Sensitivity analysis and determination of streambed leakance and aquifer hydraulic properties

Xunhong Chen, Xi Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


A nonlinear regression method is used to calculate the hydraulic parameters of a stream-aquifer system using pumping test data. Five parameters, including the horizontal hydraulic conductivity (Kx), aquifer anisotropy (Ka), streambed leakance l, aquifer specific storage Ss, and specific yield Sy, can be calculated. MODFLOW, coupled to the regression method, simulates the groundwater flow that is affected by streams. Sensitivity analyses indicate that for a given stream-aquifer system, the quality of the stream-aquifer test data can be improved through a careful selection of observation and pumping wells, as well as an appropriate test duration. An optimal location of an observation well is where the magnitude of the sensitivities is enhanced and the correlation of the transient sensitivities of two parameters is reduced. Generally, a longer pumping period will increase the sensitivity for l and Kx and reduce the correlation between Sy and Kx and between S y and l. Results from hypothetical examples and a field test suggest that a two-well analysis of pumping test data can significantly reduce the correlation of sensitivity coefficients; as a result, convergence occurs faster and the estimated standard errors are reduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-284
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Dec 22 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Parameter estimation
  • Pumping test
  • Sensitivity analysis
  • Streambed leakance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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