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The Nile Delta in a global vision

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The Nile is the world's longest river. It begins south of the equator in the north-central section of the African continent where its principal flow is known as the White Nile. It then travels an incredible 4,130 miles (6,645 kilometres) before arriving at its terminus in the vast triangle-shaped Nile Delta in northern Egypt. The delta region, north of Cairo, then drains into the Mediterranean Sea. A delta is a low-elevation plain where sediment is deposited at the mouth of a river. Nile Delta is characterized as tide-dominated delta where river mouths hit the sea in areas affected by large tidal ranges. The Nile Delta is one of the oldest intensely cultivated areas on earth. It is very heavily populated, with population densities up to 1600 inhabitants per square kilometre. The low lying, fertile floodplains are surrounded by deserts. Only 2.5 % of Egypt's land area, the Nile delta and the Nile valley, is suitable for intensive agriculture. Most of a 50 km wide land strip along the coast is less than 2 m above sea-level and is protected from flooding by a 1 to 10 km wide coastal sand belt only, shaped by discharge of the Rosetta and Damietta branches of the Nile. Many activities have impact on eutrophication and contamination status, the ecological value and environmental condition of the Nile Delta region such as agriculture development, and industrial activities within the catchments and inadequate rural sanitation.
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THE NILE DELTA IN A GLOBAL VISION
Bakenaz A. Zeydan
Head of Water Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, Tanta University, Egypt
President of EWRA, Member of IWRA, IWA, IWHA, IGWMC, AHWA
E-mail: bakenaz@ewra.com
ABSTRACT
The Nile is the world's longest river. It begins south of the equator in the north-central
section of the African continent where its principal flow is known as the White Nile. It
then travels an incredible 4,130 miles (6,645 kilometres) before arriving at its terminus
in the vast triangle-shaped Nile Delta in northern Egypt. The delta region, north of
Cairo, then drains into the Mediterranean Sea. A delta is a low-elevation plain where
sediment is deposited at the mouth of a river. Nile Delta is characterized as tide-
dominated delta where river mouths hit the sea in areas affected by large tidal ranges.
The Nile Delta is one of the oldest intensely cultivated areas on earth. It is very heavily
populated, with population densities up to 1600 inhabitants per square kilometre. The
low lying, fertile floodplains are surrounded by deserts.
Only 2.5 % of Egypt's land area, the Nile delta and the Nile valley, is suitable for
intensive agriculture. Most of a 50 km wide land strip along the coast is less than 2 m
above sea-level and is protected from flooding by a 1 to 10 km wide coastal sand belt
only, shaped by discharge of the Rosetta and Damietta branches of the Nile. Many
activities have impact on eutrophication and contamination status, the ecological value
and environmental condition of the Nile Delta region such as agriculture development,
and industrial activities within the catchments and inadequate rural sanitation.
Excessive irrigation applications lead to water logging problems in vast areas of the
region. The continuous seawater intrusion creep explores the problem of groundwater
salination year after year. Recent increases in global population, together with
enhanced standards of living, have created greater demand on water resources,
requiring improved groundwater management. Any new groundwater development
should take into account the possibilities of saline intrusion, and ensure adequate
control, with prevention of saline intrusion being seen as the ideal.
While a reasonably clear picture exists in terms of salinity of water, availability of
usable information on other water quality parameters is very limited. There is an
essential need for a rational water data collection and management program. Large
volumes of domestic and untreated industrial effluent are still discharged into the river
and water channels. In addition, significant proportions of fertilizers and pesticides
used are leached into the water system. Potential groundwater contamination from
fertilizers could be a concern. Applications of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium
Ninth International Water Technology Conference, IWTC9 2005, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt
32
fertilizers in the Egyptian agriculture increased nearly 4-fold during the 1960-1988
periods.
Keywords: Nile Delta, Geography and Hydrology, Water Resources, Water
Degradation
INTRODUCTION
Nile Delta is characterized as tide-dominated delta where river mouths hit the sea in
areas affected by large tidal ranges, the delta shape can be extensively reshaped by the
twice a day flood and ebb tidal currents moving in and out of the river mouth. This
usually happens in bays and estuaries where the river mouth is protected from much
wave activity. The relentless in and out currents of tides can sculpt the sediment into
elongate tidal bars. At the head of the bay there may be a classic looking delta, in this
location referred as bay-head delta, but farther seaward is a zone of lots tidal bars,
islands and inlets caused by tide reworking. A vertical stratigraphic section through
this type of deposit will be dominated by lots of mud and sands that show bidirectional
(ebb-directed and flood directed) cross bedding and not much evidence of wave
reworking (e.g. beaches) nor or strongly prograding rivers (e.g. dominated lobate
deltas).
All deltas undergo alternating construction to destruction phases due to fundamental
changes in the relative influence of sediment input from rivers and redistribution by
marine coastal processes. During the past 7000 years world deltas, including the Nile,
have been in an overall construction phase. However, the Nile delta has converted to a
destruction phase during the past 150 years, triggered by water regulation which has
disrupted the balance among sediment influx, erosive effects of coastal processes, and
subsidence. This former destruction has been altered to the extent that it is no longer a
functioning delta but, rather, a subsiding and eroding coastal plain.
Symptoms of the destruction phase of the Nile delta include accelerated coastal
erosion and straightening of the shoreline, reduction in wetland size, increased
landward incursion of saline groundwater, and build-up of salt and pollutants to toxic
levels in wetlands and delta plain. Without seasonal flushing by floods, the former
delta plain surface is now incapable of recycling and/or removing agricultural,
municipal and industrial wastes generated by Egypt’s rapidly expanding population.
Moreover, the remaining capacity of the system to regenerate itself will further
diminish as water is diverted away from the delta for new irrigation and municipal
projects in the Egyptian desert, and water allocations to Egypt are decreased by
upstream countries.
NILE DELTA GEOGRAPHY AND HYDROGEOLOGY
At Cairo, the Nile spreads out over what was once a broad estuary that has been filled
by riverine deposits to form a fertile delta about 250 kilometres wide at the seaward
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base and about 160 kilometres from north to south. According to reports written in the
first century A.D., seven branches of the Nile ran through the delta. Since then,
humans and nature have closed five of them. The only two remaining channels are
Rosetta, whose mouth is located just east of Alexandria, and Damietta, whose mouth is
located at the northeast tip of the Delta. The other five mouths, which have been
proven both historically and geologically to have existed, are indicated on the map
below. The Nile Delta, most of which is under cultivation, is an area of fertile alluvial
soils and abundant water. Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt's two largest cities are located
in this region, as shown in Fig.1.
The Nile Delta is one of the oldest intensely cultivated areas on earth. It is very
heavily populated, with population densities up to 1600 inhabitants per square
kilometer. The low lying, fertile floodplains are surrounded by deserts. Only 2.5 % of
Egypt's land area, the Nile delta and the Nile valley, is suitable for intensive
agriculture. Most of a 50 km wide land strip along the coast is less than 2 m above
sea-level and is protected from flooding by a 1 to 10 km wide coastal sand belt only,
shaped by discharge of the Rosetta and Damietta branches of the Nile. Erosion of the
protective sand belt is a serious problem and has accelerated since the construction of
the Aswan dam.
In ancient times the Nile Delta was recorded as having seven tributaries; however the
flow has been controlled so that now there are only two main branches, the Damietta
and Rosetta. The Nile Delta measures approximately 100 miles / 160 kilometres north
to south, and 150 miles / 240 kilometres east to west at its widest in the north. The rich
silt soil of the Nile delta is the most fertile in all Africa. Whereas in many places in the
world the topsoil is measured in mere inches, in the Nile Delta is varies from 50 to 75
feet in depth. The delta area would have provided plenty of water and rich soils for the
crops needed to produce sufficient food reserves to overcome the 7-year famine that
occurred at the time of Jacob's entry into Egypt.
Re-establishing some level of natural hydrology is the only credible solution for
attaining equilibrium among sediment accretion on the delta plain to offset subsidence,
progradation along the coast to offset erosion, and sufficient water influx to flush and
remove the high levels of salt and pollutants throughout the system. However,
increased Nile water and sediment discharge could begin to restore a functioning delta
system only if there is a substantial reduction in human impacts.
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Figure 1. Landsat mosaic (A) shows urban expansion (yellow); development of large
sand dunes (pink); coastal erosion, and salt pans. Map B shows topographic and
geographic features of the Nile delta and major cities
The contrast between the lush vegetation of the Nile delta and river course and the dry
sand of the Sahara can be seen spectacularly in this enhanced true colour Medium
Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) image. The grey area to the bottom of the
"triangle" of the delta is Egypt's Capitol, Cairo. The Delta is lush with vegetation and
its many canals work their way through the land. The Delta fans out like a palm tree
trying to reach the Mediterranean. Vast fields of cotton, maize and rice decorate the
flat landscape and the buffalo graze, plow or turn wheels for the grinding of the grain.
During the winter months it is wise to bring a raincoat because of the high clouds that
blow in from the Mediterranean. Along the coast itself, a sweater may be needed in the
evenings. In the image detail, just the Nile delta itself is shown, but this time in
MERIS bands to enhance the spectral difference over land and to show up the
sedimentation from the delta into the Mediterranean. Looking closely we can see the
different channels of the Nile cutting their way towards the sea. The black areas
represent cities on the shores of the channels; El Mansure, Tanta and El Mahalla el
Kubra are the three cities in the centre of the delta, with Cairo again clearly visible at
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the base. The blue plume offshore is caused by sediment from the river being pumped
into the sea.
NILE DELTA SOURCE WATER ASSESSMENT
The water resources in the Nile Delta region have experienced drastic events in the
last three decades since the operation of the High Aswan Dam. Many activities have
impact on eutrophication and contamination status, the ecological value and
environmental condition of the Nile Delta region such as agriculture development, and
industrial activities within the catchments and inadequate rural sanitation. Excessive
irrigation applications lead to water logging problems in vast areas of the region. The
continuous seawater intrusion creep explores the problem of groundwater salination
year after year. Moreover, the domestic, industrial, sewage and agricultural drainage
to surface and groundwater with all known effluents deteriorate the ecosystem in the
Nile Delta.
In the past, the quality of most groundwater was not a major concern. Treatment
usually consisted of chlorination and, if necessary, the removal of iron and manganese
and other specific constituents. But within the last 10 years, it has become apparent
that because of human activities many of the nation's groundwater aquifers have been
contaminated by compounds other than those present in the natural environment.
Many of the compounds that have been found in groundwater are known to be
carcinogenic and/or mutagenic. Although their concentrations might be minute, the
presence of these compounds is clearly a serious threat to the nation's groundwater
resources. Principles of groundwater flow and process fundamentals have to be
integrated to model the fate and transport of contaminants in the saturated zone. Both
advective and dispertive transport of the contaminant have to be included in the
contaminant transport model, as well as, the physical, biological, and chemical
reactions.
It is important to realize that the groundwater at any given point represents a mixture
of waters of different origin (surface waters as well as groundwater) and, therefore,
also with different composition in terms of dissolved constituents, etc. The dissolved
components reflect the various reactions between water and solid geologic phases
(weathering, dissolution/precipitation, redox reactions, complication, etc.) that are
continuously taking place along the water pathway, Fig. 1. Shows inter-connections
between inland freshwater bodies. Thus, the water at any individual sampling location
is generally not at equilibrium with the various geologic phases at the sampling place,
with few exceptions. This is, of course, due to dynamic mixing of water from various
sources, but also due the fact that true chemical equilibrium are rarely achieved
between the common silicate components in the bedrock and the water phase.
The groundwater pressure is generally refered as piezometric head, while the subsoil
phreatic surface of the clay cap is called shallow water and both water heads fluctuate
around the year. The groundwater piezometric heads depend mainly nowadays on the
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irrigation practices on a regional scale while the shallow water table fluctuates in
response to local irrigation practices, seepage from adjacent canals and field drainage
depth. The difference in levels between the piezometric heads in the aquifer and the
watertable in the aquitard causes the vertical movement through the clay cap. The
direction of movement is determined by which level is higher compared to a common
reference plain. Applying this phenomenon to the the Nile Delta region where the
difference in levels of groundwater head and shallow water table causes upward flow
through the clay cap. The catchment area can be divided on the basis of the above
analysis into three zones; the downward movement zone in the south, upward
movement zone to the north, and the seawater intrusion zone along the seashore. An
early estimate of the upward seepage in the Nile Delta was made by Farid, 1979.
Recent increases in global population, together with enhanced standards of living,
have created greater demand on water resources, requiring improved groundwater
management. Any new groundwater development should take into account the
possibilities of saline intrusion, and ensure adequate control, with prevention of saline
intrusion being seen as the ideal. Any intrusion carries with it the risk that the matrix
of the aquifer will become contaminated, causing a permanent loss of freshwater
storage capacity. Where the possibility of intrusion exists, appropriate monitoring
procedures should be routinely carried out. A network of sampling piezometers should
be established to monitor heads and salinity changes along the coastal fringe. Actual
methods for controlling saline intrusion vary widely according to geology, extent of
the problem, water use, and economics. They generally rely on the principle that, in
order to limit sea water intrusion, some fresh water outflow above the saline wedge
must be maintained. They can be broadly divided into methods relying on barriers and
those dependent on aquifer management; some of these are discussed briefly below.
The distinguishing physical features of groundwater flow which include relatively low
flow velocities, often qualify aquifers to act as sinks for nutrients, toxicants, organic
matters and other substances that produce significant water quality problems. The
water quality of groundwater in the Nile Delta region is varying from place to another
where the water salinity decreases towards the west direction. Field investigations
revealed the existence of significant concentrations of Fe, Zn, Cu, Pb, and Cr in
groundwater. Toxic substances of heavy metals and pesticides enter the groundwater
with precipitation, drainage water and industrial wastes, which contaminate the
aquifer.
STATE OF THE ART IN NILE DELTA WATER STUDIES
Egypt's agricultural sector is unique in that over 95% of its agricultural production is
derived from irrigated land and its irrigation waters originate outside of its borders. On
the macro level, the last two centuries of modern Egypt have witnessed considerable
development starting by the construction of the Delta Barrage (1898) to assure summer
cotton irrigation in the Nile Delta, and the establishment of an intensive canal
networks for irrigation, and ending by the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the
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sixties of the nineteenth century. However, the average annual flow during the last
decade has been slightly decreased than the long term average. The concentration on
the macro level was on the hardware part of the system, while the present and the
future will concentrate on the software of the system. Such activities include
improvements in operation and maintenance, demand management, re-cycling,
capacity building, and user’s participation. Present agricultural water use accounts for
about 84% of the total water use while industrial, municipal and navigational use
accounts for 8%, 5%, 3% respectively, (Abu Zeid, 2000).
The exact nature and details of these inter-relations are not clear yet. A new factor that
adds to the complexity of the issue is the water quality changes. Agriculture is the
largest water user in Egypt. It is essentially dependent upon irrigation, and consumes
the bulk of the available water (about 84%). The total irrigated area now amounts to
7.4 million acres. The future expansion programs depend very much on the availability
of additional water resources. Surface irrigation systems are used in most old
agricultural lands of Egypt, with an application efficiency which is still considered
low. Excess irrigation water applications contribute to the groundwater shallow
aquifers and to water logging problems. Water pumped from such aquifers or re-used
through re-cycling of agricultural drainage water brings up the overall water use
efficiency to a reasonable value.
While a reasonably clear picture exists in terms of salinity of water, availability of
usable information on other water quality parameters is very limited. There is an
essential need for a rational water data collection and management program. Large
volumes of domestic and untreated industrial effluent are still discharged into the river
and water channels. In addition, significant proportions of fertilizers and pesticides
used is leached into the water system. Potential groundwater contamination from
fertilizers could be a concern. Applications of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium
fertilizers in the Egyptian agriculture increased nearly 4-fold during the 19601988
period.
Use of pesticides has increased as well, but not at the same rate of fertilizers. In early
1991, use of herbicides to control aquatic weeds in Egypt was stopped. Increasing
water pollution from industrial and domestic sources, if allowed to grow unchecked, is
likely to reduce the amount of water available for various uses in the future. Legal
basis of controlling water pollution already exists through law 48 of 1982 on the
Protection of the River Nile and Water Ways from Pollution". The law established
stringent effluent standards for various organic and inorganic pollutants. Lack of
proper funds for treatment of industrial wastes and for providing adequate municipal
wastewater treatment plants, has hindered, so far, the full enforcement of the law.
Salinity and water logging from irrigation practices has been a problem. However,
Egypt has embarked on the construction of an extensive drainage system, a significant
part of which is already operational (3.9 x 10
6
acres). For the long term sustainability
of agriculture, drainage should continue to receive priority (Abu Zeid, 2000).
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38
STATEMENT OF CRITICAL REGIONAL WATER PROBLEM
Understanding the groundwater recharge process is essential in protecting groundwater
and streamflow source quality. Short transit times associated with the recharge process
can potentially adversely affect groundwater quality due to lack of attenuation time or
contaminant decay. Recharge water from an agricultural field, for example, containing
pesticide may infiltrate through the subsurface and potentially impact groundwater
quality for drinking water. In addition to groundwater recharge contamination
potential, mechanisms controlling recharge play an important role the soil/stream
water chemistry. Preferential flow bypasses the soil matrix and reduces the ability of
the soil react with solutes carried by the infiltrating water. Preferential flow decreases
the time for infiltrating water containing contaminants or nutrients to react with the
soil-plant and microbial system.
Residence time estimation offers benefits to evaluating recharge water flow through
the subsurface to groundwater sources. Mean residence time (MRT) determined from
seasonal isotope variations in input water (precipitation) and output water (subsurface
water or streamflow) can provide information about groundwater recharge processes
and contamination vulnerability. Seasonal variations of environmental isotopes (i.e.,
deuterium and oxygen-18) in water are attenuated during movement through the
subsurface system. This attenuation is related to the recharge pathways (both matrix
and macropore controlled) and residence time of the system. Thus, MRT can be used
in assessing whether a groundwater source is vulnerable to contamination from
recharge on the surface or in providing a hydrologic connection from surface water to
groundwater. A surface hydrologic connection is needed to provide evidence of "direct
influence of surface water" to groundwater sources.
INTEGRATED SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NILE DELTA
The relationship between Nile Delta agricultural activities and groundwater return
flow is poorly understood. In virtually every study, investigators have opined that
groundwater discharge may account for some, if not all, of the unexplained increases
in many constituents. However, in each instance a detailed investigation of ground–
and surface water interaction (and the associated impacts on instream water quality) is
highly recommended. It is therefore within the dual context of applied research and
policy–driven inquiry that we propose the following study.
The results and benefits generated from the integrateted sustainable development of
the Nile Delta, proposed by the present study and a series of following studies, will be
significant in several respects. First, our multi-level approach to model development
and parameter estimation will provide a template for modeling complex ground - and
surface water systems in other areas; especially those dominated by irrigated
agriculture. By combining simple mixing-cell models, environmental isotopes and
vadose zone modeling with airborne geophysics and on-the-ground field testing, we
Ninth International Water Technology Conference, IWTC9 2005, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt
39
expect to constrain model error and uncertainty in a manner that will raise confidence
in groundwater and solute transport model results.
Second, the proposed drilling and sampling program will yield useful information
regarding the chemistry of sediments and associated groundwater in the Nile Delta
area. Long speculated as a potential source of groundwater solutes in the Nile Delta,
this study will, for the first time, help quantify the physical and chemical nature of the
Pleistocene soils and stratigraphy that comprise the shallow aquifers in the region.
Third, by integrating the results of this effort with ongoing surface-water studies by the
investigators in the Nile Delta, we will acquire critical information regarding the
nature of groundwater solute discharge to the Nile River, and the associated impacts
on instream water quality. This is significant in that current surface water quality
programs do not model the hydrobiological processes associated with solute exchange
at the ground-surface water interface.
Lastly, the results of the present study will provide critical information to planners,
regulators and other basin stakeholders as they attempt to assess the impacts of large-
scale changes in land-use activities on the hydrology and chemistry of the lower Nile
River; and provide a blueprint for addressing similar problems in other countries
within the region, including Nile River riparian countries.
CONCLUSIONS
The water resources in the Nile Delta region have experienced drastic events in the
last three decades since the operation of the High Aswan Dam. Many activities have
impact on eutrophication and contamination status, the ecological value and
environmental condition of the Nile Delta region such as agriculture development, and
industrial activities within the catchments and inadequate rural sanitation. Excessive
irrigation applications lead to water logging problems in vast areas of the region. The
continuous seawater intrusion creep explores the problem of groundwater salination
year after year. Moreover, the domestic, industrial, sewage and agricultural drainage
to surface and groundwater with all known effluents deteriorate the ecosystem in the
Nile Delta. An overview of the Nile Delta has been highlighted. Water Resources
assessment and critical regional problem statement are addressed. An integrated
sustainable development Scenario of the Nile Delta is prroposed in the present study.
The results and benefits generated from the proposed present study will be significant
in several respects to provide critical information to planners, regulators and other
basin stakeholders as they attempt to assess the impacts of large–scale changes in
land–use activities on the hydrology and chemistry of the lower Nile River; and
provide a blueprint for addressing similar problems in other countries within the
region, including Nile River riparian countries.
SELECTED REFERENCES
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Ninth International Water Technology Conference, IWTC9 2005, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt
40
2. “General framework of Holocene deltas: Nile Delta in its Destruction Phase”,
http://www.nmnh.si.edu/paleo/deltas/modern_egypt.htm.
3. “Potential impact of sea level rise: Nile Delta (0.5 to 1.0 meters)”,
United Nations Environment Programme / GRID-Arendal
4. Desalination of Brackish Groundwater in Egypt, Journal of
Desalination, Vol. (152), 2002, pp 19-26
(http://www.desline.com/articoli/4852.pdf)
5. Design of National Groundwater Quality Monitoring Network in Egypt. Journal
of Environmental Monitoring and Assessment.
(http://www.kluweronline.com/issn/0167-6369)
6. "World Water & Environmental Resources Congress 2003", EWRI2003,
http://www.asce.org/conferences/ewri2003/display.cfm?process=1
7. Bakenaz A. Zeydan, 2003, “The Nile River Basin in a Global Vision”, 3
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International conference of IWHA, 11-14 Dec., Alexandrina Bibliotheca,
Alexandria, Egypt.
8. Bear, J. and A. Bachmat, Y., 1990, "Introduction to modeling of transport
phenomena in porous media", Kluwer Academic Publishers, 535 pp.
9. Bedient, P.B., Rifai, H.S., and Newell, C.J., 1999, "Groundwater
contamination: Transport and remediation", 2
nd
ed., Prentice Hall, New Jersy.
10. Charbeneau, R.J., 2000, "Groundwater Hydraulics and pollutant transport",
Prentice Hall, New Jersy.
11. Deborah Champman, 1998, “Water Quality Assessments”, Edited, 2
nd
Edition,
UNESCO/WHO/UNEP.
12. Deutsch, W.J., 1997, "Groundwater Geochemistry: Fundamentals and
Applications to Contamination", CRC Press. 224 pp.
13. Farid, M.S., Ibrahim, H.A., Amer, A., 1979, “Evaluation of the Nile Delta
Aquifer Potentiality”, Master Thesis, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University.
14. Haled, D.P. and Mulligan, A.E., 2000, "Optimal Management of Flow in
Groundwater Systems", Academic Press, 185 pp.
15. Hitchon, B., E.H. Perkins, and W.D. Gunter, 1999, "Introduction to ground
water geochemistry", Geoscience Publishing Ltd., 310 pp. plus CD-ROM.
16. Mahmoud Abu Zeid, 2000, “Egypt’s Efforts towards Management of
Agricultural Water Demands”, MPWWR, Egypt.
17. M.S. Hamza, Aly I. M. Aly, M.A. Awad, A.A. Nada, S.G. Abdel-Samie, M.A.
Sadek, W.M. Salem, F.A. Attia, N.E. El-Arabi and T.M. Hassan, 2000,
“Estimation of recharge rate from the Nile and paleowater to desert fringes
aquifers at west Esna, upper Egypt using environmental isotopes” Fifth Arab
Conference on Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, Beirut: 13-17 November.
18. Shahin, M., 1991, "Assessment of groundwater resources in Egypt", IHE
Report Series 23, DELFT, The Netherlands, pp.71.
19. USGS Ground Water Studies, "Ground water studies", U.S. Geological Survey.
http://water.usgs.gov/wid/html/GW.html
20. World Bank, 1990, "Egypt: Environmental Issues". Washington, D.C.
... According to A.D. reports in the first century, seven branches of the Nile flowed through the delta, then five branches have been closed by humans and nature, however they still exist. The remaining two branches are channels Rosetta, whose mouth is located just east of Alexandria, and Damietta, whose mouth is located at the northeast tip of the Delta (Zeydan 2005). The Nile Delta is a typical wave and the tide is a semi-daily microtidal system with a maximum tidal extension of 50 cm (El Banna and Frihy 2009). ...
... About 60% of Egypt's population reside in the Nile Delta region. Agriculture activities are prevalent in the region (around 63% of the total agricultural land) due to the nature of the soil and an irrigation system in this area (Mabrouk et al. 2013), and it is an area of fertile alluvial soils and abundant water (Zeydan 2005). The Nile Delta aquifer is a vast leaky aquifer which is located between Cairo and the Mediterranean Sea. ...
... This aquifer is recharged by infiltration from surplus irrigation water and the very limited rainfall that infiltrates via the upper clay layer (Mabrouk et al. 2013). The Nile Delta extends about 100 miles/160 km from north to south, and 150 miles/240 km from east to west with its widest in the north (Zeydan, 2005). The length of the Nile delta coast is about 240 km, and it comprises of sandy arcuate beaches. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Egypt consists of four main geological areas, Nile River valley and its delta, Western Desert, Eastern Desert, and Sinai Peninsula. The Nile Valley broadens gradually toward the north of Egypt and it is bounded by several sedimentary basins and desert sands that have been settled upon fluvial soils. The Nile Valley has three geomorphological units: the young alluvial plain, older alluvial plains, and the limestone plateau. The Nile Delta is one of the earliest identified deltaic systems in the world. It was formed by the sedimentary processes between the upper Miocene and present, then it was built up by the alluvium delivered by the old seven active branches of the Nile which flowed through the delta, then humans and nature have closed five branches. The remaining two branches are called Rosetta and Damietta. The Nile Delta is an area of fertile alluvial soils that consists of Nile deposits due to the frequent flooding during geological periods. Several shallow lagoons were developed along the Mediterranean coast and connected to the sea by small openings (Bogaz), in the sand barriers. The Eastern Desert is a part of the Arabian Nubian Shield (Shield is a collage of Neoproterozoic tectonostratigraphic terrains linked to ophiolite-decorated sutures). This desert is generally a huge and rough mountainous terrain composed of Precambrian basement (igneous and metamorphic) rocks. As well, the Eastern Desert is characterized by mountains, plateaus, and vast wadis. The Western Desert as a vast plateau desert involves the most well-known Egyptian oases (i.e., Siwa, Bahariya, Farafra, Kharga, and Dakhla) and some of the coastal basins. The landscape and shape the surface of this desert are modified by fluvial (dominant process shaping the land surface when the water movement is available) and aeolian actions (dominant where water resources are more limited). This desert is characterized by sand dunes and sand seas and many plateaus. Sinai Peninsula is the most attractive region from the geological standpoint in Egypt. This peninsula is located between the Mediterranean Sea on the north and the Red Sea on the south, Suez Gulf on the west, and Aqaba Gulf on the east. Its shape is triangular with apex formed by the connection of two Gulfs: Aqaba and Suez, and base by the Mediterranean coastline. It is characterized by very rough mountains formed by igneous and metamorphic rocks in the south, and limestone plateau in the middle and north.
... In ancient times, the Nile River at Cairo formed a wide estuary that has been occupied by river deposits to frame the current fruitful delta of 250-km-wide base at the Mediterranean coast and around 160 km from Cairo (south) to sea coast (north). Seven branches of the Nile ran through the delta, but humans and nature have closed five of them [25]. The only two remaining channels are Rosetta, whose mouth is located just east of Alexandria, and Damietta, whose mouth is located at the northeast tip of the Delta. ...
... The only two remaining channels are Rosetta, whose mouth is located just east of Alexandria, and Damietta, whose mouth is located at the northeast tip of the Delta. The other five mouths, which have been proven both historically and geologically to have existed [25]. ...
... showing the variable position of the fresh-saline interface in multiple confined aquifers on the shelf, the variable widths of the mixed zone at the interface, the flow of saline water inward from the exposed edges of confined aquifers, and the upward movement of saline groundwater induced by geothermal heating at depth [11] "The Nile Delta is one of the oldest intensely cultivated areas on earth. It is very heavily populated, with population densities up to 1,600 inhabitants per square kilometer" [25]. Fig. 4 Schematic diagrams of the groundwater flow system and subsurface thermal regime under the condition of (a) and (b) no groundwater flow, (c) and (d) regional groundwater flow, and (e) and (f) regional groundwater flow with surface warming. ...
Chapter
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Several aquifers around the world are situated in the coastal zones and influenced by seawater intrusion. The development of populace in coastal territories and the conjugate increment in human, farming, and industrial activities have forced an increase in the needs for freshwater. The Quaternary aquifer in the Nile Delta is among the biggest groundwater aquifers in the world. Along its northern side, the aquifer is highly affected by the Mediterranean Sea. Because of the inordinate pumping in the course of the most recent couple of decades, the groundwater quality in the northern parts of the Nile Delta has been decreased extensively. Therefore, this chapter aims to trace the groundwater flow system and seawater intrusion in the study area using the multi-tracing technique. The integration between borehole temperatures and groundwater chemistry was good to conduct the aim of this study. Borehole temperature was measured in eight boreholes, and the groundwater was sampled from the same wells but sometimes from the shallow and deep zones. Tala well located to the south of the study area indicated the recharged fresh groundwater with downward flux of 0.8 m/year. The fresh groundwater started to discharge from south Tanta City till south Kafr Elsheikh City where the calculated upward fluxes were −0.1 to −0.5, − 0.35, and −0.23 m/year for Kafelarab, Nawag, and Elkarada wells. Hydrochemically, the groundwater in the area northern Kafr Elsheikh City is highly affected by seawater intrusion, and the measured temperature profiles are of discharge type, and their calculated upward fluxes were −0.6, −1.2, and −2.8 m/year for Kafr Mesaaed, Elhadady, and Motobes wells, respectively.
... These elements can bio-accumulate in plants, animals and humans via the food chain (Abrahams, 2002). The Nile Delta is one of the oldest intensely cultivated areas on earth and is very densely populated, with ?1,600 inhabitants per square kilometre (Zeydan, 2005). Agricultural development, industrial activities and inadequate rural sanitation have considerable impacts on eutrophication and contamination status, ecological value and environmental conditions on the Nile Delta (Zeydan, 2005). ...
... The Nile Delta is one of the oldest intensely cultivated areas on earth and is very densely populated, with ?1,600 inhabitants per square kilometre (Zeydan, 2005). Agricultural development, industrial activities and inadequate rural sanitation have considerable impacts on eutrophication and contamination status, ecological value and environmental conditions on the Nile Delta (Zeydan, 2005). Natural and anthropogenic activities are two important sources of heavy metals in soil. ...
... These elements can bio-accumulate in plants, animals and humans via the food chain (Abrahams, 2002). The Nile Delta is one of the oldest intensely cultivated areas on earth and is very densely populated , with ≤1,600 inhabitants per square kilometre (Zeydan, 2005). Agricultural development, industrial activities and inadequate rural sanitation have considerable impacts on eutrophication and contamination status, ecological value and environmental conditions on the Nile Delta (Zeydan, 2005). ...
Article
Full-text available
Heavy metal contamination in the El-Gharbia Governorate (District) of Egypt was identified by using remote sensing, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry as the main research tools. Digital Elevation Model (DEM), Landsat 8 and contour map images were used to map the landforms. Different physiographic units in the study area are represented by nine soil profiles. X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) was used for geochemical analysis of 33 soil samples. Vanadium (V), nickel (Ni), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) concentrations were measured and they all exceeded the average global concentrations identified by Wedepohl (1995). Ni and Cr concentrations exceeded recommended values in all soil profile horizons (Canadian Soil Quality Guidelines, 2007), while Cu had a variable distribution. Zn concentrations are under recommended concentration limits in most soil samples. Contamination Factor, Pollution Load Index and Degree of Contamination indices were used to assess the environmental risks of heavy metal contamination from the soils. All analysed metals pose some potential hazard and pollution levels were particularly high near industrial and urban areas.
... Thus, the thin clay layers and presence of sandy clay lenses facilitate percolation of sewage water to the aquifer. Many activities, including agricultural development and industrial activities and inadequate rural sanitation, have impacts on eutrophication and contamination status, ecological value and environmental conditions in the Nile Delta (Zeydan 2005). ...
... Thus, heavy metals may damage human health and the environment (Jankaite, Vasarevičius 2005). The Nile Delta (area ~20,000 km 2 ) represents only 2.3% of the area of Egypt, but it has ~46% of the total cultivated area (55,040 km 2 ) and accommodates ~45% of Egypt's population (Fanos 2002), with densities ≤1600 inhabitants per km 2 (Zeydan 2005). On the Nile Delta ~63% land is agricultural, due to suitable soil properties and the presence of irrigation systems (Dawoud 2004). ...
Article
Full-text available
Areas contaminated by heavy metals were identified in the El-Gharbia Governorate (District) of Egypt. Identification used remote sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) as the main research tools. Digital Elevation Models (DEM), Landsat 8 and contour maps were used to map physiographic units. Nine soil profiles were sampled in different physiographic units in the study area. Geochemical analysis of the 33 soil samples was conducted using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF). Vanadium (V), nickel (Ni), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) concentrations were measured. V, Ni and Cr concentrations exceeded recommended safety values in all horizons of the soil profiles, while Cu had a variable distribution. Zn concentrations slightly exceeded recommended concentration limits. Concentrations were mapped in each physiographic unit using the inverse distance weighted (IDW) function of Arc-GIS 10.1 software. Pollution levels were closely associated with industry and urban areas.
... From this, it is obvious that since 1981 the groundwater extraction is increasing annually in a linear fashion by 0.1 billion cubic meters. An overview of the Nile Delta and its water resources assessment is presented by Zeidan [32]. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Groundwater quality is increasingly being threatened by agricultural, urban, and industrial wastes, which leach or are injected into underlying aquifers. Groundwater pollution can occur from on-site sanitation systems, landfills, effluent from wastewater treatment plants, leaking sewers, petroleum stations, or from over-application of fertilizers in agriculture. Pollution can also occur from naturally occurring contaminants, such as arsenic or fluoride. Aquifer vulnerability to pollution is mainly related to the use of excess fertilizers, due to the growing industrial activities; sewage effluent disposal; and landfill leaching, gasoline plumes, and nuclear wastes. Contaminants found in groundwater cover a broad range of physical , inorganic chemical, organic chemical, bacteriological, and radioactive parameters. Different mechanisms influence the transport of pollutants (e.g., diffusion, adsorption, precipitation, decay, in the groundwater). Movement of water and dispersion within the aquifer spreads the pollutant over a wider area. Once the groundwater is contaminated, its quality cannot be restored by stopping the pollutants at the source. Groundwater monitoring networks are constructed to perform site monitoring, ambient groundwater quality monitoring, and to collect data to develop groundwater aquifers, or initiate site remediation. The locations and depths of monitoring wells are the most important aspects of a monitoring network. Groundwater contaminants are subjected to dispersion and diffusion. The water quality index (WQI) is one of the most effective tools to communicate information on the quality of water to the concerned citizens and policy makers. Mathematical modeling techniques have been successfully utilized for simulating groundwater movement and solute transport mechanism. Hydrochemical and isotope tracer methods have been successfully used to assess pollution sources and concentrations in groundwater problems. Selection of the appropriate remedial technology is based
... El Molla et al. (2005) developed data base and a three dimensional groundwater model to simulate the behavior of groundwater system and its interaction with surface water at western Nile Delta area. An overview of the Nile Delta and its water resources assessment is presented by Zeydan (2005). Bear (1987 presented the basic equations of contaminant transport in groundwater. ...
Conference Paper
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In the present study, groundwater pollution in the central part of the Nile Delta is investigated. Natural chemical constituents and some contaminants of shallow groundwater and their distribution through the whole region of the studied area are investigated. A combination study of laboratory and numerical modeling are utilized. Numerical modeling for governing equations describing advective-dispersive transport with multi rate mass transfer is utilized employing FDM. A three dimensional finite difference groundwater model MODFLOW is used to deal with the hydrodynamics of the flow through porous media. A groundwater solute transport simulator MT3DMS which can be communicated with MODFLOW through data files, is utilized to solve the problem of contaminants transport and the change of their concentration with time. Field measurements and experimental works were conducted on sixty surface and groundwater samples collected from the study region. The collected samples were analyzed in the Central Laboratory of Environmental Isotope Hydrology, ENRRA. Stable isotopic techniques (Oxygen-18, Deuterium) were used to investigate the recharge sources, and Nitrogen-15 technique was applied to help tracing sources and fate of nitrate contamination found in collected water samples. The analysis indicated that vulnerability of the water resources to pollution is mainly related to the use of excess fertilizers (NO 3), the growing industrial activities, and sewage effluents. The sources for the higher nitrate concentration appear to be mixing with sewage or manure and ammonium phosphate fertilizer. Scenarios for groundwater remediation in Birma village employing extraction wells are presented.
... In addition it is very heavily populated, with population densities up to 1600 inhabitants per square kilometer (Zeydan, 2005). The organic matter (OM) content is low and so, accordingly, is the concentration of total nitrogen (TN) (FAO, 2005). ...
Article
Full-text available
Nile Delta includes part of the most fertile and populated lands in the world. However, there is no accurate and reliable database about C and N pools of this region; in addition there are no published data in this regard. Spatial variation of soil C and N pools was studied based on Ordinary Kriging (OK) as a geostatistical method. This method was used for converting sampled soil C and N data to continuous maps of C and N pools in Northern part on Nile Delta, Egypt. The data revealed different levels of variability of C and N pools in the study area. The total C pool (TCP) ranged between 1.6 and 122.7 Mg/ha; while total N pool (TNP) ranged between 0.3 and 7.6 Mg/ha. Soil organic carbon pool (SOCP) ranged between 0.3 and 76.4 Mg/ha, whereas soil inorganic carbon pool (SICP) ranged between 1.2 and 90.5 Mg/ha. Soil C and N pools are the lowest in the Northern part in the study area which is close to Mediterranean Sea coast because of low organic matter inputs in addition to salinity and alkalinity.
Chapter
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The Nile Delta aquifer is among the largest groundwater reservoirs in the world. Along its northern boundary, the aquifer is in direct hydraulic contact with the Mediterranean sea. During recent decades, increase in the reclaimed land area, increase in abstraction in most of wells, increase the salt water intrusion and population growth have been deteriorated the Nile delta aquifer considerably. Many activities have impact on eutrophication, contamination status, ecological value and environmental condition of the Nile Delta region. Excessive irrigation applications lead to water logging problems in vast areas of the region. Domestic, industrial, sewage and agricultural drainage to surface and groundwater deteriorate the ecosystem in the Nile Delta. Recent increases in global population, together with enhanced standards of living, have created greater demand on water resources. In central of Nile Delta, excessive use of sewage effluent and sludge, over-fertilization, overuse of manures for irrigation purposes cause hazardous effects on plants, animals and human health. In addition, discharge of liquid or solid wastes with different kinds of contaminants causes groundwater deterioration. Mathematical modeling techniques have been successfully utilized for simulating groundwater movement and solute transport mechanism. Chemical and environmental isotopic methods have been developed and successfully used to identify pollution sources in groundwater problems. To avoid the deterioration of the aquifer system an efficient integrated and sustainable management plan for groundwater resources is needed. As a first stage, a complete data base should be collected and documented for the area including land levels, land use, abstraction of groundwater, main canals and drains discharge and water levels, irrigation application, aquifers system and groundwater levels. A model for the Nile Delta aquifer is to be built. The second stage is to make use of this model to predict for the coming years management scenarios. This chapter aims to identify problems, knowledge, gaps and needs that deemed important to improve groundwater management in the Nile Delta as well as propose scenarios for groundwater remediation.
Conference Paper
Throughout history, water has been a major force in the rise and fall of great civilizations and a source of conflict and tension between nations. The first great civilizations arose on the banks of great rivers – the Nile in Egypt, the Tigris-Euphrates of Mesopotamia, the Indus in Pakistan, and the Hwang Ho of China. By the same token, civilizations have collapsed when water supplies failed or were improperly managed. The Nile is one of the world's great rivers. For millennia, this unique waterway has nourished varied livelihoods, an array of ecosystems, and a rich diversity of cultures. As the world's longest river, it traverses nearly 6,700 kilometers, covering more than 35 degrees of latitude and draining an area of over 3 million square kilometers; one tenth of Africa's total land mass. It is a basin of varied landscapes, with high mountains, tropical forests, woodlands, lakes, savannas, wetlands, arid lands, and deserts, culminating in a vast delta on the Mediterranean Sea. It is generally agreed that the Nile has several sources. The principle streams are the White Nile, which begins in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa; and the Blue Nile (Abbay) and the Atbara (Tekeze), both flowing from the Abyssinian highlands. The most distant source is the Kagera River, which winds its way through Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda into Lake Victoria. The Nile River is shared by ten countries; Burundi, and Uganda. The basin contains outstanding environmental assets, such as Lake Victoria, the second largest fresh water body by area in the world, and the vast wetlands of the Sudd. It also serves as home to an estimated 160 million people within the boundaries of the basin, while about twice that number, roughly 300 million, live within the ten countries that share and depend on Nile waters. "Egypt is the gift of the Nile", said Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian. The country and the river are inextricably linked. Most of the 70 million people of Egypt reside in the Nile valley, using the Nile waters for life and for livelihood. The Nile water is the main source of water in Egypt. Irrigation is the dominant use for the Nile water, amounting to 85% of the total consumption, most of which is in the rich delta farmlands. The river's natural flow pattern through Egypt had been characterized by two seasons; flood season July-October, and low flow season for the reminder of the year. This cycle is now controlled since the completion of the High Aswan Dam in 1970. This has been resulted in a major adaptation in the river regime, direct increase in the level pollution, and changes in the river ecosystem. Despite the extraordinary natural endowments and rich cultural history of the Nile Basin, its people face considerable challenges. Today, the basin is characterized by poverty, political instability, rapid population growth, and environmental degradation. Four of the Nile riparian countries are among the world's ten poorest, with per capita incomes in the range of USD 100-200 per year. Population is expected to double within the next 25 years, placing additional strain on scarce water and other natural resources. In a historic step, the riparian countries jointly established a Cooperative Framework to achieve sustainable socioeconomic development through the equitable utilization of, and benefit form, the common Nile Basin water resources. The state of the art in Nile River Basin studies related to paleohistorical, physical geography and hydrology, ecological, hydro-political, socio-economical, integrated water management, flood hazards and disasters, drought and scarcity, sustainable development and future perspectives are addressed in the present study
Chapter
In Chaps. 4 through 7, we have discussed the complete mathematical statement of problems involving the transport of a single fluid phase, of a multiphase fluid system, of a component, or a multi-component system, and of heat, in a porous medium domain of any arbitrary shape. Usually, we had in mind a three-dimensional domain. In the present chapter, we discuss transport phenomena in a domain that has a special shape, viz., a thin domain. Such a domain has the shape of a thin slab, in which one dimension, referred to as thickness, is much smaller than the other two. An aquifer, which is a porous geological formation that contains and transmits groundwater, and an oil reservoir, may serve as examples. For the sake of making the presentation more practical, we shall present the methodology proposed in this chapter by applying it to the former example, namely, that of an aquifer.
Article
Examines the integral role geochemistry plays in groundwater monitoring and remediation programs, and presents it at a level understandable to a wide audience. Readers of all backgrounds can gain a better understanding of geochemical processes and how they apply to groundwater systems.
Article
1. Introduction to Groundwater Hydrology. 2. Darcy's Law and Continuity Relations. 3. Groundwater and Well Hydraulics. 4. The Vadose Zone and Groundwater Recharge. 5. Groundwater Contamination. 6. Solute Transport by Advection. 7. Solute Transport by Diffusion. 8. Advection-Dispersion Transport and Models. 9. Multiphase Flow and Hydrocarbon Recovery. Appendix A: Mathematical Formalisms. Appendix B: Selected Conversions, Parameter Values, and Properties. Appendix C: Theis Well Function, W(u). Appendix D: Spreadsheet Modules for Calculating Well Functions. Appendix E: Spreadsheet Module for Calculating Slug Test Well Function. Appendix F: Water Balance for Rainfall Events. Appendix G: Error and Complementary Error Functions. Appendix H: Spreadsheet Calculations of LNAPL Distribution. Appendix I: Spreadsheet for LNAPL Recovery Analysis. References.
Article
This book devotes the first three chapters to a concise review of basic concepts of groundwater hydrology. The transition to contaminate transport is made through a broadly based discussion of cources of contamination and data collection - hydrology to transport to reactions to microbiological reactions. Chapters on reactive transport and bioremediation follow and the final chapter is a practical discussion of the legal aspects of ground water contamination.
Book
The main objective of the book is to present a methodology for constructing mathematical models of transport problems in a porous medium domain on the basis of the continuum approach. The book is divided into two parts: Part A, consisting of three chapters, presents the general theory of modeling transport phenomena in a porous medium domain. The first chapter presents the continuum approach, defines microscopic and macroscopic levels of description, introduces the concept of spatial averaging and defines some macroscopic characteristics of porous media and their constituents. Chapter 2 continues to develop this approach by presenting a description of transport phenomena at the microscopic level, and by deriving averaging rules for transforming the microscopic level of description of any transport problem to a macroscopic one, in which all state variables and parameters are macroscopic quantities. The various laws that govern the macroscopic fluxes of extensive quantities in a porous medium domain, are also derived. Thermodynamic concepts and quantities are introduced whenever necessary. Finally, by adding macroscopic initial and boundary conditions, a complete mathematical statement, or mathematical model, for any transport problem at the macroscopic level of description is obtained. This is discussed in Chapter 3. In Part B, the general theory presented in Part A is applied to specific problems of transport of mass and volume of a phase, mass of a component and heat in single and multiphase fluid systems in a porous medium domain. The appropriate models are developed at the macroscopic level.
Optimal Management of Flow in Groundwater Systems
  • D P Haled
  • A E Mulligan
Haled, D.P. and Mulligan, A.E., 2000, "Optimal Management of Flow in Groundwater Systems", Academic Press, 185 pp.
Evaluation of the Nile Delta Aquifer Potentiality
  • M S Farid
  • H A Ibrahim
  • A Amer
Farid, M.S., Ibrahim, H.A., Amer, A., 1979, "Evaluation of the Nile Delta Aquifer Potentiality", Master Thesis, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University.
Water Quality AssessmentsGroundwater Geochemistry: Fundamentals and Applications to Contamination
  • Deborah Champman Nd Edition
  • Unesco
  • Who
  • Unep
Deborah Champman, 1998, " Water Quality Assessments ", Edited, 2 nd Edition, UNESCO/WHO/UNEP. 12. Deutsch, W.J., 1997, "Groundwater Geochemistry: Fundamentals and Applications to Contamination", CRC Press. 224 pp.