Hydrology BC ENV 3025

Darcy's law


Conceptual model of groundwater flow

  • the flow of water through a porous medium (Fig 6.1)
  • water flows tortuous paths
  • geometry of channels is very complex
  • frictionles flow is totally meaningless!
  • conceptual model of flow through a porous medium is flow through a bundle of very small (capillary) tubes of different diameters (Fig 6.2)
  • the flow (Q) through a horizontal tube can be described as: Q = - π *D4/(128* µ )*dp/dx (Poiseuille's law)

  • => size of the capillary tubes is important!

    Darcy's law

    Water in natural formations

    formation contains water permeability
    aquifer Y high
    aquitard Y low
    aquiclude Y very low
    aquifuge N negligible

    Steady groundwater flow

    Quantifying groundwater flow using flownets

    Heterogeneity and anisotropy


  • Manning, J.C. (1997) Applied Principles of Hydrology. Prentice Hall, third edition, 276p.
  • Freeze, R.A. and Cherry, J.A. (1979) Groundwater. Prentice Hall, 604p.
  • WIPP
  • WIPP Information Site - EHC