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Hydraulic Conductivity (K)

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Hydraulic Conductivity (K)

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Measure of the ease with which water will pass through the earth's material; defined as the rate of flow through a cross-section of one square metre under a unit hydraulic gradient at right angles to the direction of flow (m/d).


Hydraulic conductivity is the constant of proportionalitity in Darcy's Law.  It is defined as the volume of water that will move through a porous medium in unit time under a unit hydraulic gradient through a unit area measured at perpendicular to the flow direction.  It should not be confused with permeability.

Why is hydraulic conductivity important?

Hydraulic conductivity provides an indication of the ease with which water moves through the subsurface and is used to calculate rates of groundwater movement.