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Water 2016, 8(5), 195; doi:10.3390/w8050195

Regional Quasi-Three-Dimensional Unsaturated-Saturated Water Flow Model Based on a Vertical-Horizontal Splitting Concept

1
State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
2
Department of Scientific Computing, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Karl-Erich Lindenschmidt
Received: 16 October 2015 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 12 April 2016 / Published: 12 May 2016
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Abstract

Due to the high nonlinearity of the three-dimensional (3-D) unsaturated-saturated water flow equation, using a fully 3-D numerical model is computationally expensive for large scale applications. A new unsaturated-saturated water flow model is developed in this paper based on the vertical/horizontal splitting (VHS) concept to split the 3-D unsaturated-saturated Richards’ equation into a two-dimensional (2-D) horizontal equation and a one-dimensional (1-D) vertical equation. The horizontal plane of average head gradient in the triangular prism element is derived to split the 3-D equation into the 2-D equation. The lateral flow in the horizontal plane of average head gradient represented by the 2-D equation is then calculated by the water balance method. The 1-D vertical equation is discretized by the finite difference method. The two equations are solved simultaneously by coupling them into a unified nonlinear system with a single matrix. Three synthetic cases are used to evaluate the developed model code by comparing the modeling results with those of Hydrus1D, SWMS2D and FEFLOW. We further apply the model to regional-scale modeling to simulate groundwater table fluctuations for assessing the model applicability in complex conditions. The proposed modeling method is found to be accurate with respect to measurements. View Full-Text
Keywords: unsaturated-saturated model; vertical-horizontal splitting concept; water balance method; finite difference method; regional scale modeling unsaturated-saturated model; vertical-horizontal splitting concept; water balance method; finite difference method; regional scale modeling
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Zhu, Y.; Shi, L.; Wu, J.; Ye, M.; Cui, L.; Yang, J. Regional Quasi-Three-Dimensional Unsaturated-Saturated Water Flow Model Based on a Vertical-Horizontal Splitting Concept. Water 2016, 8, 195.

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