Numerical modelling of groundwater basins (1981)

This book by Boonstra and De Ridder (1981) was one of the first to describe the use of computer technology for numerical modelling of groundwater. It is still a very useful introduction for those engaging in modelling of groundwater systems.


From the introduction:

»With the advance of high-speed electronic computers, numerical models are being extensively used in analysing groundwater flow problems. Yet, confusion and misunderstanding still surround their application, even though such famous old-timers as Laplace and Newton were long ago applying numerical techniques to solve physical problems. It cannot be denied that the results of some groundwater models have proved erroneous. This has led a number of hydrologists to overreact by concluding that groundwater modelling is worthless. At the other extreme we find the admirers of models, who unconditionally accept any computer result, even if it makes no hydrological sense. Between these two extremes there is the silent majority of hydrologists, who regard computerized groundwater modelling as an esoteric technique practised only by the happy few of initiates. It is particularly for this category of colleagues, and for students as well, that we have written this book. For those who belong in the two extreme categories, we hope that we can alleviate at least some of their misconceptions about groundwater models. And yet, one should not expect miracles from models, which are, and cannot be anything more than, simplifications of the complex conditions that we face in nature.

A wealth of papers have been written on numerical groundwater models; but if a geologist or hydrologist wants to apply the technique described in them, he scarcely knows how to proceed. If a manual is available, it will very likely describe how the model was developed but not how it should be used. Groundwater modelling is a multidisciplinary science, involving geology, climatology, surface water hydrology, groundwater hydraulics, and computer language. A person familiar with all these disciplines is a rare person indeed. Nevertheless, we hope to guide a potential user through the maze of these disciplines and show him how to develop and calibrate a model and put it into operational use.

As a service to our readers, we are offering a copy of the computer programs in the form of a complete set of punched computer cards. These can be ordered from ILRI; the only costs involved are those of copying the programs and of mailing the cards. Also available is a test example, which allows the user to check whether he is handling the model correctly. We are grateful for comments and suggestions received from colleagues and students who read the manuscript carefully and drew our attention to shortcomings and unclear sentences. In particular, we wish to thank Mr. I.M. Goodwill, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds, Mr. D. MacTavish, Binnie and Partners, London, Mr. D.N. Lerner, London, Dr. J.J. de Vries, Free University of Amsterdam, Dr. G.P. Kruseman, International Agricultural Centre, Wageningen, Mr. W. Boehmer, Euroconsult, Arnhem, and Mr. A. Bosscher, International Institute for Earth Sciences, Enschede, for their most valuable comments. Thanks are also due to Ms. M. Wiersma-Roche for editing and correcting our English, Ms. M. Beerens for typing the manuscript, and Mr. J. van Dijk for the drafting.

In presenting this book, we hope to have made a contribution to a better understanding of what a groundwater model is, what it can do, and, what is probably more important, what it cannot do. If we have aided in eliminating some of the confusion surrounding groundwater modelling, we have achieved our goal.«


acrobat_icon Boonstra, J. and N.A. de Ridder (1981) Numerical modelling of groundwater basins
    A user-oriented manual; ILRI publication 29, 2nd edition, 1990, International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement (ILRI), Wageningen, 238 pp.