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Detailed Description



Introduction to FLOWPATH II for Windows

FLOWPATH II for Windows is the next generation of the world's most popular 2-D groundwater model. This latest version of FLOWPATH has been radically improved with many new features and enhanced graphical display to give you more power, flexibility and control than ever before! In addition, FLOWPATH II now includes contaminant transport to give you even more simulation capabilities.

The new interface for FLOWPATH has all the features you would expect from a Windows application including zoom displays, true type fonts, liberal use of the right mouse button for extended options, fully object-oriented wells, properties and boundary conditions, and rich utilization of colors for presentation of results. However, in spite of all these new features, FLOWPATH II retains the same simple structure and easy-to-use approach to modeling that has made it the software of choice for practicing hydrogeologists and environmental engineers around the world.

FLOWPATH II for Windows has everything you need to create either a simple or complex 2-D groundwater flow and contaminant transport model: (1) Graphically assign all necessary flow and transport parameters, (2) Run the simulation, (3) Calibrate the model using calibration statistics and graphical results, and (4) Visualize full-color, high-resolution results.

For professional applications in two-dimensional groundwater flow and contaminant transport modeling, FLOWPATH II for Windows is the only software package you will ever need!

Professional Applications of FLOWPATH II

FLOWPATH II for Windows is the most comprehensive modeling environment specifically designed for simulating 2-D groundwater flow and contaminant transport in unconfined, confined and leaky aquifers with heterogeneous properties, multiple pumping wells and complex boundary conditions. Some typical applications of FLOWPATH II for Windows include:

  • Determining remediation well capture zones
  • Delineating wellhead protection areas
  • Designing and optimizing pumping well locations for dewatering projects
  • Determining contaminant fate and exposure pathways for risk assessment

FLOWPATH was first released in 1989 and, at the time, was the only fully-integrated groundwater flow and pathlines modeling software package available. This revolutionary package quickly became an industry standard among both practicing hydrogeologists and professional groundwater modelers. Today, FLOWPATH is applied by over 5,000 ground-water modeling professionals in over 75 different countries and is used to teach groundwater modeling at over 200 educational institutions worldwide.

FLOWPATH II Main Features

  • Contaminant transport simulation capabilities
  • Imports all previous FLOWPATH model files
  • Grid rotation over the site map
  • Expandable model domain
  • Fully object-oriented wells, properties and boundary conditions
  • Cell-by-cell anisotropy for hydraulic conductivity properties
  • Visualize the model in plan view and cross section
  • Color-shaded contouring of calibration and modeling results
  • Customizable display of contoured results, pathlines and overlay priorities
  • Plot concentration vs. distance at each output time step
  • Animated particle tracking and contaminant transport simulations

About the FLOWPATH II Interface

FLOWPATH II has been specifically designed to increase modeling productivity and decrease the complexities typically associated with building groundwater flow and contaminant transport models. The FLOWPATH II interface is divided into three separate modules, the Input Module, the Run Module, and the Output Module. When you open or create a file, you will be able to seamlessly switch between these modules to build or modify the model input parameters, run the simulations, and display results.

The FLOWPATH II Input Module

The FLOWPATH II Input Module allows the user to graphically assign all the necessary input parameters for building a two-dimensional groundwater flow and contaminant transport model. The input menus represent the basic 'building blocks' of a numerical model and are arranged in a logical order to guide the user through the normal sequence of steps required to design a groundwater flow and contaminant transport model.

The FLOWPATH II Run Module

The FLOWPATH II Run Module allows the user to select which analysis to perform (flow, particle tracking and/or transport) and modify the settings for the flow and transport solution methods.

The FLOWPATH II Output Module

The FLOWPATH II Output Module allows the user to display all the modeling and calibration results for the flow and transport simulation. The output menus allow you to select, customize and overlay the various options for displaying and interpreting the modeling results. All modeling results can be printed to any printer or plotter supported by Windows or exported to ASCII, .DXF or .WMF file formats.

Input Menu Screen
Output Menu Screen

FLOWPATH II utilizes the lower status bar of the interface as a customizable information reporting area to display data associated with the mouse location on the screen. Sample information that can be displayed includes hydraulic conductivities, boundary condition values, heads and concentrations.

FLOWPATH II Model Design Features - The Input Module

The process of building the input data file for a groundwater flow and/or transport model is often the most time-intensive and tedious task associated with groundwater modeling projects. The logical structure and layout of the FLOWPATH II interface eliminates these difficulties by guiding the user through the sequence of steps necessary to build a complete groundwater flow and contaminant transport model.

Once you start using FLOWPATH II, you will immediately realize the timesaving benefits of the powerful graphical tools that allow you to quickly and conveniently assign spatially-variable property distributions, multiple pumping wells, and complex boundary conditions. The following section describes the sequence of FLOWPATH input screens and model-building tools which are provided for creating your model input data.

Grid Design Features

  • Rotate the model grid over the site map to align the model domain.
  • Supports .DXF and .BMP file formats.
  • Modify the grid using standard 'point-and-click' Windows. operations to Add, Erase, Move and automatically Refine rows and columns.
  • Reset the X and Y limits of the grid.



  • Unlimited number of pumping wells, injection wells and observation wells.
  • Assign and modify wells using standard point-and-click methods to Add, Erase, Move and Copy each well.
  • Import well information from a spreadsheet or ASCII file.
  • Modify the appearance (color, size and font) of the well symbols and labels.

Each well is a separate object which is tied to the location within the model domain. This means that modifications to the model grid (adding, deleting and moving rows and columns) do not affect the location or properties of the wells.



The aquifer properties which are accounted for in FLOWPATH II include:

  • Inactive zones (no-flow regions),
  • Hydraulic conductivity (Kx and Ky),
  • Porosity,
  • Top and bottom elevations, and
  • Dispersion.

Model properties are assigned in FLOWPATH II using standard Windows graphical tools including lines, polygons and boxes. Each property zone is treated as an object with attributes that include a property ID #, property values, color and shape. Each of these attributes are tied to the object itself and are not affected by modifications to the model grid or other model parameters. FLOWPATH II also allows you to view the site in cross section. Although it is a two-dimensional model, it is often useful to be able to see the model in cross section to ensure that the top and bottom elevations provide a reasonable representation of the observed site characteristics.


Picture Boundary Conditions

Unlike other 2-D groundwater flow models, FLOWPATH II simulates all types of aquifer conditions including unconfined, confined and leaky. In order to accommodate these conditions, FLOWPATH II supports boundary conditions for both the aquifer and the aquitard.

Aquifer boundary conditions include:

  • Constant Head
  • Specified Flux
  • Rivers/Lakes
  • Drains
  • Recharge and Concentration Source

Aquitard boundary conditions include:

  • Flux Rate Top
  • Flux Rate Bottom
  • Leakance Top
  • Leakance Bottom

PictureModel boundary conditions are assigned in FLOWPATH II using standard Windows graphical tools including lines, polygons and boxes. Each boundary condition is treated as an object with attributes that include a boundary ID #, boundary values, color and shape. Each of these attributes are tied to the boundary object itself and are not affected by modifications to the model grid or other model parameters..

PictureMultiple concentration source terms can be assigned in FLOWPATH II anywhere in the model domain. The individual source term input parameters include Source Concentration, Source Duration, and Decay Rate. The retardation (adsorption) term is assumed to be uniform for the entire model domain and is accommodated in the run settings.

FLOWPATH II Analysis Features - The Run Module

The FLOWPATH II Run Module allows the user to select which analysis to perform (flow, particle tracking and/or transport) and modify the settings for the flow and transport solution methods.

Flow Model Solution Settings


FLOWPATH II has two matrix solvers for the flow solution:

  • the original ADI method, and
  • the powerful PCG-STAB method.

Although the PCG-STAB method will likely be the best (fastest) choice for most situations, there are instances where this method is too aggressive and will not converge. Thus the slower ADI method is required.

Solver Parameters

FLOWPATH II actually provides you with the ability to control the numerical solution process by manipulating the solver parameters and convergence criteria while the solution is in progress. In addition, it provides a real-time graphical display of the solution convergence data so that you can now see a real-time graphical progress report.

Picture Picture

Contaminant Transport Solution Settings

FLOWPATH II uses the Random Walk solution process for solving the contaminant transport problem and allows the user to customize the Random Walk solution methods with Method options such as:

  • Constant Displacement,
  • Constant Time, or
  • Predictor-Corrector

Other contaminant transport run settings include:

  • Model time steps
  • Number of time steps
  • Constant Displacement
  • Retardation Coefficient
  • Number of Particles
  • Dimensions of Transport Grid

FLOWPATH II provides a graphical display of either the total mass in the system or the maximum concentration in the system and gives a detailed mass balance for each output time step.

Picture Picture

FLOWPATH II Display Features - The Output Module

The ability to visualize the simulation results is almost as important as creating the model in the first place. In order to get the most out of the model you build, it is critical that you have the tools necessary to properly analyze and interpret the results. FLOWPATH II allows you to capitalize on the full band of Windows colors to produce striking displays of your modeling results. It provides a comprehensive selection of graphical displays and options to allow you to fully customize your results.

Contoured Results

FLOWPATH II allows you to produce and display customizable contour plots of the simulation results including:

  • Heads,
  • Drawdowns,
  • Concentrations,
  • Flow velocities, and
  • Calibration residuals

FLOWPATH II accommodates multiple contour plot overlays to display both heads and concentration on the same plot. The contour customization settings include:

  • Min and max contour value,
  • Contour interval (# of contours or interval value),
  • Manual contour values,
  • Contour line color,
  • Contour label size, font, frequency and decimals, and
  • Color shading threshold values, and more.

Picture Picture

PictureIn addition, FLOWPATH II includes an animation builder for showing the results of contaminant transport simulations and can plot concentration vs. distance plots for each time step in the simulation.

Picture Flow Velocity Vectors

The flow velocity vectors provide an important representation of the groundwater flow direction within a particular layer, row or column of the model. Display options include setting the number of velocity vectors per line and adjusting the scale of the velocity vectors.


The flow pathlines in FLOWPATH II provide an important representation of the flow direction and the path that the groundwater will follow from a specific location. Backwards particle tracking can also be used to indicate where the groundwater is coming from and how long it is taking to get there. Time-related pathlines and time markers can also be displayed on each pathline. FLOWPATH II also includes a particle animator to show the progression of a well capture zone over time.

Picture Calibration

FLOWPATH II has built-in analysis tools for evaluating the quality of the fit between the model you have developed and the data you have observed in the field. A contour plot of calibration residuals can be plotted (as lines or color shading) to identify model regions where the simulated data does not provide a good fit with the observed data. A regression graph of calculated vs. observed data is also available with calibration statistics.

Water Budget

FLOWPATH II provides a detailed summary of the mass balance results and zone-to-zone flow exchanges. These mass balance results provide important information on the quality and reliability of the groundwater model you have built. If you do not achieve a reasonable mass balance between the flow entering the system and the flow leaving the system, your model will not yield reliable results. The mass balance results are summarized according to flow contributions from each type of boundary condition and can be used to troubleshoot the model and identify regions where there are unreasonable flux rates.

Picture Printing

FLOWPATH II prints full-color, high-resolution graphics to any printer or plotter supported by Windows 95/NT. The graphical display of the simulation results and/or input files can be printed in portrait or landscape format as a full page image or with a title block that describes the details of the model and the results being displayed. A company logo can also be imported from a bitmap and displayed in the title block.

FLOWPATH also prints the on-screen display to DXF or WMF file formats and exports results to ASCII files in 2-D.

FLOWPATH II Documentation

FLOWPATH II contains detailed on-line help and is accompanied by a comprehensive user's manual containing easy-to-follow instructions and a step-by-step tutorial. Free technical support is provided by phone, fax and e-mail.

FLOWPATH II Requirements: PC 486DX/Pentium running Windows 95/98/2000/NT with 16 MB RAM and 25 MB free disk space.

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