Advanced methods for modeling water-levels and estimating drawdowns with SeriesSEE, an Excel add-in

Techniques and Methods 4-F4
U. S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, Environmental Restoration Program, Underground Test Area Project
By: , and 



Water-level modeling is used for multiple-well aquifer tests to reliably differentiate pumping responses from natural water-level changes in wells, or “environmental fluctuations.” Synthetic water levels are created during water-level modeling and represent the summation of multiple component fluctuations, including those caused by environmental forcing and pumping. Pumping signals are modeled by transforming step-wise pumping records into water-level changes by using superimposed Theis functions. Water-levels can be modeled robustly with this Theis-transform approach because environmental fluctuations and pumping signals are simulated simultaneously. Water-level modeling with Theis transforms has been implemented in the program SeriesSEE, which is a Microsoft® Excel add-in. Moving average, Theis, pneumatic-lag, and gamma functions transform time series of measured values into water-level model components in SeriesSEE. Earth tides and step transforms are additional computed water-level model components. Water-level models are calibrated by minimizing a sum-of-squares objective function where singular value decomposition and Tikhonov regularization stabilize results. Drawdown estimates from a water-level model are the summation of all Theis transforms minus residual differences between synthetic and measured water levels. The accuracy of drawdown estimates is limited primarily by noise in the data sets, not the Theis-transform approach. Drawdowns much smaller than environmental fluctuations have been detected across major fault structures, at distances of more than 1 mile from the pumping well, and with limited pre-pumping and recovery data at sites across the United States. In addition to water-level modeling, utilities exist in SeriesSEE for viewing, cleaning, manipulating, and analyzing time-series data.

Suggested Citation

Halford, K., Garcia, C.A., Fenelon, J., and Mirus, B., 2012, Advanced methods for modeling water-levels and estimating drawdowns with SeriesSEE, an Excel add-In, (ver. 1.1, July, 2016): U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods 4–F4, 28 p.,

ISSN: 2328-7055 (online)

Table of Contents

USGS Techniques and Methods 4-F4: Advanced Methods for Modeling Water-Levels and Estimating Drawdowns with SeriesSEE, an Excel Add-In

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Purpose and Scope
  • Environmental Fluctuations
  • Water-Level Modeling
  • SeriesSEE
  • Applications of Water-Level Modeling
  • Water-Level Modeling Strategies
  • Summary and Conclusions
  • References


Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Advanced methods for modeling water-levels and estimating drawdowns with SeriesSEE, an Excel add-in
Series title Techniques and Methods
Series number 4-F4
DOI 10.3133/tm4F4
Edition Version 1.0: Originally posted December 2012; Version 1.1: July 2016
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Nevada Water Science Center
Description Report: viii, 29 p.; Report Package; 5 Appendixes
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title Section F: Groundwater in Book 4:Hydrologic Analysis and Interpretation
Public Comments This report is Chapter 4 of Section F: Groundwater in Book 4:Hydrologic Analysis and Interpretation.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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