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Define a protected buffer zone for Ismailia Canal, Egypt using Geographic Information Systems

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Ismailia Canal is the principle source of drinking water supply to Suez Canal and Sinai governorates. However, Ismailia Canal is endangered from unwise activities in the surrounding environment. Drinking water resources protection can be implemented using land-use monitoring system or through land-use controls based on hydrogeologic mapping to study the impacts of development on water quality. Our approach is to protect the direct and indirect catchment areas for surface water supply, especially the sensitive areas, those that are more vulnerable to contamination than other areas. Remote sensing and geographic information system techniques are applied to construct and integrate the hydrogeological data, inventory for potential sources of contamination and mapping the sensitive areas in order to construct the a protected buffer zone for Ismailia Canal, and to constrain the development activities in all the surrounding areas of surface water supply. The sensitive areas are delineated, where extra protection is required, based on soils properties, geology, and specific hydrogeological criteria. Industrial areas, drains, and septic tanks in the surrounding villages are the common potential sources of contamination. The hydrologic relation between Ismailia Canal and groundwater has great variations. Comprehensive plan for water protection were composed. It includes maintaining three natural protection zones of at least 300-m width along the main course of the Canal and delineating vulnerable zones depending on the aerial extension of the sensitive areas within 10 km on both sides of the Canal. Specific protection measures are recommended over the sensitive areas. The natural ecosystems of swamps around Ismailia Canal should be conserved and the processes of continuous burial prevented.

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Correspondence to Mohamed O. Arnous.

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Ghodeif, K.O., Arnous, M.O. & Geriesh, M.H. Define a protected buffer zone for Ismailia Canal, Egypt using Geographic Information Systems. Arab J Geosci 6, 43–53 (2013).

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