents the ideal case as described by Rorabaugh, in which the altitude of the outflow boundary is uniform along its length. Another simulation includes a sloping boundary with simple geometry and demonstrates that the model can be used accurately. Based on this simulation, it appears that the ground water level must be expressed relative to the closest point on the outflow boundary. The third simulation includes a sloping boundary and complex boundary shape, and demonstrates departures from the linear model of recession and errors in the estimate of hydraulic diffusivity. Another cause of nonlinearity is the instability of the ground water head profile soon after a recharge event. The nature of these early-time departures will vary depending on the location of the water level observation site relative to the outflow boundary and the hydrologic divide of the ground water flow system. ?? 2006 National Ground Water Association.
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Basic concepts for the linear model of ground water level recession