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Identification of Pumping Influences in Long-Term Water Level Fluctuations


Computational Earth Science Group, Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, MS T003, Los Alamos, NM 87544; (505) 667-5532; fax: (505) 665-8737;


Identification of the pumping influences at monitoring wells caused by spatially and temporally variable water supply pumping can be a challenging, yet an important hydrogeological task. The information that can be obtained can be critical for conceptualization of the hydrogeological conditions and indications of the zone of influence of the individual pumping wells. However, the pumping influences are often intermittent and small in magnitude with variable production rates from multiple pumping wells. While these difficulties may support an inclination to abandon the existing dataset and conduct a dedicated cross-hole pumping test, that option can be challenging and expensive to coordinate and execute. This paper presents a method that utilizes a simple analytical modeling approach for analysis of a long-term water level record utilizing an inverse modeling approach. The methodology allows the identification of pumping wells influencing the water level fluctuations. Thus, the analysis provides an efficient and cost-effective alternative to designed and coordinated cross-hole pumping tests. We apply this method on a dataset from the Los Alamos National Laboratory site. Our analysis also provides (1) an evaluation of the information content of the transient water level data; (2) indications of potential structures of the aquifer heterogeneity inhibiting or promoting pressure propagation; and (3) guidance for the development of more complicated models requiring detailed specification of the aquifer heterogeneity.