A Bayesian assessment of an approximate model for unconfined water flow in sloping layered porous media

Chiachío, Juan and Chiachío, Manuel and Sankararaman, Shankar and Prescott, Darren (2018) A Bayesian assessment of an approximate model for unconfined water flow in sloping layered porous media. Transport in Porous Media. ISSN 0169-3913

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    Abstract

    The prediction of water table height in unconfined layered porous media is a difficult modelling problem that typically requires numerical simulation. This paper proposes an analytical model to approximate the exact solution based on a steady-state Dupuit–Forchheimer analysis. The key contribution in relation to a similar model in the literature relies in the ability of the proposed model to consider more than two layers with different thicknesses and slopes, so that the existing model becomes a special case of the proposed model herein. In addition, a model assessment methodology based on the Bayesian inverse problem is proposed to efficiently identify the values of the physical parameters for which the proposed model is accurate when compared against a reference model given by MODFLOW-NWT, the open-source finite-difference code by the U.S. Geological Survey. Based on numerical results for a representative case study, the ratio of vertical recharge rate to hydraulic conductivity emerges as a key parameter in terms of model accuracy so that, when appropriately bounded, both the proposed model and MODFLOW-NWT provide almost identical results.