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Quantifying Modern Recharge and Depletion Rates of the Nubian Aquifer in Egypt

Abstract

Egypt is currently seeking additional freshwater resources to support national reclamation projects based mainly on the Nubian aquifer groundwater resources. In this study, temporal (April 2002 to June 2016) Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE)-derived terrestrial water storage (TWSGRACE) along with other relevant datasets was used to monitor and quantify modern recharge and depletion rates of the Nubian aquifer in Egypt (NAE) and investigate the interaction of the NAE with artificial lakes. Results indicate: (1) the NAE is receiving a total recharge of 20.27 ± 1.95 km3 during 4/2002−2/2006 and 4/2008–6/2016 periods, (2) recharge events occur only under excessive precipitation conditions over the Nubian recharge domains and/or under a significant rise in Lake Nasser levels, (3) the NAE is witnessing a groundwater depletion of − 13.45 ± 0.82 km3/year during 3/2006–3/2008 period, (4) the observed groundwater depletion is largely related to exceptional drought conditions and/or normal baseflow recession, and (5) a conjunctive surface water and groundwater management plan needs to be adapted to develop sustainable water resources management in the NAE. Findings demonstrate the use of global monthly TWSGRACE solutions as a practical, informative, and cost-effective approach for monitoring aquifer systems across the globe.

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Abbreviations

AAR:

Average annual rainfall

AFWA:

Air Force Weather Agency

AVHRR:

Advanced Very High-Resolution Radiometer

CLM:

Community land model

CMAP:

Climate Prediction Center Merged Analysis of Precipitation

CRI:

Coastline resolution improvement

DEM:

Digital elevation model

DLR:

German Aerospace Center

ETM:

Enhanced Thematic Mapper

GDAS:

Global Data Assimilation System

GIA:

Glacial isostatic adjustment

GIS:

Geographic information system

GLAS:

Geoscience Laser Altimeter System

GLDAS:

Global Land Data Assimilation System

GOES:

Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite

GOHS:

Equipe Géodésie, Océanographie & Hydrologie Spatiales

GPCC:

Global Precipitation Climatology Centre

GPI:

GOES Precipitation Index

GRACE:

Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment

GRLM:

Global reservoir and lake monitoring

GWS:

Groundwater storage

JPL:

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

LEGOS:

Laboratoire d’Etudes en Geodésie et Océanographie Spatiales

LSM:

Land surface model

Mascons:

Mass concentration

MODIS:

MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer

MSU:

Microwave sounding unit

NAE:

Nubian aquifer in Egypt

NASA:

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NCAR:

National Centre for Atmospheric Research

NOAA:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

OLR:

Outgoing Longwave Radiation

OPI:

OLR-based Precipitation Index

SMS:

Soil moisture storage

SSM/I:

Special Sensor Microwave/Imager

SWS:

Surface water storage

TM:

Thematic Mapper

TWS:

Terrestrial water storage

USDA-FAS:

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service

UT-CSR:

University of Texas Center for Space Research

VIC:

Variable infiltration capacity

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by NASA’s Earth Science Division Grant NNX12AJ94G to Western Michigan University. The authors thank the Editor-in-Chief and the anonymous reviewers of the Surveys in Geophysics for their instructive comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Mohamed Ahmed.

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Ahmed, M., Abdelmohsen, K. Quantifying Modern Recharge and Depletion Rates of the Nubian Aquifer in Egypt. Surv Geophys 39, 729–751 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10712-018-9465-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10712-018-9465-3

Keywords

  • GRACE
  • Terrestrial water storage
  • Groundwater storage
  • Recharge
  • Depletion
  • Nubian aquifer in Egypt