DOI: 10.1029/2022wr034297 ISSN:

A Nonlinear Recession Model for Horizontal Aquifers

H. A. Basha
  • Water Science and Technology


Recession analysis is a powerful tool for determining the hydraulic characteristics of a riparian aquifer. The basis of the method relies on two analytical solutions of the nonlinear Boussinesq equation: one applies to a uniform water table profile in a semi‐infinite aquifer while the other pertains to a hypothetical initial profile in a finite aquifer. Both solutions assume that the water depth in the adjoining stream is negligible. In the present work, a nonlinear solution of the one‐dimensional Boussinesq equation is derived using the traveling wave approximation. The solution better represents the field conditions as it pertains to a uniform water table profile in a finite aquifer that is adjoining a stream with a non‐zero water level. It allows the derivation of simple algebraic expressions for the recession of the water table, the flow rate, and the associated drainage volume. Approximations relating the discharge rate to the outflow volume were also obtained for practical implementation in the estimation of the hydraulic parameters of the aquifer. A comparison of the proposed methodology of parameter estimation with the standard method of recession analysis showed that the present approach is superior as it avoids the pitfalls associated with the classical method, especially when daily discharge values with inherent observational errors are used. Application of the recession model to real‐world cases demonstrates its effectiveness in the estimation of the catchment‐scale hydraulic conductivity and drainable porosity.

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