Abstract This paper proposes a single-phase flow model to simulate the flow induced in a liquid by the injection of gas dispersed in the form of a bubble curtain. It aims at predicting macroscopic liquid flow and mixing time. This single-phase flow model is developed as an alternative to two-phase flow models. The model is based on the assumption that the liquid flow is induced by a density imbalance between the bulk zone and the bubble curtain zone. The density in the bulk is set to the water density while the density in the bubble curtain corresponds to the air–water mixture density and is assessed by numerical simulations, thanks to an iterative procedure. Only the knowledge of the injected air flow rate and the bubble liquid relative velocity is required. The single-phase flow model is applied to assess the liquid flow and the mixing in open quarries having a complex geometry. The liquid velocities and the flow structure in the open quarries simulated with the single-phase flow model are in good agreement with those predicted by numerical simulations based on a two-phase flow model.