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Radial Wells

Ground Water Hydrology

  1. Dennis E. Williams

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.gw1326

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Williams, D. E. 2005. Radial Wells. Water Encyclopedia. 5:407–408.

Author Information

  1. Geoscience Support Services, Claremont, California

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


Radial wells are wells whose screens have a radial or horizontal component. Types of radial wells include collector wells, horizontally directionally drilled wells, and slant or horizontal wells. Collector wells are the most common type of radial wells. The basic components of collector well design are a vertical shaft with horizontal screen laterals. These laterals typically extend up to tens of hundreds of meters and vary in number based on aquifer characteristics.

Radial wells take advantage of natural filtration through aquifer materials, which reduces treatment costs. Maintenance is reduced as the longer horizontal screens reduce water velocity, thereby reducing well head losses and clogging. Furthermore, lateral well screens are able to exploit the maximum saturated thickness of shallow aquifers. For example, up to 500 m of horizontal well screen can be developed in formations that would accommodate only 20 m of vertical well screen. Horizontal directionally drilled (HDD) wells, which are widely used in the oil and gas industry, are now being developed for groundwater applications.

Radial wells are used in applications such as municipal production wells, dewatering operations, desalination plant intake systems, and inducing surface water infiltration for groundwater recharge.


  • radial well;
  • horizontal directionally drilled (HDD) well;
  • collector well;
  • slant well;
  • horizontal well;
  • laterals;
  • desalination plant intake system