High-Level Python Interface for MODFLOW 6

pymf6 allows to access MODFLOW variables at run. This allows a user to access and modify nearly all model data during a run. A typical use is to change values of boundary conditions based on the current model state. With some basic Python programming, many different problems that may be to difficult to represent with crafting input data in a appropriate manner, may be solved with pymf6. Example usage include:

  • dependent boundary conditions, i.e. the value of one boundary cell depends on the value of other model cells, that are calculated during the model run

  • “technical” boundary conditions such as coupled extraction and injections wells, where the level of the extraction well should not drop under a given value and the injection rate should be the extractions rate, that in turn is a result of running model

  • coupling with other models such reactive transport, unsaturated zone models, or sewage pipe models

Usage Requirements

In order to use pymf6 you need to

  • understand the MODFLOW 6 variables as defined in the input files

  • have a working knowledge of Python programming


Install with pip:

pip install pymf6

Install with conda or mamba:

conda install -c hydrocomputing pymf6


mamba install -c hydrocomputing pymf6

You can also add the channel hydrocomputing permanently with:

conda config --add channels hydrocomputing

You also need a working copy of MODFLOW 6. Please download the version for your operating system from the USGS website. You might need to compile MODFLOW 6 for Linux and MacOS. A working installation of gcc and gfortran should do. The MODFLOW 6 download comes with a Makefile.


While you can specify the path to MODFLOW 6 DLL for each run, it is highly recommended to create a configuration. You need to create a file named pymf6.ini in your home directory. You can find your home directory with different methods. On Windows, the command:


should work.

On Posix systems such Linux and MacOSX, the command:

echo $HOME

should do.

The file pymf6.ini needs have to have this content

on Windows:

dll_path = path\to\mf6\bin\libmf6.dll

on Linux:

dll_path = path/to/mf6/bin/

on MacOSX:

dll_path = path/to/mf6/bin/libmf6.dylib

Replace the path path/to/mf6/bin/ with with your absolute path to the MODFLOW 6 directory bin that contains the shared library you downloaded from the USGS website (see chapter “Installation” above).

Test the Install

On the command line run:


The output should look similar to this on Windows:

pymf6 configuration data
pymf6 version: 1.0.0
xmipy version: 1.2.0
ini file path: <Home>\pymf6.ini
dll file path: <Home>\mf6.4.1\bin\libmf6.dll
MODFLOW version: 6.4.1

Where <Home>\ is the your absolute home path. The output on Linux and MacOSX looks slightly different due to different path separators and file extensions (see chapter “Configuration” above).

Run a model

To test the install run a model with command:

pymf6 path/to/my/model/mfsim.nam

where path/to/my/model/ is an absolute path to a MODFLOW nam file that is in a directory of a working MODFLOW model. For example any model in the directory examples that comes with MODFLOW 6 will do. The output should look similar to this:

running path/to/my/model/mfsim.nam
GOOD path/to/my/model/mfsim.nam


Please read the documentation for more details.