Groundwater Vulnerability Modeling to Assess Seawater Intrusion: a Methodological Comparison with Geospatial Interpolation

Abstract

Seawater intrusion has become a growing threat in coastal urban cities due to overexploitation of groundwater. This study examines the accuracy of the commonly used geospatial quality assessment models (GQA) and groundwater vulnerability assessment models (GVA) in determining the extent of seawater intrusion in urban coastal aquifers. For that purpose, interpolation methods (kriging, IDW and co-kriging) and vulnerability assessment models (DRASTIC, EPIK) were compared using groundwater salinity criteria (TDS, Cl) collected at three pilot areas along the eastern Mediterranean (Beirut, Tripoli, Jal el Dib). The results showed that while the GIS-based interpolation methods and the vulnerability assessment models captured elements of the groundwater quality deterioration, both had a limited ability to accurately delineate saltwater intrusion. This emphasizes that while interpolation methods and conventional vulnerability models may give general information about groundwater quality, they fail to capture the status of the aquifer at a finer spatial resolution.

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Acknowledgements

This study is part of a program on climate change and seawater intrusion along the Eastern Mediterranean funded by the International Development Research Center (IDRC) of Canada at the American University of Beirut Grant No. 106706-001. Special thanks are extended to Dr. Charlotte Macalister at IDRC for her support and feedback in implementing this program.

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Correspondence to M. El-Fadel.

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Momejian, N., Abou Najm, M., Alameddine, I. et al. Groundwater Vulnerability Modeling to Assess Seawater Intrusion: a Methodological Comparison with Geospatial Interpolation. Water Resour Manage 33, 1039–1052 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11269-018-2165-4

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Keywords

  • Groundwater vulnerability
  • Seawater intrusion
  • DRASTIC
  • EPIK
  • Kriging
  • Co-kriging
  • IDW
  • Geospatial interpolation