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02.02.2019 | Paper | Ausgabe 4/2019

Hydrogeology Journal 4/2019

An integrated approach for choosing suitable pumping strategies for a semi-arid region in Jordan using a groundwater model coupled with analytical hierarchy techniques

Zeitschrift:
Hydrogeology Journal > Ausgabe 4/2019
Autoren:
Jafar Alkhatib, Irina Engelhardt, Lars Ribbe, Martin Sauter

Abstract

The Azraq basin, Jordan, is characterized by high variability and a heterogeneous spatial distribution of groundwater recharge. Most of the recharge occurs in the north of the basin. The central part of the basin is covered by wetland (Azraq Oasis), characterized by a unique ecosystem and biodiversity. Groundwater abstraction for agricultural and domestic purposes occurs mainly near the oasis and results in a considerable decline of the water table. A groundwater model was developed for the Azraq basin to analyze and predict the groundwater level response to different pumping strategies. The model also enables determination of the safe yield. The extent to which the safe yield and specific pumping strategies are socially and economically acceptable was analyzed. Multi-criteria analysis using an analytic hierarchy process was applied to obtain the abstraction rate that achieves the most suitable trade-off between environmental and socio-economic criteria under two scenarios of future socio-economic development. Based on the calibrated groundwater model the response of the groundwater level until 2045 was simulated, resulting in a 15–25 m decline if current pumping strategies continue. At present, the safe yield of the groundwater resource equals 30% of the overall actual pumping rate, indicating that the aquifer is highly exploited. Results of the multi-criteria analysis show that the ‘safe yield alternative’ is the most suitable for the basin under a scenario of future economic prosperity. For circumstances of poor economy and low social awareness, keeping the current pumping rate was found to be the scenario with the highest priority.

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