Application of Time Series Analysis to Estimate Drawdown From Multiple Well Fields

Davíd A. Brakenhoff, Martin A. Vonk, Raoul A. Collenteur, Marco Van Baar, Mark Bakker

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In 2018–2020, meteorological droughts over Northwestern Europe caused severe declines in groundwater heads with significant damage to groundwater-dependent ecosystems and agriculture. The response of the groundwater system to different hydrological stresses is valuable information for decision-makers. In this paper, a reproducible, data-driven approach using open-source software is proposed to quantify the effects of different hydrological stresses on heads. A scripted workflow was developed using the open-source Pastas software for time series modeling of heads. For each head time series, the best model structure and relevant hydrological stresses (rainfall, evaporation, river stages, and pumping at one or more well fields) were selected iteratively. A new method was applied to model multiple well fields with a single response function, where the response was scaled by the distances between the pumping and observation wells. Selection of the best model structure was performed through reliability checking based on four criteria. The time series model of each observation well represents an independent estimate of the contribution of different hydrological stresses to the head and is based exclusively on observed data. The approach was applied to estimate the drawdown caused by nearby well fields to 250 observed head time series measured at 122 locations in the eastern part of the Netherlands, a country where summer droughts can cause problems, even though the country is better known for problems with too much water. Reliable models were obtained for 126 head time series of which 78 contain one or more well fields as a contributing stress. The spatial variation of the modeled responses to pumping at the well fields show the expected decline with distance from the well field, even though all responses were modeled independently. An example application at one well field showed how the head response to pumping varies per aquifer. Time series analysis was used to determine the feasibility of reducing pumping rates to mitigate large drawdowns during droughts, which depends on the magnitude and response time of the groundwater system to changes in pumping. This is salient information for decision-makers. This article is part of the special issue “Rapid, Reproducible, and Robust Environmental Modeling for Decision Support: Worked Examples and Open-Source Software Tools”.
Original languageEnglish
Article number907609
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in earth science
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • time series analysis
  • well drawdown
  • groundwater
  • decision support
  • reproducible
  • model selection
  • Hantush response function


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