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Wells Hydraulics

The Earth is blue for its oceans but green for its groundwater. We use wells to extract water from the ground. In this course we address questions such as:

  • How well tests tell us if an aquifer can provide enough water?
  • How can we use wells to dewater construction sites?
This course is archived
Estimated 5 weeks
3–5 hours per week
Instructor-paced
Instructor-led on a course schedule
Free
Optional upgrade available

About this course

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Groundwater is the water beneath the ground surface. It is a vast freshwater reservoir often overlooked because invisible, yet 1000 times greater than all lakes and rivers. The Earth is blue for its oceans, but green for the freshwater under our feet. Half of the world’s population rely on groundwater for drinking and almost half of the irrigated land now depends on groundwater, a ten-fold increase in the past 50 years. In order to use the water from the ground, we first have to extract it! This course introduces wells hydraulics. Wells are used to provide groundwater for domestic, agricultural or industrial uses. Wells are also used in applications to control groundwater flow and contamination. Pump and treat systems are designed to extract contaminated water before it can be treated. The treated water is released to the environment, sometimes using recharge wells that can replenish aquifers. Wells can also control salt intrusions in coastal environments or the water table level at a construction site.

This course addresses questions such as:

  • How exactly do we extract groundwater?
  • How do we know if an aquifer can provide enough water?
  • How do we model underground flow to wells?
  • How can we use wells to remove water from construction sites or water-logged fields?

This wells hydraulics course starts with a description of steady flow to wells. We introduce the notion of radial coordinates and steady flow to wells in confined and unconfined aquifers. We also introduce finite difference methods to model flow to wells. We introduce transient flows in confined, semiconfined and unconfined aquifers. We use graphic methods and semi-automated methods to calculate aquifer properties from well tests. We also introduce slug tests and their analysis.

After the well and slug tests, we introduce well fields and issues of dewatering. We review the superposition principle and problems of domain boundaries before focusing on dewatering examples. We continue to explore the topic of well fields in the context of extraction and injection wells, with an example of pump and treat design and an in-situ remediation design. We also show an example of a well model in MODFLOW.

At a glance

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English

What you'll learn

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  • Describe the steady-state flow to wells in confined and unconfined aquifers

    • Explain the correspondence between linear and radial coordinates
    • Derive the flow equations for steady flow to wells
    • Build simple aquifer models
    • Apply the flow equations to estimate aquifer parameters
    • Design wells for steady water supply
    • Describe the unsteady flow to wells in confined, semi-confined and unconfined aquifers

    • Explain what well functions are

    • Use graphical methods to calculate transmissivity

    • Compare the (transient) flow behavior in (semi)confined and unconfined aquifers

    • Explain slug tests

    • Contrast slug tests and well tests

    • Choose the appropriate analysis to calculate aquifer properties from slug tests

    • Model aquifers and wells

    • Apply analytical methods to steady state flows

    • Use finite difference methods to model aquifers and wells

    • Use computer models to automate calculations

    • Relate mathematical models to numerical models such as MODFLOW

    • Explain how well fields work

    • Apply flow equations for multiple wells

    • Explain how boundaries can be modeled with multiple (imaginary) wells

    • Plan dewatering systems

    • Interpret pump and treat systems from a hydraulics perspective

Week 1: Steady Flow to well

We start with the description of radial coordinates and steady flow to wellsin confined and unconfined aquifers. We also introduce finite difference methods.

Week 2: Transient Confined and Semi-Confined Flows

We describe transient flows in confined and semiconfined aquifers. We use graphic methods and semi-automated methods to calculate aquifer properties from well tests.

Week 3: Transient Unconfined Flows

We continue to describe well tests in unconfined aquifers to calculate unconfined aquifer properties. We also introduce slug tests and their analysis.

Week 4: Well Fields and Dewatering

We start by reviewing the superposition principle and review the problem of domain boundaries. We then focus on dewatering examples.

Week 5: Pump and treat / Capture Zones and MODFLOW models

We continue to explore the topic of well fields in the context of extraction and injection wells. We show an example of pump and treat design and an in-situ remediation design. We also show an example of a well model in MODFLOW

About the instructors

Frequently Asked Questions

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Does this course require a textbook?

Yes.

  • Fetter, C. W. (2018), Applied Hydrogeology , Waveland Press.

ISBN # 9781478637097

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

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