Using high hydraulic conductivity nodes to simulate seepage lakes

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In a typical ground water flow model, lakes are represented by specified head nodes requiring that lake levels be known a priori. To remove this limitation, previous researchers assigned high hydraulic conductivity (K) values to nodes that represent a lake, under the assumption that the simulated head at the nodes in the high-K zone accurately reflects lake level. The solution should also produce a constant water level across the lake. We developed a model of a simple hypothetical ground water/lake system to test whether solutions using high-K lake nodes are sensitive to the value of K selected to represent the lake. Results show that the larger the contrast between the K of the aquifer and the K of the lake nodes, the smaller the error tolerance required for the solution to converge. For our test problem, a contrast of three orders of magnitude produced a head difference across the lake of 0.005 m under a regional gradient of the order of 10−3 m/m, while a contrast of four orders of magnitude produced a head difference of 0.001 m. The high-K method was then used to simulate lake levels in Pretty Lake, Wisconsin. Results for both the hypothetical system and the application to Pretty Lake compared favorably with results using a lake package developed for MODFLOW (Merritt and Konikow 2000). While our results demonstrate that the high-K method accurately simulates lake levels, this method has more cumbersome postprocessing and longer run times than the same problem simulated using the lake package.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Using high hydraulic conductivity nodes to simulate seepage lakes
Series title Groundwater
DOI 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2002.tb02496.x
Volume 40
Issue 2
Year Published 2002
Language English
Publisher National Ground Water Association
Description 6 p.
First page 117
Last page 122
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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