Interactions and Implications of a Collector Well with a River in an Unconfined Aquifer with Regional Background Flow



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Ranney radial collector wells consist of an array of horizontal lateral wells arranged radially around and connected to the base of a vertical well. They offer numerous advantages over traditional vertical wells with application in both the petroleum industry and hydrologic sciences. This study improved the understanding of the interaction of collector wells and the aquifers/reservoirs they tap by numerically modeling flux exchanges between a collector well and a river in an unconfined aquifer with regional background flow. Modeling demonstrated that flux along each horizontal lateral increased with distance from the vertical well stem following a third order polynomial function. Ultimately these models demonstrated that in the collector well/aquifer/river system, the pumping rate of the collector well was the dominant factor in controlling flux between the river and aquifer under various conditions. This study can be used to project the maximum allowable pumping rate without causing an initially gaining river to become a losing river.