Groundwater - Data Processing

01-22-2015 08:45 AM
New Contributor II


I'm looking for some tools and resources that are for Groundwater modelling. In particular I'm looking for a script (python) or model for calculating  a Zone of Contribution to a Discharging Well 3d polygon.  Does such a tool exist?

Direction on any other useful resources would be appreciated also.

any help would be hugely appreciated.


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2 Replies
MVP Frequent Contributor

Just some general insight:

On the ArcGIS side, there seem to be only limited tools for Groundwater analysis.  For example, the Spatial Analyst Extension has some, but it is limited as it is not fully 3D.

GIS for Water Resources - Ground Water

When I worked with Hydrologists and Engineers several years ago on groundwater investigations and remediation when I was in the Hazardous Materials world, it seems like they had a wide variety of non-GIS tools to model groundwater.  We'd work on integrating the data in CAD or GIS, then export it to their non-GIS models for analysis.

At that time, it seems like the tools were evolving rapidly and new ones were appearing all the time.

Hopefully someone who is current on the topic can post what the current ones are here.

Chris Donohue, GISP

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Regular Contributor


How do you define your " a Zone of Contribution to a Discharging Well"?  Is it the same as Item 3 (below)?

If so, have you tried Arc Hydro Groundwater Tools?

look at the link at

Terminology Used in Studies of the Source of Water to Wells Under Steady-State Conditions


Carolyn L. Wakelee
Office of Ground Water, WRD

U.S. Geological Survey
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr.
Mail Stop 411
Reston, Virginia 20192
Phone: 703/648-5001
Fax: 703/648-6693

1. The "area contributing recharge to a discharging well" for three-dimensional systems, is defined as the surface area on the three-dimensional boundary of the ground-water system that delineates the location of the water entering the ground-water system that eventually flows to the well and discharges (modified from Reilly and Pollock, 1993). This boundary is usually located on the water table and along surface-water boundary features. However, depending upon the definition of the ground-water system under investigation, it can be located along any boundary. For example, a continuous confining unit might be considered the boundary for a study of an isolated confined aquifer system.

2. The "zone of contribution to a discharging well" (or the shorter form "zone of contribution") is defined as the three-dimensional volumetric part of an aquifer through which ground water flows to a ischarging well from the area contributing recharge (modified from Morrissey, 1989). The zone of contribution can be visualized as a three-dimensional streamtube through the aquifer.

3. A term that is related to the "zone of contribution to a discharging well" is the projection of the three-dimensional volume of water flowing to a discharging well to a two-dimensional map or cross-sectional view. The areal projection may be important because of concerns about the potential for sources of contamination above the zone of contribution to enter the zone of contribution; for example, such sources of contamination might be dense non-aqueous fluids or short-circuiting long-screened wells. We recommend using the term, "areal extent of the zone of contribution to a discharging well" to clearly state that the two-dimensional map area is the projection of the three-dimensional volume of water flowing to a discharging well. Similarly, for cross-sectional views, we recommend that the view be simply identified as a "cross-sectional view of the zone of contribution to a discharging well."

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