Hydrological and economic feasibility of mitigating a stressed coastal aquifer using managed aquifer recharge: a case study of Jamma aquifer, Oman
This study explored the hydrological and economic feasibility of managed aquifer recharge (MAR) using tertiary treated wastewater (TWW) to mitigate salinity in the coastal aquifer of Jamma, Oman. A steady-state groundwater flow and transport model, using MODFLOW software, was developed and calibrated. Different managerial scenarios were simulated and the results reveal that the Jamma aquifer will be further deteriorated in the next 20 a if it remains unmanaged. The groundwater table will decline further by more than 3 m on average; and the iso-concentration salinity line of 1500 mg/L will advance 2.7 km inland, which will severely affect the farming activities in the area. However, MAR using TWW when integrated with the management of groundwater abstraction (e.g., using modern irrigation systems to reduce the abstraction rate) becomes hydrologically feasible to augment the aquifer storage and control seawater intrusion, and hence improves the farming activities. The results indicate that: (1) injecting TWW in the vicinity of irrigation wells (Scenario A2); (2) investing in smart water meters and online control of pumping from the wells to reduce the abstraction rate by 25% (Scenario B); and (3) a combination of both (Scenario B2) are feasible scenarios with positive net present values. Recharge in upstream areas is found not economically feasible because of the very high investment cost of the installation of pipes to transport the TWW over a distance of 12.5 km. Because of securing funds are challenging, Scenario B would be the best option and the second-best option is Scenario A2. Scenario B2 has the lowest net benefit investment ratio and is very attractive because it entails integrated demand and supply management of groundwater. It is required to reduce pumping and to invest in injecting TWW to improve groundwater quality in the vicinity of irrigation wells and to form a hydrological barrier to control seawater intrusion in the long run.
Keywordsmanaged aquifer recharge treated wastewater salinity line coastal aquifer Oman
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This study was supported by the USAID (United States Agency for International Development)—FABRI (Further Advancing the Blue Revolution Initiative) and the MENA NWC (Middle East and North Africa Network of Water Centers of Excellence) (1001626-104). The authors would like to acknowledge the support of Sultan Qaboos University and the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources in Oman.
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