Measuring Groundwater Flow Velocities near Drinking Water Extraction Wells in Unconsolidated Sediments

Wiecher Bakx*, Victor F. Bense, Marios Karaoulis, Gualbert H.P. Oude Essink, Marc F.P. Bierkens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Groundwater is an important source of drinking water in coastal regions with predominantly unconsolidated sediments. To protect and manage drinking water extraction wells in these regions, reliable estimates of groundwater flow velocities around well fields are of paramount importance. Such measurements help to identify the dynamics of the groundwater flow and its response to stresses, to optimize water resources management, and to calibrate groundwater flow models. In this article, we review approaches for measuring the relatively high groundwater flow velocity measurements near these wells. We discuss and review their potential and limitations for use in this environment. Environmental tracer measurements are found to be useful for regional scale estimates of groundwater flow velocities and directions, but their use is limited near drinking water extraction wells. Surface-based hydrogeophysical measurements can potentially provide insight into groundwater flow velocity patterns, although the depth is limited in large-scale measurement setups. Active-heating distributed temperature sensing (AH-DTS) provides direct measurements of in situ groundwater flow velocities and can monitor fluctuations in the high groundwater flow velocities near drinking water extraction wells. Combining geoelectrical measurements with AH-DTS shows the potential to estimate a 3D groundwater flow velocity distribution to fully identify groundwater flow towards drinking water extraction wells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2167
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2023


  • aquifer
  • drinking water
  • ERT
  • extraction well
  • flow
  • groundwater
  • heterogeneity
  • velocity


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