Error analysis of a multi-cell groundwater model

E. Rozos, and D. Koutsoyiannis, Error analysis of a multi-cell groundwater model, Journal of Hydrology, 392 (1-2), 22–30, 2010.



The basic advantages of the multi-cell groundwater models are the parsimony, speed, and simplicity that make them ideal for hydrological applications, particularly when data are insufficient and/or repeated simulations are needed. However, the multi-cell models, in their basic version, are conceptual models and their parameters do not have physical meaning. This disadvantage may be overcome by the Narasimhan and Witherspoon’s integrated finite difference method, which, however, demands that the cells’ geometry conforms to the equipotential and no-flow lines. This restriction cannot be strictly satisfied in every application. Particularly in transient conditions, a mesh with static geometry cannot conform constantly to the varying flow kinematics. In this study, we analyse the error when this restriction is not strictly satisfied and we identify the contribution of this error to the overall error of a multi-cell model. The study is experimental based on a synthetic aquifer with characteristics carefully selected so as to be representative of real-world situations, but obviously the results of these investigations cannot be generalized to every type of aquifer. Nonetheless these results indicate that the error due to non-conformity to the aforementioned restriction plays a minor role in the overall model error and that the overall error of the multi-cell models with conditionally designed cells is comparable to the error of finite difference models with much denser discretization. Therefore the multi-cell models should be considered as an alternative option, especially in the cases where a discretization with a flexible mesh is indicated or in the cases where repeated model runs are required.

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Our works referenced by this work:

1. D. Koutsoyiannis, A generalized mathematical framework for stochastic simulation and forecast of hydrologic time series, Water Resources Research, 36 (6), 1519–1533, doi:10.1029/2000WR900044, 2000.
2. N. Theodoratos, Stochastic simulation of two-dimensional random fields with preservation of persistence, Diploma thesis, 69 pages, Department of Water Resources, Hydraulic and Maritime Engineering – National Technical University of Athens, Athens, July 2004.
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4. E. Rozos, and D. Koutsoyiannis, A multicell karstic aquifer model with alternative flow equations, Journal of Hydrology, 325 (1-4), 340–355, 2006.
5. A. Efstratiadis, I. Nalbantis, A. Koukouvinos, E. Rozos, and D. Koutsoyiannis, HYDROGEIOS: A semi-distributed GIS-based hydrological model for modified river basins, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 12, 989–1006, doi:10.5194/hess-12-989-2008, 2008.

Our works that reference this work:

1. I. Nalbantis, A. Efstratiadis, E. Rozos, M. Kopsiafti, and D. Koutsoyiannis, Holistic versus monomeric strategies for hydrological modelling of human-modified hydrosystems, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 15, 743–758, doi:10.5194/hess-15-743-2011, 2011.
2. E. Rozos, and D. Koutsoyiannis, Assessing the error of geometry-based discretizations in groundwater modelling, Facets of Uncertainty: 5th EGU Leonardo Conference – Hydrofractals 2013 – STAHY 2013, Kos Island, Greece, doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.17320.37120, European Geosciences Union, International Association of Hydrological Sciences, International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, 2013.
3. E. Rozos, Ε. Akylas, and A. D. Koussis, An automated inverse method for slug tests – over-damped case – in confined aquifers, Hydrological Sciences Journal, doi:10.1080/02626667.2014.892207, 2015.

Works that cite this document: View on Google Scholar or ResearchGate

Other works that reference this work (this list might be obsolete):

1. #SIRRIMED (Sustainable use of irrigation water in the Mediterranean Region), D4.2 and D5.2 Report on Models to be Implemented in the District Information Systems (DIS) and Watershed Information Systems (WIS), 95 pp., Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, 2011.
2. Muhammed Ernur AKINER, (2014) Developing a Groundwater Model for the Town of Amherst, OURNAL OF ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES, Vol 2, No 4.
3. Doddema, L., The influence of reservoir heterogeneities on geothermal doublet performance, 2012
4. Nguyen, V. T., and J. Dietrich, Modification of the SWAT model to simulate regional groundwater flow using a multi-cell aquifer, Hydrological Processes, doi:10.1002/hyp.11466, 2018.

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