Modeling Flow and Transport in Unsaturated Porous Media: A Review

H.H. Al-Barwani, M. Al-Lawatia, E. Balakrishnan, A. Purnama


Underground water is a vital natural resource and every effort should be made to understand ways and means of efficiently using and managing it. The unsaturated zone, bounded at its top by the land surface and below by the water table, is the region through which water, together with pollutant carried by the water, infiltrates to reach the groundwater. Therefore, various processes occurring within the unsaturated zone play a major role in determining both the quality and quantity of water recharging into the groundwater. Classical methods of predicting water flow and contaminant transport processes in unsaturated porous media are generally inadequate when applied to natural soils under field conditions, due to the occurrence of macropores, structured elements and spatial variability of soil properties. Contaminant transport models also require the simultaneous solution of the unsaturated flow and transport equations. For applications to field conditions, numerical solutions and computer simulations based on numerical models have been increasingly used. Advances and progress in modeling water flow and contaminant transport in the unsaturated zones are reviewed, and specific research areas in need of future investigation especially relevant to Oman are outlined.


science, applied science, basic science

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