Geochemical and Isotopic Constraints on the Recharge and Salinization Origin of Groundwater Aquifers in El Rina–Nihayaat, South Sinai, Egypt

Mustafa Eissa *

Desert Research Center, Division of Water Resources and Arid Land, Hydrogeochemistry Department, Cairo, Egypt.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Abstract

The Sinai Peninsula is located in the arid regions of Egypt where groundwater is the sole source for drinking and irrigation and future development. Regular assessment of the geochemical processes governing the groundwater quality is important in arid regions and paleo-aquifers. This research focuses on investigating the groundwater sustainability of the Upper Cretaceous Aquifer (UCA) located at El Rina–Nihayaat area, Southwestern Sinai Peninsula. The study aims to evaluate the main source of groundwater recharge and investigate factors deteriorating groundwater quality. The study is based on the geochemical and isotopic analyses of 31 groundwater samples tapping the UCA. The groundwater flows toward the Gulf of Suez. The groundwater salinity ranges from 1078 mg/L to 13090 mg/L indicating brackish to saline water. Two main water types have been delineated: Cl-Na and Cl-Ca indicating the final stage of groundwater evolution and leaching and dissolution of aquifer matrix of marine origin. The spatial distribution of the groundwater salinity and major ions (Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, SO42-, and Cl-) increase toward the Gulf which coincides with the direction of the groundwater flow, while bicarbonate increases toward the upstream watershed. Most of the groundwater samples tapping the UCA are depleted with the isotopic content of the stable isotopes where they range from -4.43 ‰ to -6.37 ‰ for δ18O and -28.3 ‰ to -40.2 ‰ for δ2H. The groundwater samples are depleted relative to the recent rainwater and enriched to the Nubian Sandstone located underneath the UCA indicating mixing from both source(s). The mixing estimated percentages from the recent rainwater using calibrated geochemical NETPATH model range between 48.6% to 88.5% while the upward Leakes from the Nubian water ranges between 11.5 % to 51.4 %. The factorial analyses indicate three main factors governing the geochemistry of groundwater in the UCA: including water-rock interactions, meteoric recharge from annual precipitation, and upward leakages from the underneath paleowater. 

Further exploration for the UCA is recommended to determine the promising zones receiving a considerable amount of the recent rainfall.

Keywords: El Rina–Nihayaat, South Sinai, groundwater chemistry, stable isotopes, geochemical modelling, statistical factorial analyses


How to Cite

Eissa , Mustafa. 2024. “Geochemical and Isotopic Constraints on the Recharge and Salinization Origin of Groundwater Aquifers in El Rina–Nihayaat, South Sinai, Egypt”. Asian Journal of Environment & Ecology 23 (3):1-19. https://doi.org/10.9734/ajee/2024/v23i3529.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Dames M. Sinai development study–phase I, final report, Water Supplies and Costs. Volume V-Report Submitted to the Advisory Committee for Reconstruction, Ministry of Development. Cairo; 1985.

IGRAC. Transboundary aquifers of the world, Update 2021, Scale 1:50 000 000, Special edition for the 5th World Water Forum, Istanbul; 2009.

Nour S. Hydrogeology of deep aquifers in the Western Desert and Sinai, Report No.10, Water policy reform activity, U S Agency for International Development, Ministry of Public Works and Water Resources, Egypt; 1998.

El-Bihery MA. Water resources and sustainable development in Sinai Peninsula-Egypt, Ph.D. thesis, Geology Department, Faculty of Science, Ain Shams University, Egypt; 1998.

Botros FEF. Groundwater modeling for deep lower cretaceous aquifer system in Sinai, M.Sc. Thesis, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University, Egypt; 2003.

El Rahman HA. Evaluation of groundwater resources in Lower Cretaceous aquifer system in Sinai. Water Resources Management. 2001;15(3):187–202

Ghoubachi SY. Contribution to the hydrogeology of the Lower Cretaceous aquifer in east Central Sinai, Egypt. Journal of King Saud University- Science. 2013;25(2):91-105.

JICA. North Sinai groundwater resources study in the Arab Republic of Egypt, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Final Report; 1992.

JICA. South Sinai groundwater resources study in the Arab Republic of Egypt, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Final Report; 1999.

Ibrahim HA, Abd-Elmegeed MA, Ghanem AM, Hassan AE. Assessment of groundwater development potential in Upper Cretaceous aquifer in Sinai, Egypt. Arabian Journal of Geosciences. 2021;14: 1-3.

Rosenthal E, Zilberbrand M, Livshitz Y. The hydrochemical evolution of brackish groundwater in central and northern Sinai (Egypt) and in the western Negev (Israel). Journal of Hydrology. 2007;337(3–4):294-314.

Eissa MA, Thomas JM, Hershey RL, Dawoud MI, Pohll G, Gomaa MA, Kamal AD, Geochemical and isotopic evolution of groundwater in the Wadi Watir Watershed, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. Environ Earth Science. 2013;71:1855–1869

Kotb A, Mosaad S, Kehew AE. Geophysical and hydrogeological applications for groundwater evaluation, east El-Minia area, upper Egypt. Journal of African Earth Sciences. 2021;184:104384

Flores YG, Eid MH, Szűcs P, Szőcs T, Fancsik T, Szanyi J, Kovács B, Markos G, Újlaki P, Tóth P, McIntosh RW. Integration of geological, geochemical modelling and hydrodynamic condition for understanding the geometry and flow pattern of the aquifer system, Southern Nyírség–Hajdúság, Hungary. Water. 2023;15(16): 2888

Ahmed M, Chen Y, Khalil MM. Isotopic composition of groundwater resources in arid environments. Journal of Hydrology. 2022;609:127773.

Samy A, Eissa M, Shahen S, Said MM, Abou-Shahaba RM. Solute transport and geochemical modeling of the coastal quaternary aquifer, Delta Dahab Basin, South Sinai, Egypt. Acta Geochimica. 2023;29:1-24

Wannous M, Theilen-Willige B, Troeger U, Falk M, Siebert C, Bauer F. Hydrochemistry and environmental isotopes of spring water and their relation to structure and lithology identified with remote sensing methods in Wadi Araba, Egypt. Hydrogeology Journal. 2021;29(6): 2245-2266

Greenwood NH The Sinai: A physical geography. University of Texas Press, Austin, TX; 1997.

Eissa MA, Thomas JM, Pohll G, Shouakar-Stash O, Hershey RL, Dawoud M. Groundwater recharge and salinization in the arid coastal plain aquifer of the Wadi Watir delta, Sinai, Egypt. Applied Geochemistry. 2016;71:48-62

Omar AE, Abdel‐Halim KA, Arnous MO. State of the Practice Worldwide: Utilizing hydrogeochemical data and GIS tools to assess the groundwater quality in arid region: Example from Wadi Feiran basin, Southwestern Sinai, Egypt. Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation; 2023. Available:https://doi.org/10.1111/gwmr.12625

Dassi L, Tarki, M, El Mejri H, Ben Hammadi M. Effect of overpumping and irrigation stress on hydrochemistry and hydrodynamics of a Saharan oasis groundwater system. Hydrological Sciences Journal. 2018;63(2):227-250

Mohamed L. Structural controls on the distribution of groundwater in southern Sinai, Egypt: constraints from geophysical and remote sensing observations. Dissertations Paper 593; 2015. DOI:http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/dissertations/593

GeoEngineers. Inc. Soil and groundwater assessment, Ellensburg, Washington. August 2nd, 2021. GEI File Number 0504-169-00; 2021.

Fishman MJ, Friedman LC. Methods for the determination of inorganic substances in water and fluvial sediments. USGS Tech Water Resour Invest. book 5, chapter A1, USGS, Reston, VA; 1989.

Hem JD. Study and interpretation of the chemical characteristics of natural water. 3rd ed. Scientific Publication Jodhpur, India. 1991;2254.

IAEA, Stable isotope hydrology: Deuterium and oxygen-18 in water cycle. In: Gat JR, Gonfiantini R (eds), Technical report no. 210, International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna. 1981;339.

Morrison J, Brockwell T, Merren T, Fourel F, Phillips AM, On-line high-precision stable hydrogen isotopic analyses on nanoliter water samples. Anal Chem. 2001; 73:3570–3575

Plummer LN. Geochemical modeling of water–rock interaction: Past, present, future. In: Kharaka YK, Maest AS (eds) Water–rock interaction. Balkema, Rotterdam. 1992;23–33.

Plummer LN, Prestemon EC, Parkhurst DL. An interactive code (NETPATH) for modeling net geochemical reactions along a flow path, version 2.0. US Geol Surv Water Resour Invest Rep. 1994;94–4169:130.

Yoshioka K. Ky Plot Program Version 2.0. www. phy. gonza ga. Edu; 2001.

Shalaby Y, Embaby A, Siam A. Structural constraints on the groundwater regime of the Cretaceous aquifers in Central Sinai, Egypt. Journal of African Earth Sciences. 2012;75:37-56

Jenkins DA. North and central Sinai. In: Said R (ed) The geology of Egypt. Balkema, Rotterdam/Brookfield. 1990;361-380.

Bartov Y, Lewy Z, Steinitz G, Zak I. Mesozoic and tertiary stratigraphy, paleogeography and structural history of Gebel Arif El Naga area, Eastern Sinai. Israel Journal of Earth Sciences. 1980; 29(1–2):114-139

El-Ghazawi MM Hydrogeological studies in northeast Sinai, Egypt. Ph.D. Thesis, El-Mansoura Univ., Egypt. 1989;290.

Agah A. Structural map and plate reconstruction of the Gulf of Suez- Sinai area. Internal Report, Conoco Oil Co., Houston, Texas, U.S.A; 1981.

Hassanein AM, Geological and Geomorphological impacts on the water resources in central Sinai, Egypt. Ph.D. Thesis, Ain Shams Univ., Egypt. 1997;373.

CONOCO Continental Oil Company Geologic map of Egypt (Scale 1:500,000). CONOCO, Houston, TX; 1987.

Shata A. Geomorphological aspects of the western Sinai foreshore. Bull. de l ’Institute due Desert. 1955;5.

Massoud U. Geophysical studies for groundwater exploration in El-Bruk area, north central Sinai, Egypt. PhD Thesis, Minoufiya Univ., Egypt. 2005;130.

JICA. North Sinai groundwater resources study in the Arab Republic of Egypt, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Final Report; 1992.

JICA. South Sinai groundwater resources study in the Arab Republic of Egypt, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Final Report; 1999.

EGSMA (Egyptian Geological Survey and Mining Authority). Geological map of El-Hassana quadrangle, Sinai, Egypt. Scale 1: 100,000, EGSMA, Cairo; 1993.

Aggour TA, Hewidy, AA, Attia SH, Abu El Fettouh MA, Yousif M, Geology of water resources at Wadi Geraia basin, Sinai, Egypt. Egyptian Journal of Geology. 2007;51:177-204.

Massoud U, Santos F, Khalil MA, Taha A, Abbas AM. Estimation of aquifer hydraulic parameters from surface geophysical measurements: a case study of the Upper Cretaceous aquifer, central Sinai, Egypt. Hydrogeology Journal. 2010;18:699–710.

Gibbs RJ, Mechanisms controlling world water chemistry. Science. 1970;170:795-840

Piper A. A graphic procedure in the geochemical interpretation of water analyses. Transactions, American Geophysical Union. 1944;25 (6):914-928

Clark I, Fritz P. Environmental isotopes in hydrogeology. Lewis, New York; 1997.

Craig H. Isotopic variations in meteoric waters. Science. 1961;133:1702-1703

Hershey RL, Heilweil VM, Gardner P, Lyles B, Earman S, Thomas J, Lundmark KW, Ground-water chemistry interpretations supporting the Basin and Range Regional Carbonate-rock Aquifer System (BARCAS) Study, eastern Nevada and western Utah. DHS Publication No. 41230. Prepared by Desert Research Institute, Nevada System of Higher Education, Reno, NV, and US Geological Survey, Reston, VA; 2007.

Faure G. Principles of Isotope Geology, second ed. Wiley, New York; 1986.

Clark I. Groundwater Geochemistry, and Isotopes. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida; 2015.

Liu CW, Lin KH, Kuo YM. Application of factor analysis in the assessment of groundwater quality in a Blackfoot disease area in Taiwan. Science of the total environment. 2003;313(1-3):77-89.

Love D, Hallbauer D, Amos A, Hranova R. Factor analysis as a tool in groundwater quality management: two southern African case studies. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth. 2004;Parts A/B/C,29(15-18):1135-1143

Varol S, Davraz A. Evaluation of the groundwater quality with WQI (Water Quality Index) and multivariate analysis: A case study of the Tefenni plain (Burdur/Turkey). Environmental earth sciences. 2015;73:1725-1744