Quantifying Bank Storage of Variably Saturated Aquifers


Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Temple University, 1947 N. 12th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122; 01 (215) 204-7871; fax: 01 (215) 204-4696; boufadel@temple.edu


Numerical simulations were conducted to quantify bank storage in a variably saturated, homogenous, and anisotropic aquifer abutting a stream during rising stream stage. Seepage faces and bank slopes ranging from 1/3 to 100/3 were simulated. The initial conditions were assumed steady-state flow with water draining toward the stream. Then, the stream level rose at a constant rate to the specified elevation of the water table given by the landward boundary condition and stayed there until the system reached a new steady state. This represents a highly simplified version of a real world hydrograph. For the specific examples considered, the following conclusions can be made. The volume of surface water entering the bank increased with the rate of stream level rise, became negligible when the rate of rise was slow, and approached a positive constant when the rate was large. Also, the volume decreased with the dimensionless parameter M (the product of the anisotropy ratio and the square of the domain’s aspect ratio). When M was large (>10), bank storage was small because most pore space was initially saturated with ground water due to the presence of a significant seepage face. When M was small, the seepage face became insignificant and capillarity began to play a role. The weaker the capillary effect, the easier for surface water to enter the bank. The effect of the capillary forces on the volume of surface water entering the bank was significant and could not be neglected.