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Article

Numerical Representation of Groundwater-Surface Water Exchange and the Effect on Streamflow Contribution Estimates

1
Department of Geochemistry, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), 1350 Copenhagen, Denmark
2
Rambøll Denmark, 2300 Copenhagen, Denmark
3
Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, 1350 Copenhagen, Denmark
4
Ørsted, 2820 Gentofte, Denmark
5
GEO, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Carlos Duque, Donald Rosenberry and Aldo Fiori
Water 2021, 13(14), 1923; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13141923
Received: 10 June 2021 / Revised: 1 July 2021 / Accepted: 8 July 2021 / Published: 12 July 2021
The effects of streams and drainage representation in 3D numerical catchment scale models on estimated streamflow contribution were investigated. MODFLOW-USG was used to represent complex geology and a stream network with two different conceptualizations—one with equal cell discretization in the entire model domain and another with refined cell discretization along stream reaches. Both models were calibrated against a large data set including hydraulic heads and streamflow measurements. Though the optimized hydraulic parameters and statistical performance of both model conceptualizations were comparable, their estimated streamflow contribution differed substantially. In the conceptualization with equal cell discretization, the drainage contribution to the streamflow was 13% compared to 41% in the conceptualization with refined cell discretization. The increase in drainage contribution to streamflow was attributed to the increase in drainage area in proximity to the stream reaches arising from the refined discretization. e.g., the cell refinement along stream reaches reduced the area occupied by stream cells allowing for increased drain area adjacent to the stream reaches. As such, an increase in drainage area equivalent to 7% yielded a 146% increase in drainage contribution to streamflow. In-stream field measurements of groundwater-surface water exchange fluxes that were qualitatively compared to calculated fluxes from the models indicated that estimates from the refined model discretization were more representative. Hence, the results of this study accentuate the importance of being able to represent stream and drain flow contribution correctly, that is, to achieve representative exchange fluxes that are crucial in simulating groundwater–surface water exchange of both flow and solute transport in catchment scale modeling. To that end, the in-stream measurements of exchange fluxes showed the potential to serve as a proxy to numerically estimate drainage contribution that is not readily available at the catchment scale. View Full-Text
Keywords: groundwater-surface water exchange; drainage; flow balance contribution; numerical discretization groundwater-surface water exchange; drainage; flow balance contribution; numerical discretization
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MDPI and ACS Style

Karan, S.; Jacobsen, M.; Kazmierczak, J.; Reyna-Gutiérrez, J.A.; Breum, T.; Engesgaard, P. Numerical Representation of Groundwater-Surface Water Exchange and the Effect on Streamflow Contribution Estimates. Water 2021, 13, 1923. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13141923

AMA Style

Karan S, Jacobsen M, Kazmierczak J, Reyna-Gutiérrez JA, Breum T, Engesgaard P. Numerical Representation of Groundwater-Surface Water Exchange and the Effect on Streamflow Contribution Estimates. Water. 2021; 13(14):1923. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13141923

Chicago/Turabian Style

Karan, Sachin, Martin Jacobsen, Jolanta Kazmierczak, José A. Reyna-Gutiérrez, Thomas Breum, and Peter Engesgaard. 2021. "Numerical Representation of Groundwater-Surface Water Exchange and the Effect on Streamflow Contribution Estimates" Water 13, no. 14: 1923. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13141923

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