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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: HYDROLOGIC PROCESSES, SCALE, CLIMATE VARIABILITY, AND WATER RESOURCES FOR SEMIARID WATERSHED MANAGEMENT

Location: Southwest Watershed Research

Title: Fully conservative coupling of HEC-1 RAS with MODFLOW to simulate stream-aquifer interactions in a drainage basin 1960

Authors
item Rodriguez, L. - UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL
item Cello, P. - UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL
item Vionnet, C. - UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL
item Goodrich, David

Submitted to: Journal of Hydrology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 6, 2008
Publication Date: May 23, 2008
Citation: Rodriguez, L., Cello, P., Vionnet, C., Goodrich, D.C. 2008. Fully conservative coupling of HEC-1 RAS with MODFLOW to simulate stream-aquifer interactions in a drainage basin. Journal of Hydrology. 353:129-142.

Interpretive Summary: Irrigation is a critical component to food production my many parts of the world. In areas where the groundwater table is shallow, it is important to be able to understand and model the interactions between the regional groundwater aquifer and the irrigation drains and channels. Prior groundwater aquifer computer models of irrigation drainage flow employed a relatively simple assumption about the flow in the drains. In this work a popular, public domain, surface water computer model is coupled with a regional groundwater aquifer computer model to more realistically represent the flow in irrigation drains and channels. This method was successfully tested in the Patagonia region of Argentina.

Technical Abstract: This work describes the application of a methodology designed to improve the representation of water surface profiles along open drain channels within the framework of regional groundwater modeling. The proposed methodology employs an iterative procedure that combines two public domain computational codes, MODFLOW and HEC-RAS. In spite of its known versatility, MODFLOW contains several limitations to reproduce elevation profiles of the free surface along open drain channels. The Drain Module available within MODFLOW simulates groundwater flow to open drain channels as a linear function of the difference between the hydraulic head in the aquifer and the hydraulic head in the drain, where it considers a static representation of water surface profiles along drains. The proposed methodology developed herein uses HEC-RAS, a one-dimensional (1D) computer code for open surface water calculations, to iteratively estimate hydraulic profiles along drain channels in order to improve the aquifer/drain interaction process. The approach is first validated with a simple closed analytical solution where it is shown that a Piccard iteration is enough to produce a numerically convergent and mass preserving solution. The methodology is then applied to the groundwater/surface water system of the Choele Choel Island, in the Patagonia region of Argentina. Smooth and realistic hydraulic profiles along drains are obtained while backwater effects are clearly represented.

Last Modified: 7/12/2014
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