WRIR 00-4066

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Nemeth, M.S., Wilcox, W.M., and Solo-Gabriele, H.M., 2000, Evaluation of the Use of Reach Transmissivity to Quantify Leakage Beneath Levee 31N, Miami-Dade County, Florida: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 00-4066, 80 p.


A coupled ground- and surface-water model (MODBRANCH) was developed to estimate ground-water flow beneath Levee 31N in Miami-Dade County, Florida, and to simulate hydrologic conditions in the surrounding area. The study included compilation of data from monitoring stations, measurement of vertical seepage rates in wetlands, and analysis of the hydrogeologic properties of the ground-water aquifer within the study area. In addition, the MODBRANCH code was modified to calculate the exchange between surface-water channels and ground water using a relation based on the concept of reach transmissivity.

The modified reach-transmissivity version of the MODBRANCH code was successfully tested on three simple problems with known analytical solutions. It was also tested and determined to function adequately on one field problem that had previously been solved using the unmodified version of the software. The modified version of MODBRANCH was judged to have performed satisfactorily, and it required about 60 percent as many iterations to reach a solution. Additionally, its input parameters are more physically-based and less dependent on model-grid spacing. A model of the Levee 31N area was developed and used with the original and modified versions of MODBRANCH, which produced similar output. The mean annual modeled ground-water heads differed by only 0.02 foot, and the mean annual canal discharge differed by less than 1.0 cubic foot per second.

Seepage meters were used to quantify vertical seepage rates in the Everglades wetlands area west of Levee 31N. A comparison between results from the seepage meters and from the computer model indicated substantial differences that seemed to be a result of local variations in the hydraulic properties in the topmost part of the Biscayne aquifer. The transmissivity of the Biscayne aquifer was estimated to be 1,400,000 square feet per day in the study area.

The computer model was employed to simulate seepage of ground water beneath Levee 31N. Modeled seepage rates were usually between 100 and 400 cubic feet per day per foot of levee, but extreme values ranged from about -200 to 500 cubic feet per day (positive values indicate eastward seepage beneath the levee). The modeled seepage results were used to develop an algorithm to estimate seepage based on head differential at selected monitoring stations. The algorithm was determined to adequately predict ground-water seepage.

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