Impact of flash flood recharge on groundwater quality and its suitability in the Wadi Baysh Basin, Western Saudi Arabia: an integrated approach

  • Milad H. Z. Masoud
  • Jalal M. Basahi
  • Natarajan Rajmohan
Original Article


An integrated approach was used to evaluate the impact of flash flood recharge on groundwater quality and its suitability for drinking, irrigation, livestock and poultry uses in the Wadi Baysh Basin, Western Saudi Arabia. Analyses of 182 groundwater samples, collected from the study area before and after a flash flood (FF) event, show that the average concentrations of TDS, Mg, Na, Cl, NO3 and EC decreased significantly after the event. The major water types (mixed CaMgCl, NaCl and CaCl) indicate that the infiltration of surface water from FF recharge has a great influence on groundwater chemistry. Drinking water suitability maps, created using WHO standards, indicate that wells located in the upstream region are suitable for drinking despite their high TDS and total hardness (TH) values. Groundwater in the coastal region is unsuitable due to its high salinity, high TH and high concentrations of major ions. The suitability of groundwater for irrigational use was assessed using salinity, sodium adsorption ratio, bicarbonate hazard, residual sodium carbonate, Kelly’s ratio, magnesium hazard, sodium percentage and permeability index values, which indicated that groundwater in the study region is suitable for most soils and crops. After FF, groundwater quality is improved by dilution, especially in the downstream region. USSL classification shows that the majority of the water samples are in the C3S1, C4S2, and C3S2 classes and are therefore suitable for the irrigation of salt-tolerant crops. Irrigational suitability maps suggest that wells in the upstream region are suitable for irrigation, whereas wells located near to the coast are unfit for irrigation. This study implies that construction of check dams in the dry valleys (wadies) may improve the groundwater quality in the area.


Groundwater quality Irrigation Drinking Livestock Flash flood Baysh Basin Saudi Arabia 



Authors express their gratitude and appreciation to King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) for providing the research Grant Project (أت-34-336#). Authors are grateful to Professor Michael Schneider, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany for his guidance and contribution to this project. Authors express special gratitude and thanks to Mr. Syed Faisal Zaidi, Mohammad Al Bishi and Saud Al Gedaani, Water Research Center, King Abdulaziz University (KAU) for their assistance in this project.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Milad H. Z. Masoud
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jalal M. Basahi
    • 2
  • Natarajan Rajmohan
    • 1
  1. 1.Water Research CenterKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Department of Hydrology, Faculty of Meteorology, Environment and Arid Land AgricultureKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.Hydrology DepartmentDesert Research CenterCairoEgypt

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