30 Jun 2021

30 Jun 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Spatial distribution of groundwater recharge, based on regionalized soil moisture models in Wadi Natuf karst aquifers, Palestine

Clemens Messerschmid1 and Amjad Aliewi2 Clemens Messerschmid and Amjad Aliewi
  • 1Hydrologist, Independent researcher, Hannover, Germany
  • 2Water Research Center, Kuwait, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait

Abstract. While groundwater recharge is considered fundamental to hydrogeological insights and basin management, only relatively little attention has been paid to its spatial distribution. And in ungauged catchments it has rarely been quantified, especially on the catchment scale.

For the first time, this study attempts such analysis, in a previously ungauged basin. Our work based on field data of several soil moisture stations, which represent five geological formations of karst rock in Wadi Natuf, a semi-arid to sub-humid Mediterranean catchment in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. For that purpose, recharge was conceptualized as deep percolation from soil moisture under saturation excess conditions, which had been modelled parsimoniously and separately with different formation-specific recharge rates.

For the regionalisation, inductive methods of empirical field-measurements and observations were combined with deductive approaches of extrapolation, following the recommendations for hydrological Prediction in Ungauged Basins (PUB), by the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS). Our results show an average annual recharge estimation in Wadi Natuf Catchment (103 km2), ranging from 24 to 28 Mm3/yr, equivalent to recharge coefficients (RC) of 39–46 % of average annual precipitation.

Thus, for the first time, formation-specific RC-values could be derived, assessed and quantified in their spatial distribution, and by creating a schematic conceptual basin classification framework for regionalisation that is also applicable in many comparable sedimentary basins in the Mediterranean and worldwide.

Clemens Messerschmid and Amjad Aliewi

Status: open (until 14 Dec 2021)

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Clemens Messerschmid and Amjad Aliewi

Clemens Messerschmid and Amjad Aliewi


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Short summary
Temporal distribution of groundwater recharge has been widely studied; yet, little attention has been paid to its spatial distribution. Based on a pervious study of field-measured and modelled formation-specific recharge in the Mediterranean, this paper differentiates annual recharge coefficients in a new basin classification framework, according to groups of physical features such as lithology, soil and LU/LC-characteristics, applicable also in other previously ungauged basins around the world.