Skip to main content

Identification of suitable sites for groundwater recharge in Awaspi watershed using GIS and remote sensing techniques


Groundwater is a valuable natural resource for drinking, domestic, livestock use, and irrigation, especially in arid and semi-arid regions like the Garmiyan belt in Kurdistan region. The Awaspi watershed is located 50 km east of Kirkuk city, south Kurdistan, Iraq; and covers an area of 2146 km2. The paper presents result of a study aimed at: (1) mapping and preparing thematic layers of factors that control groundwater recharge areas, and (2) determination of sites suitable for groundwater recharge. We used available data such as geological map, groundwater depth map, digital elevation model (DEM), Landsat 8 imagery, and tropical rainfall measuring mission (TRMM) data for this study. These data, supplemented by slope features, lithology, land use land cover, rainfall, groundwater depth, drainage density, landform, lineament density, elevation and topographic position index, were utilized to create thematic maps to identify suitable areas of groundwater recharge, using GIS and remote sensing techniques. Analytic hierarchy process (AHP) was applied to weight, rank, and reclassify these maps in the ArcGIS 10.3 environment, to determine the suitable sites for groundwater recharge within the Awaspi watershed. Fifty-five percent of the total area of the watershed was found to be suitable for groundwater recharge; whereas 45% of the area was determined to have poor suitability for groundwater recharge, but can be used for surface water harvesting.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8


Download references


We are grateful to the Iraq Geological Survey for providing the geological and land use land cover data. The first author would like to thank the administration of Garmian University for their help and supports. The second author would like to thank Dr. Saffa F. A. Fouad, Director General of the Iraq Geological Survey, for his valuable support and encouragement.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sarkawt Ghazi Salar.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 18 KB)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Salar, S.G., Othman, A.A. & Hasan, S.E. Identification of suitable sites for groundwater recharge in Awaspi watershed using GIS and remote sensing techniques. Environ Earth Sci 77, 701 (2018).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: