THE ENERGY BALANCE OF GROUND WATER FLOW

R.J.Oosterbaan 1), J.Boonstra 1), and K.V.G.K.Rao 2)
1) International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement (ILRI)
    P.O. Box 45, 6700 Wageningen, The Netherlands
2) Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI)
    Karnal-132001, Haryana, India
 
Published in: Subsurface-Water Hydrology, p. 153-160
Kluwer Academic publishers, The Netherlands, 1996
 
On website www.waterlog.info

      
 
ABSTRACT
 
An energy balance of ground water (groundwater) flow is introduced. It is based on
equating the change of hydraulic energy flux over a horizontal distance to the conversion
rate of hydraulic energy into to friction of flow over that distance.
 
The energy flux is calculated on the basis of a multiplication of the hydraulic potential
with the flow velocity, and is integrated over the total flow depth. The conversion rate is
determined in analogy to the Joule heat loss equation of an electric current.
 
The hydraulic energy balance is applied to the steady-state flow of water in a phreatic
aquifer recharged by downward percolation stemming from rainfall or irrigation, and a
quantitative example is given using a numerical solution.
 
It is shown that the gradient of the water table is smaller than that calculated with the
current methods, which do not take into account the energy associated with the incoming
percolation water.
 
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