Unconfined Aquifer Flow Theory: From Dupuit to Present

  • Phoolendra K. Mishra
  • Kristopher L. Kuhlman


Analytic and semi-analytic solution are often used by researchers and practitioners to estimate aquifer parameters from unconfined aquifer pumping tests. The nonlinearities associated with unconfined (i.e., water table) aquifer tests make their analysis more complex than confined tests. Although analytical solutions for unconfined flow began in the mid-1800s with Dupuit, Thiem was possibly the first to use them to estimate aquifer parameters from pumping tests in the early 1900s. In the 1950s, Boulton developed the first transient well test solution specialized to unconfined flow. By the 1970s, Neuman had developed solutions considering both primary transient storage mechanisms (confined storage and delayed yield) without nonphysical fitting parameters. In the last decade, research into developing unconfined aquifer test solutions has mostly focused on explicitly coupling the aquifer with the linearized vadose zone. Despite the many advanced solution methods available, there still exists a need for realism to accurately simulate real-world aquifer tests.


Water Table Unsaturated Zone Vadose Zone Unconfined Aquifer Unsaturated Flow 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was partially funded by the Environmental Programs Directorate of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Los Alamos National Laboratory is a multi-program laboratory managed and operated by Los Alamos National Security (LANS) Inc. for the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC52-06NA25396.

Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Civil & Environmental Engineering California State UniversityFullertonUSA
  2. 2.Repository Performance Department Sandia National LaboratoriesCarlsbadUSA

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