Comparative study of methods for delineating the wellhead protection area in an unconfined coastal aquifer

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8 Scopus citations


Various delineation methods, ranging from simple analytical solutions to complex numerical models, have been applied for wellhead protection area (WHPA) delineation. Numerical modeling is usually regarded as the most reliable method, but the uncertainty of input parameters has always been an obstacle. This study aims at examining the results from different WHPA delineation methods and addressing the delineation uncertainty of numerical modeling due to the uncertainty from input parameters. A comparison and uncertainty analysis were performed at two pumping sites-a single well and a wellfield consisting of eight wells in an unconfined coastal aquifer in Israel. By appointing numerical modeling as the reference method, a comparison between different methods showed that a semi-analytical method best fits the reference WHPA, and that analytical solutions produced overestimated WHPAs in unconfined aquifers as regional groundwater flow characteristics were neglected. The results from single well and wellfield indicated that interferences between wells are important for WHPA delineation, and thus, that only semi-analytical and numerical modelling are recommended for WHPA delineation at wellfields. Stochastic modeling was employed to analyze the uncertainty of numerical method, and the probabilistic distribution of WHPAs, rather a deterministic protection area, was generated with considering the uncertain input hydrogeological parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1168
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • Groundwater protection
  • Uncertainty analysis
  • Wellhead protection area (WHPA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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