Strengths and weaknesses of highly parameterized models, in which the number of parameters exceeds the number of observations, are demonstrated using a synthetic test case. Results suggest that the approach can yield close matches to observations but also serious errors in system representation. It is proposed that avoiding the difficulties of highly parameterized models requires close evaluation of: (1) model fit, (2) performance of the regression, and (3) estimated parameter distributions. Comparisons to hydrogeologic information are expected to be critical to obtaining credible models. Copyright ?? 2008 IAHS Press.