A new formulation for steady multiaquifer flow: An analytic element for piecewise constant infiltration

O. D.L. Strack, Taha Namazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper contains a new formulation for infiltration inside domains bounded by polygons and its application to problems of steady multiaquifer flow, using the Dupuit-Forchheimer approximation and assuming vertical flow in the separating layers. An alternative formulation is presented for leaky aquifer systems where infiltration or extraction is given. Existing formulations of multiaquifer flow involve a system of equations that must be solved for the heads in the aquifers. These formulations are abstract, and the relation between the parameters in the solution and physical quantities is hidden. The formulation in the paper aims at linking the system of equations to physical quantities; we have done this in two ways. First, we formulate the problem in terms of leakage potentials, related directly to the leakage through the leaky layers. Second, we introduce the concept of "equilibrated leakage," leakage that is either the result of infiltration or of some disturbance in the flow pattern, such as that caused by a well. The leakage through the leaky layers tends to some constant value far from a disturbance, e.g., a well, or the boundary of an area of constant infiltration. This concept of equilibrated leakage is useful in practice and helps in understanding the distribution of leakage; we explain this in detail in the paper. The study of problems of steady flow in leaky aquifer systems is inspired by problems of groundwater sustainability, where the overall distribution of flow over long periods of time is important, rather than detailed information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7939-7956
Number of pages18
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

Bibliographical note

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© 2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


  • analytic elements
  • groundwater flow
  • groundwater sustainability
  • infiltration
  • leakage
  • multiaquifer flow


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