Numerical evaluation of pumping well transmissivity estimates in laterally heterogeneous formations
Transmissivity estimates derived from non-steady-state, single well, constant discharge, aquifer tests in laterally heterogeneous environments generally are questioned relative to their representativeness of aquifer conditions. Drawdown in pumping wells reflects the removal of water from storage in the aquifer and transient refraction of groundwater path-lines during the evolution of a non-symmetrical cone of depression. Simulations of single-well aquifer tests in aquifers with simple, arbitrary distributions of block heterogeneities suggest that transmissivity (T) values derived by the Cooper–Jacob (1946) method generally reflect volumetric, weighted mean T values of all of the heterogeneities contacted by the cone of depression at a particular time. This finding suggests that early-time drawdown data for single well aquifer tests reflect rapidly changing, volumetric, weighted mean T values proximal to the pumping well while late-time drawdown data reflect stabilized conditions and spatially averaged, volumetric weighted mean T out to a considerable distance from the pumping well.