Estimating Hydraulic Parameters When Poroelastic Effects Are Significant


Waterloo Institute for Groundwater Research, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada N2L 3G1;


For almost 80 years, deformation-induced head changes caused by poroelastic effects have been observed during pumping tests in multilayered aquifer-aquitard systems. As water in the aquifer is released from compressive storage during pumping, the aquifer is deformed both in the horizontal and vertical directions. This deformation in the pumped aquifer causes deformation in the adjacent layers, resulting in changes in pore pressure that may produce drawdown curves that differ significantly from those predicted by traditional groundwater theory. Although these deformation-induced head changes have been analyzed in several studies by poroelasticity theory, there are at present no practical guidelines for the interpretation of pumping test data influenced by these effects. To investigate the impact that poroelastic effects during pumping tests have on the estimation of hydraulic parameters, we generate synthetic data for three different aquifer-aquitard settings using a poroelasticity model, and then analyze the synthetic data using type curves and parameter estimation techniques, both of which are based on traditional groundwater theory and do not account for poroelastic effects. Results show that even when poroelastic effects result in significant deformation-induced head changes, it is possible to obtain reasonable estimates of hydraulic parameters using methods based on traditional groundwater theory, as long as pumping is sufficiently long so that deformation-induced effects have largely dissipated.