Mr. Nasser Tuqan
PhD Candidate at the Centre for Territory, Environment and Construction (CTAC), University of Minho, Portugal
Groundwater is the dominant water resource for Palestinians amid their inability to access other natural water resources. The sustainability of the Eastern Aquifer Basin (EAB), which is the largest basin in terms of area in Palestine, has long been an issue of concern due to over-pumping. The agricultural sector of Jericho Governorate, where a significant share of the Palestinian agricultural activities take place, is the greatest user of the EAB’s abstractions. This study assesses the impacts of these activities on EAB’s sustainability under climate change scenarios. The Sustainable Efficiency method (Sefficiency) at the macro level was adopted by defining Jericho’s agricultural sector as the water use system (WUS). In terms of climate projections, the study relied on those presented in the Palestinian National Adaptation Plan (NAP) to Climate Change under the guidelines of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which followed the AR5 dataset and used the self-organizing maps (SOMs) simulation technique. The analysis simulated six different scenarios under two representative concentration pathways (RCPs), namely RCP2.6 and RCP6.0, corresponding to the projected changes in temperature and precipitation in three intervals (years 2025, 2055, and 2090). The results of these scenarios indicated a significant negative impact on the sustainability of the basin’s sustainability moving forward in years, especially under RCP6.0. In the year 2090, the gap between abstractions and replenishment will reach damaging levels with a 30% increase in abstractions, a 10% increase in evapotranspiration, and a 20% decrease in precipitation in comparison to the Business as Usual (BAU) conditions. This research presents an illustration of how beneficial water use efficiency tools, such as Sefficiency, can be to address groundwater basin’s sustainability in a methodological manner.