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Kansas Geological Survey, Open-file Report 2016-3

Minimum Saturated Thickness Calculator

Method Overview and Spreadsheet Description

by Andrea Brookfield

KGS Open File Report 2016-3
February 2016


The saturated thickness of an aquifer is one factor that can limit well yields. When a well is pumped, water levels in the vicinity of the well decline and a local cone of depression forms. As water levels decline in an unconfined aquifer, the thickness of the aquifer decreases. The thickness may decrease to a point at which the aquifer can no longer yield water to the well at the desired rate of pumping.

Hecox et al. (2002) outlined a simple approach for calculating the minimum saturated thickness required to sustain a particular pumping rate and duration. The objective of this report is to further describe the Hecox et al. (2002) method for calculation of the minimum saturated thickness and to present a spreadsheet tool for its implementation. This spreadsheet tool expands the Hecox et al. (2002) approach to include the Jacob correction (Sections 2.2 and 2.5) to account for the decrease in aquifer thickness due to pumping in an unconfined aquifer. The spreadsheet was developed to be broadly applicable, allowing user-specified aquifer and well characteristics.

The complete text of this report is available as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file.

Main Report (Adobe Acrobat, 1.2 MB)
Min_Sat_Thickness.xlsm (Excel Spreadsheet, 30 kB)

Kansas Geological Survey, Geohydrology
Placed online Feb. 12, 2016
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