Publication Details

Reference Category Conference contributions
Title (Primary) Anthropogenic influence on groundwater quality in Jericho and adjoining Wadis (Lower Jordan Valley, Palestine)
Title (Secondary) American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2008
Author Geyer, S.; Khayat, S.; Rödiger, T.; Siebert, C.;
Year 2008
Department HDG;
Volume Abstract H13G-1009
Language englisch;
Keywords Climate impacts; Groundwater quality; Human impacts
Abstract The Lower Jordan Valley is part of the Jordan-Dead Sea Rift. The graben is filled by sedmiments of limnological and marine origin. Towards the Dead Sea, the occurance of gipseous and salty sediments on the valley floor increase. The southern part of the Lower Jordan Valley, where the city of Jericho is situated, is an arid area (<150 mm precipitation/year), with less amount of exploitable fresh groundwater or surface water. Jericho was founded on an alluvial fan, closely to the western mountain range in front of mouth of Wadi Qilt. The fan serves as reservoir for infiltrating water from wadi runoff and groundwater from the crataceous aquifers of the western shoulder. The fan is surrounded by unsuitable aquifers of the graben, which are filled with saline water. The aim of this study, which takes place inside the multilateral SMART-project, is to understand the vulnerability of the Jericho groundwater aquifers in connection with lowering the groundwater table by overexploitation and the intensively use of pesticides Jericho and its vicinity are of most importance for the Palestinians. However, beside the about 25,000 residents, the tourism industry and the vital agriculture depend on sufficient and expoitable fresh water resources. Because the demand of water is increasing, overexpoitaion takes place. Due to over extraction of groundwater a huge depression cone is evolving during the dry season which is filled up again according to the groundwater recharge in the rainy season. Concomitantly, depression cone in the fresh water aquifers leads to an infiltration of the surrounding saltwater. The amount of saltwater which infiltrates into the freshwater resource was calculated by different stable isotope methods (d2H, d18O) and hydrochemical analyses of wellwater. The agriculture is main consumer of groundwater - over 60% of the pumped water is used for inefficient irrigation. Additionally, an intensive use of pesticides in concentrated liquid and gaseous forms for vegetable gardening hold the danger to pollute the groundwater via irrigation return flow. This return flow most probably endangers the quality of the water resource, because shallow wells nearby extract it directly from the underground. However, one result of the first screening campaign concerning pesticide remnants in the groundwater wells of Jericho, just traces have been detected. Thus, the higher amount of chemicals is retained by the soil during infiltration of irrigated water. The detected low concentrations in groundwater of the fan may be the result of outleaching from agricultural areas from the mountain range. The flood water of Wadi Qilt infiltrates partly in the fluviatil sediments. The ongoing investigations in the Wadi Qilt-Jericho area include an approach of combined hydrochemical and hydraulic studies to simulate the complex groundwater system at the edge of the graben and to prepare a sustainable groundwater management strategy for the area of Jericho.
ID 14493
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Geyer, S., Khayat, S., Rödiger, T., Siebert, C. (2008):
Anthropogenic influence on groundwater quality in Jericho and adjoining Wadis (Lower Jordan Valley, Palestine)
American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2008
Abstract H13G-1009