Arabian Journal of Geosciences

, Volume 8, Issue 12, pp 10565–10584 | Cite as

Potential impacts of urban area expansion on groundwater level in the Gaza Strip: a spatial-temporal assessment

  • Tamer EshtawiEmail author
  • Mariele Evers
  • Bernhard Tischbein
Original Paper


In this study, a 3-D groundwater flow model was developed using MODFLOW-USG to investigate the groundwater levels within the Gaza coastal aquifer. Recharge estimation is based on a comprehensive approach including the connection to a surface water model (SWAT) for determining percolation from rainfall as well as detailed approaches regarding further recharge components. An unstructured grid (Voronoi cells) generated by MODFLOW-USG engine was used to reduce run time within complicated aquifer boundary conditions. The results indicate a very good fit between measured and simulated heads. Long-term forecasting (2004–2030) of the groundwater levels was carried out as an essential step to support realistic and sustainable water resources planning and decision making. The increasing built-up area was linked to the potential impacts of urban expansion relating to water supply quantities and groundwater recharge components. The percolation was reduced temporally and spatially in the forecasting period based on the projected built-up area as well as an urban-percolation index. Considering the current management situation, the annual groundwater level correlated negatively with the increasing built-up area; the regression line slope was −0.056 m/km2 for the average groundwater levels while it became steeper at −0.23 m/km2 in sensitive locations in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The groundwater level trend index was developed as a spatial indicator for the appropriate management alternatives that can achieve less negative trend index.


Groundwater level trend MODFLOW-USG Voronoi cells Urbanization Built-up area Water table fluctuation method 



The first author thanks the German Academic exchange service (DAAD) for the PhD scholarship. We thank the Fiat Panis Foundation for supporting this research during the period of data collection.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tamer Eshtawi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mariele Evers
    • 2
  • Bernhard Tischbein
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Development Research (ZEF)Bonn UniversityBonnGermany
  2. 2.Geography DepartmentBonn UniversityBonnGermany

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