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Effects of Streambed Conductance on Stream Depletion

Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado, ECOT 441, 428 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0428, USA
Department of Geography, University of Colorado, Guggenheim 110, 260 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0428, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Philip A. Brunner and Jan Fleckenstein
Water 2015, 7(1), 271-287;
Received: 30 August 2014 / Accepted: 3 December 2014 / Published: 12 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Surface Water Groundwater Interactions: From Theory to Practice)
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Stream depletion, which is the reduction in flow rate of a stream or river due to the extraction of groundwater in a hydraulically connected stream-aquifer system, is often estimated using numerical models. The accuracy of these models depends on the appropriate parameterization of aquifer and streambed hydraulic properties. Streambed conductance is a parameter that relates the head difference between the stream and aquifer to flow across the stream channel. It is a function of streambed hydraulic conductivity and streambed geometry. In natural systems, streambed conductance varies spatially throughout the streambed; however, stream depletion modeling studies often ignore this variability. In this work, we use numerical simulations to demonstrate that stream depletion estimates are sensitive to a range of streambed conductance values depending on aquifer properties. We compare the stream depletion estimates from various spatial patterns of streambed conductance to show that modeling streambed conductance as a homogeneous property can lead to errors in stream depletion estimates. We use the results to identify feasible locations for proposed pumping wells such that the stream depletion due to pumping from a well within this feasible region would not exceed a prescribed threshold value, and we show that incorrect assumptions of the magnitude and spatial variability of streambed conductance can affect the size and shape of the feasible region. View Full-Text
Keywords: stream depletion; streambed conductance; groundwater modeling stream depletion; streambed conductance; groundwater modeling

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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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Lackey, G.; Neupauer, R.M.; Pitlick, J. Effects of Streambed Conductance on Stream Depletion. Water 2015, 7, 271-287.

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