Improved Water Table Dynamics in MODFLOW

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The standard formulation of a block-centered finite-difference model, such as MODFLOW, uses the center of the cell as the location of a cell node. Simulations of a dynamic water table can be improved if the node of a cell containing the water table is located at the water table rather than at the center of the cell. The LPF package of MOD-FLOW-2000 was changed to position a cell's node at the water table in convertible cells with a water table. Improved accuracy in the upper regions of an unconfined aquifer is demonstrated for pumping from a partially penetrating well. The change introduces a nonlinearity into the solution of the flow equations that results in slightly slower convergence of the flow solution, 7% slower in the presented demonstration. Accuracy of simulations is improved where vertical flow is dominated by a moving water table, but not when a large water table gradient dominates over the water table movement.