A new solution of transient confinedunconfined flow driven by a pumping well Academic Article uri icon


  • A new solution of transient confined-unconfined flow driven by a pumping well is developed and compared to previous approximate solutions of Moench and Prickett [Moench AF, Prickett TA. Radial flow in an infinite aquifer undergoing conversion from artesian to water table conditions. Water Resour Res 1972;8:494-9] and Hu and Chen [Hu L, Chen C. Analytical methods for transient flow to a well in a confined-unconfined aquifer. Ground Water 2008;46(4):642-6]. The problem is rewritten in dimensionless form with the Boltzmann transform. The nonlinear equation for flow in the unconfined zone is solved with the Runge-Kutta method. Position of the conversion interface is determined with an iteration scheme. This study shows that the confined-unconfined flow depends on three dimensionless parameters that represent the confined-unconfined storativity ratio (aD), the ratio of the initial hydraulic head over the aquifer thickness (fi), and the dimensionless pumping rate (qD). The rate of expansion of the unconfined zone increases with qD, but decreases with aD and fi. Differences between the two previous approximate solutions and the new solution of this study are observable in the estimated position of the conversion interface and the drawdown-time curves. The new solution can be applied to estimate the time for confined-unconfined conversion to occur (critical conversion time), and the time when the pumping well becomes dry (critical drying time). The critical conversion time is found to be very sensitive to the initial hydraulic head. The critical drying time is often much larger than the critical conversion time and may never be observed during a finite pumping period. 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Advances in Water Resources

author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, X., & Zhan, H

publication date

  • January 1, 2009 11:11 AM