The Strategic Water Storage & Recovery (SWSR) Project in Liwa, Abu Dhabi is a leading and unique hydrogeology project in the world because of both its financial and scientific dimensions. The objective of the project is to store desalinized water in the local Liwa aquifer, to be able to supply water to Abu Dhabi in case of emergency. A total of 315 recovery wells have been drilled in pursuance of the scope of the SWSR project. Out of the total 315 wells, 25 wells met construction problems and were removed from the study. The remaining 290 wells have been analyzed using step drawdown tests (SDTs) and the model of Rorabaugh. This provided a large and unique database regarding the parameters of this model: linear aquifer-loss coefficient (B), non-linear well-loss coefficient (C) and the exponent p. Analysis of this exceptional data set revealed noteworthy and novel findings: (1) the range of the exponent p values is found to be very extensive, varying from 0.35 to 6.01. For comparison, the highest values of p given in the literature very seldom exceed 4; (2) p behaves like a lognormal variable; (3) parameters C and p are closely correlated. A semi-logarithmic diagram displays a linear relation of p vs. log C, with a determination coefficient R2
= 0.83; (4) A graphical and tabulated procedure, termed General Well Efficiency Criteria, is proposed to assess well efficiency. Given the very wide range of p values implied in this procedure, it becomes possible thus to assess the efficiency of any well analyzed with an SDT. This study finally raises questions about Jacob’s model validity, which assumes that p is constant and equal to 2.
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