Generalizing Agarwal's method for the interpretation of recovery tests under non-ideal conditions
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Pumping tests are performed during aquifer characterization to gain conceptual understanding about the system through diagnostic plots and to estimate hydraulic properties. Recovery tests consist of measuring head response in observation and/or pumping wells after pumping termination. They are especially useful when the pumping rate cannot be accurately controlled. They have been traditionally interpreted using Theis' recovery method, which yields robust estimates of effective transmissivity but does not provide information about the conceptual model. Agarwal proposed a method that has become standard in the oil industry, to obtain both early and late time reservoir responses to pumping from recovery data. However, the validity of the method has only been tested to a limited extent. In this work, we analyze Agarwal's method in terms of both drawdowns and log derivatives for non-ideal conditions: leaky aquifer, presence of boundaries, and one-dimensional flow. Our results show that Agarwal's method provides excellent recovery plots (i.e., the drawdown curve that would be obtained during pumping) and parameter estimates for nearly all aquifer conditions, provided that a constant pumping rate is used and the log derivative at the end of pumping is constant, which is too limiting for groundwater hydrology practice, where observation wells are usually monitored. We generalize Agarwal's method by (1) deriving an improved equivalent time for time-dependent pumping rate and (2) proposing to recover drawdown curves by extrapolating the pumping phase drawdowns. These yield excellent diagnostic plots, thus facilitating the conceptual model analysis for a broad range of conditions.
CitationTrabucchi, M., Carrera, J., Fernandez, D. Generalizing Agarwal's method for the interpretation of recovery tests under non-ideal conditions. "Water resources research", Setembre 2018, vol. 54, núm. 9, p. 6393-6407.