INFLUENCE OF THE UNSATURATED ZONE ON THE SALT-WATER FRONT IN UNCONFINED AQUIFERS.
The flux due to artificial or natural recharge, or due to discharge resulting from excessive evaporation originating at the natural groundwater table, must traverse the unsaturated zone above unconfined aquifers. This process affects the existing hydraulic heads in the saturated zone, thereby effecting the overall dynamic behavior of the sea water/fresh water interface. A numerical model was developed to account for the influence of capillary storage and capillary flow in the partially saturated region on the development of the shape of that interface. The model demonstrated that the contribution of the capillary flow is significant when the effective permeable height is the same order of magnitude as the saturated thickness.