This work examines the simulation of stream–aquifer interactions as grids are refined vertically and horizontally and suggests that traditional methods for calculating conductance can produce inappropriate values when the grid size is changed. Instead, different grid resolutions require different estimated values. Grid refinement strategies considered include global refinement of the entire model and local refinement of part of the stream. Three methods of calculating the conductance of the Cauchy boundary conditions are investigated. Single- and multi-layer models with narrow and wide streams produced stream leakages that differ by as much as 122% as the grid is refined. Similar results occur for globally and locally refined grids, but the latter required as little as one-quarter the computer execution time and memory and thus are useful for addressing some scale issues of stream–aquifer interactions. Results suggest that existing grid-size criteria for simulating stream–aquifer interactions are useful for one-layer models, but inadequate for three-dimensional models. The grid dependence of the conductance terms suggests that values for refined models using, for example, finite difference or finite-element methods, cannot be determined from previous coarse-grid models or field measurements. Our examples demonstrate the need for a method of obtaining conductances that can be translated to different grid resolutions and provide definitive test cases for investigating alternative conductance formulations.
Additional publication details
Grid-size dependence of Cauchy boundary conditions used to simulate stream-aquifer interactions