Territory Stories

Development of a Groundwater Model for the Western Davenport Plains



Development of a Groundwater Model for the Western Davenport Plains


Knapton, Anthony; CloudGMS Pty Ltd

Commissioned by

Northern Territory. Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT; WRD Technical Report 27/2017




Western Davenport Water Control District


CloudGMS has been commissioned by DENR to develop a numerical groundwater model of the aquifers within the central area of the WDWCD to improve confidence in the sustainability of the groundwater resources, as this is the area within the WCD with greatest potential for intensive development.


Made available by via Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT); Prepared for Dept Environment and Natural resources

Table of contents

Executive summary -- 1 Background -- 2 Physical -- 3 Available data -- 4 Conceptual model -- 5 Model design & construction -- 6 Parameter estimation -- 7 Water balances -- 8 Sensitivity analysis -- 9 Predictive scenarios -- 10 Conclusions -- 11 Reference -- 12 Document history and version control -- Appendix A - Groundwater level hydrographs - Appendix B - Alek range horticultural farm sub-regional modelling




Groundwater; Northern Territory; Western Davenport Water Control District; Conceptual mode

Publisher name

Northern Territory Governmnet

Place of publication



version 2.0


WRD Technical Report 27/2017


ix, 127 pages : colour illustration and maps ; 30 cm

File type





Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



Related links

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/842058 [LANT E-Publications: Development of a Groundwater Model for the Western Davenport Plains, version 1.1]

Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

Western Davenport WCD Groundwater Model (v2.0) Conceptual Model CloudGMS 48 4 Conceptual model 4.1. Introduction The purpose of this section is to establish the basic design principles for a groundwater model to evaluate the current and future groundwater development of the Western Davenport WCD, and develop appropriate management plan(s), and to identify any key knowledge gaps to guide potential future investigations. The development of a conceptual model is one of the most important steps in groundwater modelling (Barnett et al, 2012). At this stage of the modelling process, the modeller will have to make decisions on what processes to include (or exclude) and what simplifying assumptions should be made to achieve the modelling objective(s). Those decisions will strongly influence the mathematical model and ultimately the modelling outcome. It follows that errors in the conceptual model can propagate through the remainder of the modelling study, and if not detected early on, can potentially lead to invalid modelling results and conclusions. For this reason, a conceptual model should always be checked carefully for potential errors. 4.2. Proposed conceptual model The occurrence and dynamics of the groundwater stored in the WDP aquifer system are due to the interaction between the surface and sub-surface components of the hydrologic cycle, primarily: surface water runoff (flood events); groundwater recharge from infiltration of overland flow and ponded surface water; evapotranspiration from the unsaturated zone; groundwater abstraction; and lateral groundwater throughflow. These components are summarised in Table 9 and a schematic of the interaction between the hydrologic processes occurring in the Western Davenport WCD study area are presented in Figure 4-1. The numerical model will be required to simulate the hydrological process identified above and to calculate the water balance of the aquifer system and the exchanges between the aquifers in the study area. Each of the hydrologic processes is represented by one of the MIKE SHE numerical process models available and the linkage between the hydrological process and the representative MIKE SHE module are summarised in Table 9. Detailed descriptions of each MIKE SHE numerical process is covered in the sub-sections under section 5. The saturated zone components (items 6 9) are described in more detail below in sections 4.3, 4.4 and 4.5 and includes a review of the current understanding of each of the processes and the water balance estimates from the previous investigations conducted in the area.