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Real-Time Management of an Urban Groundwater Well Field Threatened by Pollution

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journal contribution
posted on 01.09.2010, 00:00 authored by Gero Bauser, Harrie-Jan Hendricks Franssen, Hans-Peter Kaiser, Ulrich Kuhlmann, Fritz Stauffer, Wolfgang Kinzelbach
We present an optimal real-time control approach for the management of drinking water well fields. The methodology is applied to the Hardhof field in the city of Zurich, Switzerland, which is threatened by diffuse pollution. The risk of attracting pollutants is higher if the pumping rate is increased and can be reduced by increasing artificial recharge (AR) or by adaptive allocation of the AR. The method was first tested in offline simulations with a three-dimensional finite element variably saturated subsurface flow model for the period January 2004-August 2005. The simulations revealed that (1) optimal control results were more effective than the historical control results and (2) the spatial distribution of AR should be different from the historical one. Next, the methodology was extended to a real-time control method based on the Ensemble Kalman Filter method, using 87 online groundwater head measurements, and tested at the site. The real-time control of the well field resulted in a decrease of the electrical conductivity of the water at critical measurement points which indicates a reduced inflow of water originating from contaminated sites. It can be concluded that the simulation and the application confirm the feasibility of the real-time control concept.