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High-resolution monitoring of karst groundwater resources on both sides of the Jordan Valley – concepts and application examples

Schmidt, Sebastian, Grimmeisen, Felix, Ries, Fabian, Goldscheider, Nico, Sauter, Martin
Grundwasser 2018 v.23 no.1 pp. 59-72
Escherichia coli, aquifers, groundwater, groundwater recharge, karsts, models, monitoring, nitrates, runoff, soil water, soil water balance, springs (water), urbanization, water management, water quality, water supply, watersheds, Jordan, West Bank
In the semi-arid eastern Mediterranean water supply is highly dependent on karst aquifers. The region is characterized by multi-year dry and wet cycles combined with high hydrological dynamics, especially during intense precipitation events. The investigated karst regions in the West Bank and Jordan are experiencing strong urbanization within the groundwater catchments and hence a rising impact on water quality. Therefore, high resolution monitoring data are required for the assessment of available water resources and the hydrogeological characterization of the karst systems. These measurements are focused on the (natural) meteorological input signals and the system output signals at the karst springs. Also soil moisture and ephemeral runoff dynamics are investigated. The monitoring data enable (1) hydrogeological characterization of the aquifers, (2) estimation of groundwater recharge via soil water balance and reservoir models, and (3) assessment of contamination dynamics in groundwater (e. g. nitrate and E. coli concentrations), allowing an optimized raw water management. Several examples illustrate the importance of high-resolution hydrological monitoring data.