Maximizing Net Extraction Using an Injection-Extraction Well Pair in a Coastal Aquifer


Corresponding author: School of the Environment, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia; +61 8 82012213; fax: +61 8 82017577;


In this study, we examine the maximum net extraction rate from the novel arrangement of an injection-extraction well pair in a coastal aquifer, where fresh groundwater is reinjected through the injection well located between the interface toe and extraction well. Complex potential theory is employed to derive a new analytical solution for the maximum net extraction rate and corresponding stagnation-point locations and recirculation ratio, assuming steady-state, sharp-interface conditions. The injection-extraction well-pair system outperforms a traditional single extraction well in terms of net extraction rate for a broad range of well placement and pumping rates, which is up to 50% higher for an aquifer with a thickness of 20 m, hydraulic conductivity of 10 m/d, and fresh water influx of 0.24 m2/d. Sensitivity analyses show that for a given fresh water discharge from an inland aquifer, a larger maximum net extraction is expected in cases with a smaller hydraulic conductivity or a smaller aquifer thickness, notwithstanding physical limits to drawdown at the pumping well that are not considered here. For an extraction well with a fixed location, the optimal net extraction rate linearly increases with the distance between the injection well and the sea, and the corresponding injection rate and recirculation ratio also increase. The analytical analysis in this study provides initial guidance for the design of well-pair systems in coastal aquifers, and is therefore an extension beyond previous applications of analytical solutions of coastal pumping that apply only to extraction or injection wells.