The coexistence of nature and anthropogenic development requires continuous monitoring and research to address and respond to unforeseen threatening processes that occur with time. This is particularly relevant to the groundwater flow regime in the coastal aquifer adjacent to the Dead Sea, the level of which is dropping, and the industrial evaporation ponds, whose levels are rising. The increasing hydraulic gradient between the two water bodies has produced severe leakage through the pond embankments. To prevent this leakage, a vertical deep sealing wall was built along the embankment. In this study, the overall leakage is calculated by mass balance, and the subsurface leakage component is numerically simulated, based on the mass balance and hydrological observations. Some of the leakage discharges into surface canals and some at the Dead Sea. The leakage volume increased from 20 mcm/year in the 1980s to 100 mcm/year before the sealing wall was built (in 2012), and from 60 mcm/year once the wall was established to 80 mcm/year today. Using the calibrated model, the leakage volume is predicted to increase in the next few decades, mainly through the Ye’elim alluvial fan. Further research effort is needed to come up with new preventive measures.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited