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Using statistical models and GIS to delimit the groundwater recharge potential areas and to estimate the infiltration rate: A case study of Nadhour-Sisseb-El Alem Basin, Tunisia

Abstract

The water resources of the Nadhour-Sisseb-El Alem Basin in Tunisia exhibit semi-arid and arid climatic conditions. This induces an excessive pumping of groundwater, which creates drops in water level ranging about 1–2 m/a. Indeed, these unfavorable conditions require interventions to rationalize integrated management in decision making. The aim of this study is to determine a water recharge index (WRI), delineate the potential groundwater recharge area and estimate the potential groundwater recharge rate based on the integration of statistical models resulted from remote sensing imagery, GIS digital data (e.g., lithology, soil, runoff), measured artificial recharge data, fuzzy set theory and multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) using the analytical hierarchy process (AHP). Eight factors affecting potential groundwater recharge were determined, namely lithology, soil, slope, topography, land cover/use, runoff, drainage and lineaments. The WRI is between 1.2 and 3.1, which is classified into five classes as poor, weak, moderate, good and very good sites of potential groundwater recharge area. The very good and good classes occupied respectively 27% and 44% of the study area. The potential groundwater recharge rate was 43% of total precipitation. According to the results of the study, river beds are favorable sites for groundwater recharge.

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Acknowledgements

This research work, performed in the Center of Research and Water Technologies (CERTE), Borj Cedria Technological Pole, was a part of the project “Characterization and evaluation of hydrogeological reservoirs in the Sahel-Kairouan basin, central-eastern Tunisia”, which is funded by the Secretarial of Scientific Research and Technology (SERST) of Tunisia. The Regional Office of Agricultural Development (CRDA) of the Kairouan and Zaghouan Governorates are acknowledged for providing data. The authors thank Dr. Sami KHEMIRI for scientific discussions.

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Souei, A., Zouaghi, T. Using statistical models and GIS to delimit the groundwater recharge potential areas and to estimate the infiltration rate: A case study of Nadhour-Sisseb-El Alem Basin, Tunisia. J. Arid Land 13, 1122–1141 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-021-0092-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-021-0092-3

Keywords

  • potential recharge
  • remote sensing
  • statistical models
  • MCDM
  • Nadhour-Sisseb-El Alem Basin