Groundwater Modeling

Water resources for a sustainable future.

GGI constructs site-specific models to simulate various hydrogeologic conditions, such as shallow alluvial aquifers that are closely connected with adjacent streams and springs, fractured bedrock aquifers, and deep, semi-consolidated basin fill aquifers. These models are used to make predictions for future water availability, the potential for groundwater contaminant transport to water supply wells and well field management.


model layers geologic structure Eldorado WSD Block diagram showing model layers and geologic structure for Eldorado WSD

GGI utilizes the USGS (United State Geological Survey) MODFLOW model, which is a numerical computer program that solves three-dimensional groundwater flow equations using a finite-difference method (McDonald and Harbaugh, 1988).

This model is used as a stand-alone computer program or run through a graphical user interface program called Groundwater Vistas™ (Rumbaugh and Rumbaugh, 2007). These two tools are used to create simulations of groundwater flow under different hydrogeologic conditions in order to make predictions for future groundwater conditions. The site-specific groundwater models created by GGI vary in complexity depending on the amount of detail required, the hydrogeologic data available, and the scale of the project.

In all cases, when we start a new modeling project, all available hydrogeologic data are investigated and field reconnaissance is conducted to utilize as much “real world” data as possible when constructing the groundwater model.

We often work with the NM Office of the State Engineer to develop groundwater models that are used to evaluate water rights transfers throughout the state. These water rights administrative models are used to determine the changes in drawdown in the subject aquifer and depletion effects on nearby surface water when points of groundwater diversion are moved or pumping rates are increased.

Selected Projects