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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 09 Aug 2018

Research article | 09 Aug 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Modelling of shallow water table dynamics using conceptual and physically based integrated surface water-groundwater hydrologic models

Mohammad Bizhanimanzar, Robert Leconte, and Mathieu Nuth Mohammad Bizhanimanzar et al.
  • Department of Civil Engineering, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, J1K2R1, Canada

Abstract. We present a new conceptual scheme of the interaction between unsaturated and saturated zones of the MOBIDIC (Modello Bilancio Idrologico DIstributo e Continuo) hydrological model which is applicable to shallow water table conditions. First, a hydrostatic equilibrium moisture profile was assumed for simulating changes in water table levels. This resulted in a water table based expression of specific yield, which was included in the coupled MOBIDIC-MODFLOW modelling framework for capturing shallow water tables fluctuations. Second, the groundwater recharge was defined using a power type equation based on infiltration rate, soil moisture deficit and a calibration parameter linked to initial water table level, soil type and rainfall intensity. Using the Water Table Fluctuation (WTF) method, the water table rise for a homogeneous soil column under a pulse of rain with different intensities (up to 30 mm/day) the parameter of the proposed groundwater recharge equation was determined for four soil types i.e., sand, loamy sand, sandy loam and loam. The simulated water table levels were compared against those simulated by MIKE-SHE, a physically based integrated hydrological modelling system simulating surface and groundwater flow. Two numerical experiments were carried out: a two-dimensional case of a hypothetical watershed in a vertical plane (constant slope) under a 1 cm/day uniform rainfall rate, and a quasi-real three dimensional watershed under one month of measured daily rainfall hyetograph. The comparative analysis confirmed that the simplified approach can mimic simple and complex groundwater systems with an acceptable level of accuracy. In addition, the computational efficiency of the proposed approach (MIKE-SHE took 180 times longer to solve the 3D case than the MOBIDIC-MODFLOW framework) demonstrates its applicability to real catchment case studies.

Mohammad Bizhanimanzar et al.
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Mohammad Bizhanimanzar et al.
Mohammad Bizhanimanzar et al.
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Short summary
Modelling of shallow water table fluctuations is usually carried out using physically based numerical models. These models have notable limitations regarding intensive required data and computational burden. This paper presents an alternative modelling approach for modelling of such cases by introducing modifications to the calculation of groundwater recharge and saturated flow of a conceptual hydrologic model.
Modelling of shallow water table fluctuations is usually carried out using physically based...