Modeling Coastal Aquifer in MODFLOW / ModelMuse and QGIS - Tutorial


Assessing the groundwater flow regime in coastal aquifers is a challenge for numerical modelers. In order to have a complete set of parameters and input data for a valuable numerical simulation we need to compile several hydrogeological studies, reconstruct datasets and proof the accuracy of hydraulic tests. Still some parameter would be missing but the experience and criteria of the groundwater modeler would achieve adequate simulations and predictions required by an adaptive sustainable groundwater resources management.

Hydrogeological conceptualization of the main physical process related to groundwater flow in coastal aquifers is complex with main focus on:

  • Recharge from river infiltration and irrigation areas

  • Pumping well exploitation

  • Discharge and interaction with seawater

  • Evapotranspiration in zones with water table close to surface

This tutorial shows the whole process of model geometry construction, boundary condition implementation, set up of the observation points and simulation on steady state conditions. There is a discussion on the model water balance and the stage of the simulation results.

Boundary conditions

The boundary conditions implemented for this model are:


Recharge (RCH):

Recharge from irrigation areas.


River (RIV):

Simulation of river interaction with the aquifer.

Well (WEL):

Well abstraction in pumping wells.


General Head Boundary (GHB):

Simulation of the aquifer interaction with the sea.


Evapotranspiration (EVT):

Simulate the evapotranspiration from groundwater in zones with elevated water table.

Observation points

The study case developed in this tutorial include the implementation of the observation point package (HOB) from a shapefile with the specification of the screen elevation and the observed head form the shapefile attributes.



Input files

You can download the input files for this tutorial here.

Saul Montoya

Saul Montoya es Ingeniero Civil graduado de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú en Lima con estudios de postgrado en Manejo e Ingeniería de Recursos Hídricos (Programa WAREM) de la Universidad de Stuttgart con mención en Ingeniería de Aguas Subterráneas y Hidroinformática.

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