Hydraulic tomography, a procedure involving the performance of a suite of pumping tests in a tomographic format, provides information about variations in hydraulic conductivity at a level of detail not obtainable with traditional well tests. However, analysis of transient data from such a suite of pumping tests represents a substantial computational burden. Although steady state responses can be analyzed to reduce this computational burden significantly, the time required to reach steady state will often be too long for practical applications of the tomography concept. In addition, uncertainty regarding the mechanisms driving the system to steady state can propagate to adversely impact the resulting hydraulic conductivity estimates. These disadvantages of a steady state analysis can be overcome by exploiting the simplifications possible under the steady shape flow regime. At steady shape conditions, drawdown varies with time but the hydraulic gradient does not. Thus transient data can be analyzed with the computational efficiency of a steady state model. In this study, we demonstrate the value of the steady shape concept for inversion of hydraulic tomography data and investigate its robustness with respect to improperly specified boundary conditions.
Additional publication details
Steady shape analysis of tomographic pumping tests for characterization of aquifer heterogeneities