Analytical Approximations of Well Function by Solving the Governing Differential Equation Representing Unsteady Groundwater Flow in a Confined Aquifer Academic Article uri icon


  • A solution of the governing equation representing the drawdown in a horizontal confined aquifer, where groundwater flow is unsteady, was first provided by Theis and is famously known as the Theis solution. This solution was given in terms of an exponential integral, also called the well function, for which simple and reliable approximations are preferred due to their practical applications. To that end, several approximations are available in the literature, of which some are based on series approximations for the integral, and others are numerical approximations. This study employs three kinds of homotopy-based methods, namely the homotopy analysis method (HAM), homotopy perturbation method (HPM), and optimal homotopy asymptotic method (OHAM), for analytically solving the governing partial differential equation (PDE). For convenience, the PDE is first converted to a boundary value problem (BVP) using a similarity transformation. Comparing the series approximations obtained using these methods with the Theis solution, it is found that the 10th-order HAM, and just three terms of OHAM-based solutions, provide accurate approximations. On the other hand, the HPM-based solution is found to be accurate only within a small domain. Further, the proposed approximations are compared with several series and numerical approximations available in the literature using the percentage error. The proposed methodology provides accurate approximations of the well function by directly solving the governing differential equation in a general framework and thus can be adapted to other practical situations arising in groundwater flow.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Kumbhakar, M., & Singh, V. P.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Kumbhakar, Manotosh||Singh, Vijay P

publication date

  • 2023