Environmental Geology

, Volume 57, Issue 3, pp 525–535 | Cite as

Geostatistical analysis of spatiotemporal variability of groundwater level fluctuations in Amman–Zarqa basin, Jordan: a case study

  • Rakad A. Ta′any
  • Alaeddin B. Tahboub
  • Ghazi A. Saffarini
Original Article


The main objective of this study was to assess the spatial and temporal variability of groundwater level fluctuations in the Amman–Zarqa basin, during the period 2001–2005. In the year 2003, as a consequence of war, there was a sudden increase in the population in this basin. Knowing that the basin is already heavily populated and witnesses most of the human and industrial activities in Jordan, this study was prompted to help make wise water resources management decisions to cope with the new situation. Data from 31 fairly distributed wells in the upper aquifer of the basin were subjected to geostatistical treatment. Kriging interpolation techniques have indicated that the groundwater flow directions remained almost constant over the years. The two main directions are SW–NE and E–W. Kriging mapped fluctuations have also showed that drop and rise events are localized in the basin. Forecasting possibilities for management purposes were tackled using autocorrelation analysis. The constructed autocorrelograms indicated, in general, the temporal dependence of seasonal water level fluctuations, and that forecasting can be carried out within a period of 3–21 months. Several suggestions were made to mitigate the drop and rise hazards in the detected sites.


Amman–Zarqa basin Autocorrelation Geostatistics Kriging interpolation Semivariance analysis 



The authors would like to express their sincere appreciation and gratitude to the ministry of water and irrigation and namely to Eng. Mohammad Momani for the kind permission to use the data bank files. The corresponding author would like also to thank Jordan University for offering him a sabbatical leave and Al-Balqa applied University for offering him the chance to spend the sabbatical leave year at the faculty of Technological Agriculture. Thanks are also due to the journal’s reviewers for improving the original manuscript.


  1. Abu Sharar T, Saffarini G (1992) Spatial variability of four selected properties in one hectare-field from Central Jordan Valley. Dirasat (Science) 19B(1):135–149, University of JordanGoogle Scholar
  2. Al-Mahamid J (2005) Integration of water resources of the upper aquifer in Amman Zarqa basin based on mathematical modelling and GIS, Jordan. Freiberg Online Geology, vol 12, p 223Google Scholar
  3. Al-Abed N, Abdulla F, Abu Khyarah A (2005) GIS-hydrological models for managing water resources in the Zarqa River basin. Environ Geol 47:405–411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Al-Tarazi E, El-Naqa A, El-Waheidi M, Abu-Rajab J (2006) Electrical geophysical and hydrological investigations of groundwater aquifers in Ruseifa municipal landfill, Jordan. Environ Geol 50:1095–1103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ahmadi S, Sedghamiz A (2007) Geostatistical analysis of spatial and temporal variations of groundwater level. Environ Monit Assess 129(1–3):277–294. doi: 10.1007/s10661-9361-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Byers E, Stephens D (1983) Statistical and stochastic analysis of hydraulic conductivity and particle size in a fluvial sand. Soil Sci Soc Am J 47:1072–1081CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cambardella C, Moorman T, Novak J, Parkin T, Karlen D, Turco R (1994) Field scale variability of soil properties in Central Iowa soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 58:1501–1511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cameron K, Hunter P (2002) Using spatial models and kriging techniques to optimize long-term groundwater monitoring networks: a case study. Environmetrics 13:629–656CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Christakos G (2000) Modern spatiotemporal geostatistics. Oxford University Press, USA, p 312 Google Scholar
  10. Clark I (1979) Practical Geostatistics. Applied Science Publishers Ltd., London, p 129Google Scholar
  11. Davis JC (1986) Statistics and data analysis in geology, 2nd edn. John Wiley, New York, p 646Google Scholar
  12. El-Naqa A, Hammouri N, Kuisi M (2006) GIS-based evaluation of groundwater vulnerability in the Russeifa Area, Jordan. Rev Mex Cienc Geol 23(003):277–287Google Scholar
  13. Fitch JB (2001) Curtailment of groundwater use for irrigated agriculture in the Amman–Zarqa Basin. Uplands: an economic analysis. For ARD-USAID, 38p + appendixes, USAID, AmmanGoogle Scholar
  14. Gajem Y, Warrick A, Myers D (1981) Spatial dependence of physical properties of a typic Torrifluent Soil. Soil Sci Soc Am J 45:709–715CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gundogdu K, Guney I (2007) Spatial analysis of groundwater levels using universal kriging. J Earth Syst Sci 116(1):49–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Howard, Humphreys (1983) Monitoring and evaluation of the Amman–Zarqa aquifer. Amman Water and Sewage Authority report, vol 1, p 156Google Scholar
  17. Kitanidis P (1997) Introduction to geostatistics: Application to hydrology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 271Google Scholar
  18. Kumar D, Ahmed S (2003) Seasonal behavior of spatial variability of groundwater level in a Granitic aquifer in monsoon climate. Curr Sci 84(2):188–196Google Scholar
  19. Kumar V, Remadevi V (2006) Kriging of groundwater levels—a case study. JOSH 6(1):81–94Google Scholar
  20. Li l, Revesz P (2004) Interpolation methods for spatiotemporal geographic data. Comput Environ Urban Syst 28:201–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lyon S, Seibert J, Lembo A, Watter M, Steenhuis T (2006) Geostatistical investigations into the temporal evolution of spatial structure in a shallow water table. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 10:113–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. MWI (2007) Ministry of water and irrigation open files. Amman, JordanGoogle Scholar
  23. Nayak P, Satajirao Y, Sudheer K (2006) Groundwater level forecasting in a shallow aquifer using artificial neural network approach. Water Resour Manage 20:77–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Qaádan M (2004) Performance effectiveness of As-Samra stabilization ponds and its impact on the surface and groundwater resources of lower reaches of Wadi Dhuleil. Unpubl. PhD Thesis, University of Jordan, p 230Google Scholar
  25. Rimawi O (1985) Hydrochemistry and isotope hydrology of groundwater and surface water in the north–east of Mafraq, Dhuleil, Hallabat, Azraq Basin. PhD Thesis, Technische Universitaet Muenchen, 240 pGoogle Scholar
  26. Robertson G (2000) Geostatistics for the environmental sciences. Gamma Design software, Version 5. Plainwell, MichiganGoogle Scholar
  27. Saffarini G, Jarrar G (1998) Quantifying the chemical variability of a Precambrian diabase from south Jordan using stochastic techniques: a proposal. J Volcanol geotherm res 86:199–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Salameh E, Bannayan H (1993) Water resources of Jordan: future and future potentials. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Amman, p 183Google Scholar
  29. Smedema L, Shiati K (2002) Irrigation and salinity: a perspective review of the salinity hazards of irrigation development in the arid zone. Irrig drain syst 16:161–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Taylor C, Alley W (2001) Ground-water-level monitoring and the importance of long-term water-level data. US Geological Survey Circular 1217, p 68Google Scholar
  31. Theodossiou N, Latinopoulos P (2006) Evaluation and optimization of groundwater observation network using the kriging methodology. Environ model softw 21:991–1000CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Tonkin M, Larson S (2001) Kriging water levels with a regional-linear and point logarithmic drift. Ground Water 40:185–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rakad A. Ta′any
    • 1
  • Alaeddin B. Tahboub
    • 1
  • Ghazi A. Saffarini
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Water Resources and Environmental Management, Faculty of Agricultural TechnologyAl-Balqa Applied UniversityAl SaltJordan
  2. 2.Geology DepartmentUniversity of JordanAmmanJordan

Personalised recommendations