Late-time drainage from a sloping Boussinesq aquifer

Patrick W. Bogaart*, David E. Rupp, John S. Selker, Ype Van Der Velde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Numerical solutions to the nonlinear Boussinesq equation, applied to a steeply sloping aquifer and assuming uniform hydraulic conductivity, indicate that late-time recession discharge decreases nearly linearly in time. When recession discharge is characterized by -dQ/dt = aQb, this is equivalent to constant dQ/dt or b = 0. This result suggests that a previously reported exponential decrease with time (b = 1) of modeled recession discharge from a similar sloping aquifer represented by the same equation appears to be an artifact of the numerical solution scheme and its interpretation. Because the linearly decreasing recession discharge (b = 0) is not known from field studies, these findings challenge the application of a nonlinear Boussinesq framework assuming uniform conductivity and geometric similarity to infer hydraulic properties of sloping aquifers from observations of streamflow. This finding also questions the validity of the physical interpretation of the exponential decline in late time resulting from the commonly used linearized form of the Boussinesq equation, opposed to the full nonlinear equation, when applied under these conditions. For this reason, application of the linearized equation to infer hydraulic properties of sloping aquifers is also challenged, even if the observed recession is consistent with that of the linearized Boussinesq equation. Key Points The sloping nonlinear Boussinesq eqn with constant k displays linear recession This is in contrast with recession from most natural hillslopes This is also in contrast with the recession from the linearized Boussinesq eqn

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7498-7507
Number of pages10
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • Boussinesq
  • groundwater
  • hillslope
  • numerical model


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