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Trends And Occurrences of Nitrate In The Groundwater of The West Bank, Palestine

Journal Title, Volume, Page: 
Applied Geography Volume 29, Issue 4, December 2009, Pages 588-601
Year of Publication: 
Fathi M. Anayah
Utah Water Research Laboratory, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84321, USA
Mohammad N. Almasri
College of Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, An-Najah National University, P.O. Box 7, Nablus, West Bank, Palestine
Current Affiliation: 
Department of Civil Engineering, An-Najah National University, Palestine
Preferred Abstract (Original): 

Groundwater is the major source of water to the Palestinians. Efficient management of this resource requires a good understanding of its status. This understanding necessitates a characterization of the quality of the utilizable volumes. This paper focuses on the assessment of nitrate concentrations in the aquifers of the West Bank, Palestine. A preliminary statistical analysis is carried out for the spatial and temporal distributions of the nitrate concentrations. GIS is utilized to facilitate the analysis and to efficiently account for the spatiality of nitrate concentrations. The analysis was carried out at different spatial levels and key parameters including soil type, watersheds, depth, population, and rainfall. It is observed that elevated nitrate concentrations in the groundwater greatly coincide with increasing rainfall, particularly in the last few years. Results confirm that the annual mean nitrate concentration in the Western groundwater basin has an increasing trend over the period from 1982 to 2004 indicating its vulnerability to contamination. This result can be attributed to the agricultural activities along with the high groundwater recharge. However, leaking septic and sewer systems are considerably causing nitrate contamination of groundwater in populated areas. Overall, the recommendations call for an immediate intervention to manage the quality problems in the West Bank aquifers.

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