Report Abstract

SIMULATION OF A LONG-TERM AQUIFER TEST CONDUCTED NEAR THE RIO GRANDE, ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO

by Douglas P. McAda

A long-term aquifer test was conducted near the Rio Grande in Albuquerque during January and February 1995 using 22 wells and piezometers at nine sites, with the City of Albuquerque Griegos 1 production well as the pumped well. Griegos 1 discharge averaged about 2,330 gallons per minute for 54.4 days. A three-dimensional finite-difference ground-water-flow model was used to estimate aquifer properties in the vicinity of the Griegos well field and the amount of infiltration induced into the aquifer system from the Rio Grande and riverside drains as a result of pumping during the test. The model was initially calibrated by trial-and-error adjustments of the aquifer properties. The model was recalibrated using a nonlinear least-squares regression technique.

The aquifer system in the area includes the middle Tertiary to Quaternary Santa Fe Group and post-Santa Fe Group valley- and basin-fill deposits of the Albuquerque Basin. The Rio Grande and adjacent riverside drains are in hydraulic connection with the aquifer system.

The hydraulic-conductivity values of the upper part of the Santa Fe Group resulting from the model calibrated by trial and error varied by zone in the model and ranged from 12 to 33 feet per day. The hydraulic conductivity of the inner-valley alluvium was 45 feet per day. The vertical to horizontal anisotropy ratio was 1:140. Specific storage was 4 x 10-6 per foot of aquifer thickness, and specific yield was 0.15 (dimensionless). The sum of squared errors between the observed and simulated drawdowns was 130 feet squared.

Not all aquifer properties could be estimated using nonlinear regression because of model insensitivity to some aquifer properties at observation locations. Hydraulic conductivity of the inner-valley alluvium, middle part of the Santa Fe Group, and riverbed and riverside-drain bed and specific yield had low sensitivity values and therefore could not be estimated. Of the properties estimated, hydraulic conductivity of the upper part of the Santa Fe Group was estimated to be 12 feet per day, the vertical to horizontal anisotropy ratio was estimated to be 1:82, and specific storage was estimated to be 1.2 x 10-6 per foot of aquifer thickness. The overall sum of squared errors between the observed and simulated drawdowns was 87 feet squared, a significant improvement over the model calibrated by trial and error.

At the end of aquifer-test pumping, induced infiltration from the Rio Grande and riverside drains was simulated to be 13 percent of the total amount of water pumped. The remainder was water removed from aquifer storage. After pumping stopped, induced infiltration continued to replenish aquifer storage. Simulations estimated that 5 years after pumping began (about 4.85 years after pumping stopped), 58 to 72 percent of the total amount of water pumped was replenished by induced infiltration from the Rio Grande surface-water system.

Abstract from Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4260



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