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Example of unstructured
MODFLOW 6 modelling in
California
Betsy Romero Verástegui
Toine Vergroesen
30 November 2023
Alameda creek project
Current situation
• Long periods of water scarcity
• Decreases in the levels of some aquifers that do not
recover during rainy seasons.
• Water demand exceeds supply in dry periods.
• In the creek: Use for flood control but it is getting filled
with sediments -> need to dredge.
Study area:
Alameda creek – California (USA)
2
Using iMOD tools and MODFLOW 6 to simulate the
effects of deepening the Alameda creek.
Objective:
• Know whether the deepening of the Alameda creek will
affect the infiltration from the nearby infiltration lakes
under different dredging scenarios.
DSD-INT
2023
|
Hydrology
User
Days
First model
3
• MODFLOW 6
• Unstructured grid: rectangular, nested
• Lakes area refinement
• Steady state
• 2 aquifers and 1 aquitard in between.
• Get the highest resolution where the
Quarry Lakes border Alameda Creek.
80 ft
40 ft
20 ft
10 ft
DSD-INT
2023
|
Hydrology
User
Days
Further steps needed
4
• Enhance the resolution for the
entire Alameda Creek (i.e.
increasing the density of the
model's grid cells throughout):
refine calculations in the creek
area given its importance in the
evaluation
• Reassess the groundwater
system and potential impacts of
the creek deepening
• Additional geohydrological data
• Transient simulation
• Improve calibration
DSD-INT
2023
|
Hydrology
User
Days
Current model (improved)
5
• MODFLOW 6
• Non-uniform unstructured Voronoi grid
• Discretization along the creek area
• Unconfined aquifer
• Fully 3D
• 4 discretization zones: 300 ft, 150 ft, 16 ft, 8/16 ft
• 8ft: 283 300 model cells, minimum size: 9 ft2
• 16ft: 173 520 model cells (38.75% less model cells), minimum
size: 22 ft2
DSD-INT
2023
|
Hydrology
User
Days
Data implemented
6
• Detailed data input for
water system
elements: lakes, river,
drains -> extra grid
refinement in these
areas
• Other spatially-varying
conditions: sea,
hydraulic properties,
recharge, well
extractions
Tools used
7
• iMOD Python toolbox
• Conversion of input data in several formats to
unstructured grid
• Delft3D river data implementation
• Along with snakemake, creation of an automated
workflow (particularly useful for scenarios simulation)
• Results postprocessing: Maps, comparison with
observed heads, water balance calculation
• MODFLOW 6
• Unstructured grid capabilities
• Model simulation
DSD-INT
2023
|
Hydrology
User
Days
Results
8
Run times:
• Steady state 16 ft grid approx. 2 to 3 minutes.
• Steady state 8 ft grid approx. 50% longer.
• 16ft grid 2 year on daily basis approx. 7 hrs
• Heads calculation
• Steady state results comparison with
observed
• Detailed water balance specifically for
lakes and river area
DSD-INT
2023
|
Hydrology
User
Days
Results
9
• Sensitivity analysis: for flows and heads (90
scenarios in total)
• Transient calibration
• Analysis of system behaviour under different
dredging scenarios
DSD-INT
2023
|
Hydrology
User
Days
Experiences
10
• Conversion of input files to unstructured grid
• Use of MODFLOW 6
• Transient simulation and data creation
• Scripting very helpful in the process of analysis and
understanding the model: easily re-run and adapting the model
• In the future: include variable density modelling
DSD-INT
2023
|
Hydrology
User
Days

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DSD-INT 2023 Example of unstructured MODFLOW 6 modelling in California - Romero

  • 1. Example of unstructured MODFLOW 6 modelling in California Betsy Romero Verástegui Toine Vergroesen 30 November 2023
  • 2. Alameda creek project Current situation • Long periods of water scarcity • Decreases in the levels of some aquifers that do not recover during rainy seasons. • Water demand exceeds supply in dry periods. • In the creek: Use for flood control but it is getting filled with sediments -> need to dredge. Study area: Alameda creek – California (USA) 2 Using iMOD tools and MODFLOW 6 to simulate the effects of deepening the Alameda creek. Objective: • Know whether the deepening of the Alameda creek will affect the infiltration from the nearby infiltration lakes under different dredging scenarios. DSD-INT 2023 | Hydrology User Days
  • 3. First model 3 • MODFLOW 6 • Unstructured grid: rectangular, nested • Lakes area refinement • Steady state • 2 aquifers and 1 aquitard in between. • Get the highest resolution where the Quarry Lakes border Alameda Creek. 80 ft 40 ft 20 ft 10 ft DSD-INT 2023 | Hydrology User Days
  • 4. Further steps needed 4 • Enhance the resolution for the entire Alameda Creek (i.e. increasing the density of the model's grid cells throughout): refine calculations in the creek area given its importance in the evaluation • Reassess the groundwater system and potential impacts of the creek deepening • Additional geohydrological data • Transient simulation • Improve calibration DSD-INT 2023 | Hydrology User Days
  • 5. Current model (improved) 5 • MODFLOW 6 • Non-uniform unstructured Voronoi grid • Discretization along the creek area • Unconfined aquifer • Fully 3D • 4 discretization zones: 300 ft, 150 ft, 16 ft, 8/16 ft • 8ft: 283 300 model cells, minimum size: 9 ft2 • 16ft: 173 520 model cells (38.75% less model cells), minimum size: 22 ft2 DSD-INT 2023 | Hydrology User Days
  • 6. Data implemented 6 • Detailed data input for water system elements: lakes, river, drains -> extra grid refinement in these areas • Other spatially-varying conditions: sea, hydraulic properties, recharge, well extractions
  • 7. Tools used 7 • iMOD Python toolbox • Conversion of input data in several formats to unstructured grid • Delft3D river data implementation • Along with snakemake, creation of an automated workflow (particularly useful for scenarios simulation) • Results postprocessing: Maps, comparison with observed heads, water balance calculation • MODFLOW 6 • Unstructured grid capabilities • Model simulation DSD-INT 2023 | Hydrology User Days
  • 8. Results 8 Run times: • Steady state 16 ft grid approx. 2 to 3 minutes. • Steady state 8 ft grid approx. 50% longer. • 16ft grid 2 year on daily basis approx. 7 hrs • Heads calculation • Steady state results comparison with observed • Detailed water balance specifically for lakes and river area DSD-INT 2023 | Hydrology User Days
  • 9. Results 9 • Sensitivity analysis: for flows and heads (90 scenarios in total) • Transient calibration • Analysis of system behaviour under different dredging scenarios DSD-INT 2023 | Hydrology User Days
  • 10. Experiences 10 • Conversion of input files to unstructured grid • Use of MODFLOW 6 • Transient simulation and data creation • Scripting very helpful in the process of analysis and understanding the model: easily re-run and adapting the model • In the future: include variable density modelling DSD-INT 2023 | Hydrology User Days