Recharge, geochemical processes and water quality in karst aquifers: Central West Bank, Palestine

  • Hassan Jebreen
  • Stefan Wohnlich
  • Andre Banning
  • Frank Wisotzky
  • Andrea Niedermayr
  • Marwan Ghanem
Original Article


The Central West Bank aquifer (CWB) is one of the most important resources of fresh groundwater of Palestine. The geology of the area consists mainly of karstic and permeable limestones and dolomites interbedded with argillaceous beds of late Albian–Turonian age. Exploitation of the CWB aquifer, combined with lack of information required to understand the groundwater pattern, represents a challenge for reservoir management. The present work reports hydrogeochemistry, microbiology and environmental isotope data from spring water samples, which were utilized to understand recharge mechanisms, geochemical evolution and renewability of groundwater in CWB aquifer. Besides the major chemical compositions, ionic ratios were used to delineate mineral-solution reactions and weathering processes. Interpretation of chemical data suggests that the chemical evolution of groundwater is primarily controlled by (1) water–rock interactions, involving dissolution of carbonate minerals (calcite and dolomite), and (2) cation exchange processes. The measured equation of the local meteoric water line is δD = 5.8 δ18O + 9.9. Stable isotopes show that precipitation is the source of recharge to the groundwater system. The evaporation line has a linear increasing trend from south to north direction in the study area. All analyzed spring waters are suitable for irrigation, but not for drinking purposes. The results from this study can serve as a basis for decision-makers and stakeholders, with the intention to increase the understanding of sustainable management of the CWBs.


Karst Hydrogeochemistry Stable isotopes Anthropogenic contamination West Bank 



The first author would like to acknowledge the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA), for access to the necessary reports and data. The authors gratefully acknowledge three anonymous reviewers for their critical evaluation and suggestions, which greatly helped to improve the manuscript. The authors thank M.Sc Elizabeth Jabarin‏ for language editing and deep reading of the paper.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hydrogeology DepartmentRuhr-Universität BochumBochumGermany
  2. 2.Department of GeographyBirzeit UniversityRamallahPalestine

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