Axisymmetric flow to a well is an important topic of groundwater hydraulics, the simulation of which depends on accurate computation of head gradients. Groundwater numerical models with conventional rectilinear grid geometry such as MODFLOW (in contrast to analytical models) generally have not been used to simulate aquifer test results at a pumping well because they are not designed or expected to closely simulate the head gradient near the well. A scaling method is proposed based on mapping the governing flow equation from cylindrical to Cartesian coordinates, and vice versa. A set of relationships and scales is derived to implement the conversion. The proposed scaling method is then embedded in MODFLOW 2000. To verify the accuracy of the method steady and unsteady flows in confined and unconfined aquifers with fully or partially penetrating pumping wells are simulated and compared with the corresponding analytical solutions. In all cases a high degree of accuracy is achieved.