An Alternative BEM for Simulating the Flow Behavior of a Leaky Confined Fractured Aquifer With the Use of the Semianalytical Approach

Wanjing Luo, Junlei Wang, Lei Wang* (Corresponding Author), Yingfang Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

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This study developed an alternative boundary element method (BEM) to simulate the transient flow behavior of groundwater induced by well extraction in a confined‐fractured aquifer containing a network of discrete or connected fractures. The matrix flow, network‐fracture flow, and matrix‐fracture fluid exchange were considered. The aquifer was treated as a heterogeneous whole that consisted of fracture and matrix blocks with locally homogeneous hydraulic properties. The fractures were explicitly represented to be of true finite volume rather than nonrepresentational line sources. A semi‐analytical solution was developed based on the theory of a BEM in the Laplace‐transform domain, but the analytical Green's function was used for the bounded domain rather than the free‐space Green's function in a conventional BEM. Case studies were presented in order to investigate the flow‐exchange behavior between the matrix and fractures and the corresponding transient‐drawdown response. The results showed that: (1) Exchange‐flux distribution calculated with the classical infinitesimal fracture model was consistent with the difference of the normal drawdown derivative values on both sides of the fracture body in our model. (2) When the well was in the matrix, the fractures acted as both highly‐conductive conduits and leaky faults, and the drawdown‐derivative behaviors resembled the characteristics of a Warren & Root (1963) dual‐porosity reservoir model. (3) When the well was in the network fracture and when the volume of fracture was of the same order of magnitude as the matrix, the drawdown derivative might exhibit the look‐alike behavior of a dual‐porosity model.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2019WR026581
Number of pages23
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number5
Early online date30 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

Bibliographical note

This work is supported by the National Major Research Program for Science and Technology of China (Nos. 2017ZX05063 and 2017ZX05037) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51674227). The data used in this paper can be downloaded from the Zenodo website (


  • Green’s function
  • Boundary element method
  • Discretely confined-fractured aquifer
  • Continuously confined-fractured aquifer
  • Transient flow behavior


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