Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 1527-1545, 2017
http://www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci.net/21/1527/2017/
doi:10.5194/hess-21-1527-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
10 Mar 2017
Anthropogenic wetlands due to over-irrigation of desert areas: a challenging hydrogeological investigation with extensive geophysical input from TEM and MRS measurements
Ahmad Ali Behroozmand1, Pietro Teatini2,3, Jesper Bjergsted Pedersen4, Esben Auken4, Omar Tosatto5, and Anders Vest Christiansen4 1Department of Geophysics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
2Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Padua, Padua, Italy
3Consorzio Universitario per la Ricerca Socioeconomica e per l'Ambiente (CURSA), Rome, Italy
4Department of Geoscience, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
5Mathematical Methods and Models for Engineering (M3E s.r.l.), Padua, Italy
Abstract. During the last century, many large irrigation projects were carried out in arid lands worldwide. Despite a tremendous increase in food production, a common problem when characterizing these zones is land degradation in the form of waterlogging. A clear example of this phenomenon is in the Nubariya depression in the Western Desert of Egypt. Following the reclamation of desert lands for agricultural production, an artificial brackish and contaminated pond started to develop in the late 1990s, which at present extends for about 2.5 km2. The available data provide evidence of a simultaneous general deterioration of the groundwater system. An extensive hydrogeophysical investigation was carried out in this challenging environment using magnetic resonance sounding (MRS) and ground-based time-domain electromagnetic (TEM) techniques with the following main objectives: (1) understanding the hydrological evolution of the area; (2) characterizing the hydrogeological setting; and (3) developing scenarios for artificial aquifer remediation and recharge. The integrated interpretation of the geophysical surveys provided a hydrogeological picture of the upper 100 m sedimentary setting in terms of both lithological distribution and groundwater quality. The information is then used to set up (1) a regional groundwater flow and (2) a local density-dependent flow and transport numerical model to reproduce the evolution of the aquifer system and develop a few scenarios for artificial aquifer recharge using the treated water provided by a nearby wastewater treatment plant. The research outcomes point to the hydrological challenges that emerge for the effective management of water resources in reclaimed desert areas, and they highlight the effectiveness of using advanced geophysical and modeling methodologies.

Citation: Behroozmand, A. A., Teatini, P., Pedersen, J. B., Auken, E., Tosatto, O., and Christiansen, A. V.: Anthropogenic wetlands due to over-irrigation of desert areas: a challenging hydrogeological investigation with extensive geophysical input from TEM and MRS measurements, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 1527-1545, doi:10.5194/hess-21-1527-2017, 2017.
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Short summary
Within the framework of the EU project IMPROWARE, our goal was to investigate a Mediterranean coastal aquifer in Egypt and develop scenarios for artificial aquifer remediation and recharge. The results of an extensive hydrogeophysical investigation were successfully used as an input in regional and local hydrological models to understand the hydrological evolution of the area. The research outcomes clearly highlight the effectiveness of using advanced geophysical and modeling methodologies.
Within the framework of the EU project IMPROWARE, our goal was to investigate a Mediterranean...
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