Direct simulation of groundwater transit-time distributions using the reservoir theory
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Groundwater transit times are of interest for the management of water resources, assessment of pollution from non-point sources, and quantitative dating of groundwaters by the use of environmental isotopes. The age of water is the time water has spent in an aquifer since it has entered the system, whereas the transit time is the age of water as it exits the system. Water at the outlet of an aquifer is a mixture of water elements with different transit times. as a consequence of the different flow-line lengths. In this paper, transit-time distributions are calculated by coupling two existing methods, the reservoir theory and a recent age-simulation method. Based on the derivation of the cumulative age distribution over the whole domain, the approach accounts for the whole hydrogeological framework. The method is tested using an analytical example and its applicability illustrated for a regional layered aquifer. Results show the asymmetry and multimodality of the transit-time distribution even in advection-only conditions, due to the aquifer geometry and to the velocity-field heterogeneity.
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Resource Types::text::journal::journal article