Stochastic estimation of hydraulic transmissivity fields using flow connectivity indicator data

  • Freixas, G.
  • Fernàndez-García, Daniel
  • Sánchez-Vila, Xavier
Most methods for hydraulic test interpretation rely on a number of simplified assumptions regarding the homogeneity and isotropy of the underlying porous media. This way, the actual heterogeneity of any natural parameter, such as transmissivity ( math formula), is transferred to the corresponding estimates in a way heavily dependent on the interpretation method used. An example is a long-term pumping test interpreted by means of the Cooper-Jacob method, which implicitly assumes a homogeneous isotropic confined aquifer. The estimates obtained from this method are not local values, but still have a clear physical meaning; the estimated math formula represents a regional-scale effective value, while the log-ratio of the normalized estimated storage coefficient, indicated by math formula, is an indicator of flow connectivity, representative of the scale given by the distance between the pumping and the observation wells. In this work we propose a methodology to use math formula, together with sampled local measurements of transmissivity at selected points, to map the expected value of local math formula values using a technique based on cokriging. Since the interpolation involves two variables measured at different support scales, a critical point is the estimation of the covariance and crosscovariance matrices. The method is applied to a synthetic field displaying statistical anisotropy, showing that the inclusion of connectivity indicators in the estimation method provide maps that effectively display preferential flow pathways, with direct consequences in solute transport.