A Digital Procedure for Ground Water Recharge and Discharge Pattern Recognition and Rate Estimation

Yu Feng Lin, Mary P. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A digital procedure to estimate recharge/discharge rates that requires relatively short preparation time and uses readily available data was applied to a setting in central Wisconsin. The method requires only measurements of the water table, fluxes such as stream baseflows, bottom of the system, and hydraulic conductivity to delineate approximate recharge/discharge zones and to estimate rates. The method uses interpolation of the water table surface, recharge/discharge mapping, pattern recognition, and a parameter estimation model. The surface interpolator used is based on the theory of radial basis functions with thin-plate splines. The recharge/discharge mapping is based on a mass-balance calculation performed using MODFLOW. The results of the recharge/discharge mapping are critically dependent on the accuracy of the water table interpolation and the accuracy and number of water table measurements. The recharge pattern recognition is performed with the help of a graphical user interface (GUI) program based on several algorithms used in image processing. Pattern recognition is needed to identify the recharge/discharge zonations and zone the results of the mapping method. The parameter estimation program UCODE calculates the parameter values that provide a best fit between simulated heads and flows and calibration head-and-flow targets. A model of the Buena Vista Ground Water Basin in the Central Sand Plains of Wisconsin is used to demonstrate the procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-315
Number of pages10
JournalGround Water
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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