Programme  Poster session 1  abstract 749

Groundwater resources in Jordan Valley: an integrated approach to the hydrogeological investigation of unconsolidated aquifers

Author(s): M. Toll, Elias Salameh, Martin Sauter
Prof. Dr. Salameh: Department of Applied Geology, University of Jordan, 11942, Amman, Jordan Prof. Dr. Sauter Applied Geology, University of Göttingen, Goldschmidtstr. 3, 37077, Göttingen, Germany

Keyword(s): integrated approach, groundwater resources, semi-arid, Jordan, unconsolidated aquifer, numerical flow model, impact of climate change

Article: abs749_article.pdf
Poster: abs749_poster.jpg
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Session: Poster session 1
AbstractIn semi-arid areas groundwater systems are frequently not

sufficiently characterized hydrogeologically and long term data records are generally not available. Long-term time

series are necessary, however to design future groundwater abstraction scenarios or to predict the influence of future

climate change effects on groundwater resources. To overcome these problems an integrated approach for the

provision of a reliable database based on sparse and fuzzy data is proposed. This integrated approach is

demonstrated in the lowermost area of the Jordan Valley.
The Jordan Valley is part of the Jordan Dead Sea

Wadi Araba Rift Valley, which extends from the Red Sea to lake Tiberias and beyond with a major 107 km sinistral

strike-slip fault between the Arabian plate to the east and the northeastern part of the African plate to the west. Due

to extensional forces a topographic depression was formed. As a result of an arid environment it is filled with

evaporites, lacustrine sediments, and clastic fluvial components. A subtropical climate with hot, dry summers and

mild humid winters with low amounts of rainfall provide excellent farming conditions. Therefore the Jordan Valley is

considered as the food basket of Jordan and is used intensively for agriculture. As a result hundreds of shallow wells

were drilled and large amounts of groundwater were abstracted since groundwater is the major source for irrigation.

Consequently groundwater quality decreased rapidly since the sixties and signs of overpumping and an increase in

soil salinity could clearly be seen.
In order to achieve a sustainable state of water resources and to quantify the

impact of climate change on water resources a proper assessment of the groundwater resources as well as their

quality is a prerequisite. In order to sufficiently describe the complex hydrogeologic flow system an integrated

approach, combining geological, geophysical, hydrogeological, historical, and chemical methods was chosen. The

aquifer geometry and composition is described with the help of geological, hydochemical, and geophysical methods.

As far as the water budget is concerned, the recharge to the considered aquifer is estimated with geological methods

and available data sets, while the abstraction from the aquifer is estimated with the help of remote sensing techniques.

A historical approach is used to detect the general conditions under which the groundwater system has been in the

past. Afterwards this information is implemented into a flow model. On the basis of the findings a numerical 3-D

transient model integrating all important features of the hydrogeological system was developed In order to be able to

give reliable predictions about the impacts of climate change scenarios on the groundwater system the flow model

was tested against stress periods depicted during the historical review of the test area.. These stress periods include

periods of intense rainfall, of drought, and of anthropogenic impacts, like building of storage dams and of violent

conflicts. Recommendations for future sustainable groundwater abstractions are given.

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