Numerical Simulation of Seawater Intrusion in Response to Climate Change Impacts in North Gaza Coastal Aquifer Using SEAWAT

Discussion Committee: 
Dr. Mohammad N. Almasri - Academic Advisor
Dr. Anan Jayyousi - Internal Examiner
Dr. Amjad Aliewi - External Examiner
Dr. Mohammad Al-Masree
Reem Fathee Saleh Sarsak
The development and management of fresh groundwater resources in coastal aquifers are seriously constrained by the presence of seawater intrusion. Seawater intrusion is a process that occurs in almost all coastal aquifers, where they are in hydraulic connection with seawater. Over the years, many models have been developed to simulate and study the problems related to seawater intrusion. Numerical models provide effective tool to understand groundwater problems. This research presents simulation of seawater intrusion in North Gaza coastal aquifer in response to climate change impacts using SEAWAT. Climate change is already beginning to transform life on earth. Around the globe, seasons are shifting, rainfalls are decreasing, temperatures are climbing so water demands are increasing and sea levels are raising causing seawater intrusion. If we don't act now, climate change will permanently alter the lands and waters we all depend upon for survival. Various scenarios were simulated to study the impacts of climate change into seawater intrusion at the study area due to sea level rise, recharge and pumping rates variability. The results show that the in-land movement for seawater intrusion for the reference scenario (Scenario 1) which reflects the continuation of the current situation is about 4,200 m with a rate of 65 m/yr. The most critical extent of salinity was found in Scenario 4 (Recharge -30%) which causes in-land intrusion movement of about 4,500m with a rate of 80 m/yr. While the in-land intrusion movement due to increasing pumping rates as in Scenario 2 (pumping +30%) was about 4,300 m with a rate of 70 m/yr. The best results for the in-land intrusion were found in Scenario 6 which considered as a management scenario since it is dealing with the proposed strategic plans that were prepared by PWA to solve the high salinity problems and water deficit in Gaza aquifer, the in-land intrusion movement for this scenario was about 2,900m with a rate of 35 m/yr. As a result, seawater intrusion in the study area is very sensitive to recharge decrease as compared to pumping rates increase. As such, the most critical impact on seawater intrusion for the study area is recharge variability due to climate change. Therefore, it is recommended to search for new resources such as desalination of seawater and brackish water in addition to reuse of treated wastewater in order to reduce the gap in both domestic and agricultural sectors respectively in case of recharge decrease due to climate change.
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