This paper presents the results of a laboratory study on the thermal conductivity of sand(silica, quartzite, limestone, sandstone, granite and masonry sand)-water mixtures used in ground heat exchanger backfilling materials. Nearly 260 tests were performed in a thermal conductivity measuring system to characterize the relationships between the thermal conductivity of mixtures and the water content. The experimental results show that the thermal conductivity of mixtures increases with increasing dry density and with increasing water content. The most widely used empirical prediction models for thermal conductivity of soils were found inappropriate to estimate the thermal conductivity of unsaturated sand-water mixtures. An improved model using a exponential relationship to compute the thermal conductivity of dry sands and empirical relationship to assess the normalized thermal conductivity of unsaturated sand-water mixtures is presented.