The spatial variation of the hydraulic conductivity of a complex confining layer in the Netherlands was modelled on four scales: sediment cores, numerical model blocks, and local and regional scales. Two stochastic methods were combined: conditional simulation of texture classes to obtain three-dimensional images of the lithology of the confining layer from borehole descriptions, and a statistical upscaling procedure to derive the first- and second-order statistics of hydraulic conductivities on the scale of the numerical model blocks. When the upscaling of the core-scale conductivities is ignored, the local- and regional-scale groundwater flows through the confining layer will be predicted wrongly.
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