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Title: A SEARCH FOR NEW WATER RESOURCES IN THE LOWER JORDAN RIFT VALLEY

Author: J. Guttman, Y. Anker ., A. Flexer, A. Yellin-Dror

Year: 2009

Publisher: European Water Resources Association (EWRA)

Description:

The study area is an arid zone, located at the southernmost tip of the Lower Jordan Rift Valley where the main population of the area is located as well as the agricultural activity. The area has a great potential for agricultural development being the natural greenhouse for a widespread region. The scarcity of water due to arid conditions is the limiting factor for profitable growth. The lower Jordan Rift Valley is a segment of a large geotectonic rift feature bordered by a deep-seated fault system that forms a NS, elongated, narrow basin. The rift is a topographic low, acting as the drainage basin for groundwater originating in the mountain aquifers bordering the rift depression to the west. The most important aquifer is the Cenomanian-Turonian Judea Group aquifer which consists mainly on
carbonates. The replenishment of the aquifer occurs essentially on the outcrops of the formations located on the mountainous backbone. Fresh water is exploited from the aquifer by net of water wells located at the foothills of the mountains along the major rift fault system. According to new researches the local aquifers formations contain fresh water bodies along the margins of the Judea Mountains in the west and saline water bodies along the rift basin in the east without any hydrological dividing barrier. The Judea Group aquifer in the valley itself is deeplyseated and overlain by thick sequence of basin-fill young formations. Therefore the area of the basin-fill was considered over the years as unsuitable for groundwater exploitation. The classical, conventional prevailed hydrological thought was, that drilling in the east, in the valley itself, is useless because of the depth of the aquifer and the danger to obtain saline water (due to the occurrence of deep brines and salt bodies ). New geological and geophysical investigations show that in several places across the valley the Judea Group aquifer strata are located in rather shallow depths (- 500 meters ) and can be drilled economically. The water might be brackish or saline but still suitable for irrigation of certain agricultural growths. The present study suggests new sites for water wells which are located rather close to the distribution network supply system.