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Groundwater flow modelling for an assessment of abstraction and climate change impacts on groundwater resources—an example from the Wadi Araba Basin (Jordan)

Abstract

The Wadi Araba Basin is a desert area in which finding water represents a real challenge. One potential source for the abstraction of groundwater is a sandstone aquifer which is partly covered by alluvial sediments distributed along the Wadi Araba Valley. The study analyses the impacts of abstraction and climate changes on groundwater quantity. It also aims to define a safe yield for the groundwater resources and to locate new wellfields in hydrogeological areas that will minimize high drawdown. Numerical modelling (MODFLOW NWT version) was applied in order to develop a regional groundwater flow model for the Wadi Araba Basin. The modelling area covers 6268 km2 (the Wadi Araba Basin on the Jordanian side). The cell sizes in horizontal directions are 500 m, and there are four layers in a vertical direction represented by the main aquifers and aquitards of the hydrogeological system (alluvial aquifer, A7/B2 carbonate aquifer, A1-A6 marly aquitard and Kb/Ram sandstone aquifer). Results of the modelling show that renewable groundwater resources stand at around 20 million cubic meters per year (MCM/year). According to the most pessimistic predictive scenario, the water table might decrease by 60 m by 2050, with the most optimistic scenario putting that figure at 24 m. Five new wellfield locations are proposed (four in the central part and one in the northern part of the Wadi Araba Valley). According to the model, the opening of new wellfields in these optimal locations, and the closing of some old wells where relatively large drawdowns were recorded, revealed that a more sustainable abstraction of groundwater could be achieved.

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Acknowledgements

We are extremely grateful to individuals from companies (Orient Engineering Consultancy from Jordan, HS & Associates from Jordan and Keios Development Consulting from Italy) that provided us with all the necessary conditions for effective research in the Wadi Araba Basin.

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Correspondence to Milan M. Radulovic.

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Responsible Editor: Broder J. Merkel

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Radulovic, M.M., Wong, H. & Al Tarawneh, M. Groundwater flow modelling for an assessment of abstraction and climate change impacts on groundwater resources—an example from the Wadi Araba Basin (Jordan). Arab J Geosci 13, 1142 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12517-020-06148-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12517-020-06148-2

Keywords

  • Groundwater
  • Numerical model
  • Wadi Araba
  • Jordan