Testing the capabilities of the MODFLOW-based modelling tools in Pirna, Germany

To test and validate the capabilities of the newly developed MODFLOW-based tool for numerical groundwater flow modelling, a simple model was created for the groundwater research and teaching site of TU Dresden in Pirna, Germany.


To test and validate the capabilities of the real-time groundwater modelling tool on the INOWAS platform.


Research and teaching groundwater monitoring field of TU Dresden located on the right bank of Elbe river in Pirna, Germany. See on map.

Conceptual model

  • Model area: 25,200 m2 divided into 90 rows and 70 columns, with cell size of 2.5 x 2.6 m
  • Five model layers with varying thickness reaching from surface down to bedrock (15 m deep)
  • Simulation time: from 2 June 2014 to 20 January 2015 with daily stress periods
  • Boundary conditions used: RIV (Elbe river), FHB (derived from available piezometric heads in monitoring wells), RCH )derived from precipitation data)
  • Calibration: yes, data from groundwater level measurements at the site

Simulation scenarios

Evaluation of anthropogenic activities on groundwater levels: water pumping of 200 m3 / day from one well.

Model results

The simulated values show a good fit to measured data with groundwater levels following closely the water levels in the Elbe river. Some underestimation of groundwater levels at the of the simulation period and the slight overestimation during periods of high flow could be explained by the fast response of the aquifer to the rising levels in the river and the low resolution of the monitoring data. The groundwater depression cone due to pumping is clearly visible (figure above, right) although the groundwater heads only decline by 0.2 due to pumping.


Dr. Jana Glass
Research Group on Managed Aquifer Recharge INOWAS
Department of Hydrosciences
Technische Universität Dresden


The model was developed within the framework of the WaterJPI project “Smart framework for real-time monitoring and control of subsurface processes in managed aquifer recharge (MAR) applications (SMART-Control)” with funding provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), grant no. 033WU004A.