Drinking Water

Groundwater flow modelling and salinization of soils in the Jordan River Valley

The subject of the study is the hydrogeological situation of the aquifers in the areas surrounding the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. One important element is the observation of the salinization processes in the soils and its sources. The numerical model yields reasonable results and thus strengthens confidence in the hydro-geological model.


The growing demand for water in the areas surrounding the Jordan River and the Dead Sea is restricted by the extensive use of the surface water, low rainfall and high evaporation rates. One of the few resources still available for further exploitation is the Eastern Aquifer in the West Bank for which, however, a fundamental lack of hydrogeological knowledge exists.
The overall aim was to contribute to the understanding of its hydrogeological situation as well as the understanding of the Jordan valley aquifer and the aquifers in the East Bank on the Jordanian side. The project results are to provide a basis for management decisions regarding further use and exploitation of the water resources. Therefore, the general objectives were the understanding of the groundwater flow mechanisms and of the salinization process as well as the improvement of exploitation strategies for the groundwater resources.
The set-up of sound hydrogeological models helps to delineate aquifer geometries and the saline water interface while the numerical simulations determine the consistency to validate the hydrogeological models, especially with respect to possible sources for the observed salinity.


  • Due to the high evaporation rates salt accumulates in the upper parts of the soils either from precipitation in the rainy season or from irrigation during the dry season. Since fresh water is very scarce, water of high salinity is often used for irrigation and this further deteriorates the quality of the Jordan Valley soils.
  • Another source for salinization is the high salt content within the Lisan Formation. Since the grain size of most soils and sediments is very small and the climate is arid, salt might move upwards the soil during the dry periods. This can be explained by capillary forces.
  • The new element type is appropriate for modeling large scale groundwater applications and was implemented into RockFlow. The implemented algorithm allows for the representation of unconfined groundwater flow. Both have been tested and verified.

More Project Informations

Project title: Multilaterale Kooperation mit Israel, Jordanien und Palästina (Phase 2): Geohydraulics and Groundwater Flow Modelling for the Understanding of Groundwater Systems in the Jordan River Valley and the Adjacent Aquifers

Project number: 02WT0161

Project period: 2001 - 2005

Project region: Germany (Lower Saxony), Palestine, Jordan, Israel

Project contact::

Herr Prof. Dr. Sauter
+49 (0)551 / 39 79 11
+49 (0)551 / 39 93 79

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Source: German National Library of Science and Technology Hannover (TIB)