Abstracts of presentations given on Wednesday, 19 July 2006, in session 16 of the UCOWR Conference.


Capture zones of water-supply wells are a widely used analysis tool for protection of groundwater resources. Transient analyses of capture zones provide a more complete assessment than the commonly applied steady-state analyses. Previously, we have demonstrated that advection-only analyses can produce biased transient capture-zone estimates. Therefore, it is important to consider the dispersion of contaminant plumes. Here, we extend our study to incorporate temporal and spatial distribution in the contaminant sources and their respective uncertainties. Our analysis indicates that the capture-zone estimates can be very sensitive to the transients in the contaminant releases. Even relatively small uncertainties in the contaminant source, when combined with transient flow effects associated with natural variability of gradients or water-supply pumping, can cause significant uncertainties in the capture-zone estimates. This conclusion has important practical implications. Furthermore, we investigate the impact of uncertainty in the longitudinal and transverse dispersivities on the transient capture estimates.