• artesian springs;
  • piezometer;
  • stream-aquifer interaction;
  • groundwater;
  • Modflow;
  • sediment temperature


Artesian springs are localized aquifer outlets that originate when pressurized ground water is allowed to rise to the surface. Computing artesian discharge directly is often subject to practical difficulties such as restricted accessibility, abundant vegetation or slow flow rates. These circumstances call for indirect approaches to quantify flow. This paper presents a method to estimate ground water discharge through an upwelling spring by means of a three-layer steady-state groundwater flow model. Model inputs include on-site measurements of vertical sediment permeability, sediment temperatures and hydraulic gradients. About 70 spring bed piezometers were used to carry out permeability tests within the spring sediments, as well as to quantify the hydraulic head at different depths below the discharge point. Sediment temperatures were measured at different depths and correlated to permeabilities in order to demonstrate the potential of temperature as a substitute for cumbersome slug tests. Results show that the spatial distribution of discharge through the spring bottom is highly heterogeneous, as sediment permeability varies by several orders of magnitude within centimetres. Sensitivity analyses imply that geostatistical interpolation is irrelevant to the results if field datasets come from a sufficiently high resolution of piezometric records. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.