The unsaturated flow processes of infiltration and evaporation are in physical and mathematical continuity with the parallel saturated processes of recharge and discharge. Water table fluctuations result when the rate of ground‐water recharge or discharge is not matched by the unsaturated flow rate created by infiltration or evaporation. A water‐table rise provides the source of replenishment to the ground‐water zone that allows the prevailing rate of recharge to continue. This dynamic water‐table behavior can be simulated by a one‐dimensional, numerical mathematical model involving transient flow through an integrated saturated‐unsaturated system. The solutions are applicable to homogeneous, isotropic soils in which the functional relationships show hysteresis properties. The model allows upper boundary conditions of constant rate rainfall, ponded water, evaporation, and redistribution. It can be used to determine the water‐table fluctuation that will arise from a given set of initial conditions, boundary conditions, and soil type. The effects of variations in the parameters that control the flow are examined to arrive at a better understanding of the mechanism of natural ground‐water recharge and discharge.
Water Resources Research – Wiley
Published: Feb 1, 1969
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