Drawing upon our extensive modeling endeavors within the Western Mountain Aquifer of Israel, we are happy to announce the publication of our latest article in the Journal of Hydrology X:
Climate change continues to reshape our world, and its effects on water resources are becoming increasingly apparent. In the Mediterranean region, where many areas are already grappling with water scarcity, the impact of climate change is particularly pronounced. Our recent study, published in the Journal of Hydrology X, delves deep into the heart of this issue, shedding light on the combined effects of climate change and groundwater demand on the Western Mountain Aquifer (WMA) in Israel and the West Bank.
Traditionally, groundwater recharge and water resource assessment have relied on regression models, which are valuable within observed variability but may fall short when applied to conditions beyond historical fluctuations. To gain a more comprehensive understanding of the situation, this study employs state-of-the-art methods, utilizing a HydroGeoSphere (HGS) model that simulates dual-domain infiltration and precipitation partitioning.
With climate projections extended until 2070, based on the IPCC RCP4.5 scenario, the research paints a revealing picture. While there’s a notable 30% reduction in average precipitation, the decrease in long-term average groundwater recharge is less severe, ranging from 5% to 10%. This unexpected finding underscores the significance of considering karstic flow heterogeneity and the intensity of individual rainfall events. The study highlights the necessity of spatiotemporally resolved climate models that incorporate daily precipitation data for a more accurate assessment.
Despite the moderate decline in recharge, the study points out a concerning trend – an increase in the duration and severity of consecutive drought years with low recharge values. This has significant implications for water management practices, as freshwater demand is expected to rise during these prolonged dry spells.
Additionally, the research investigates the emergence of hydrogeological droughts and their transition from the surface to groundwater. The results indicate that the 48-month standardized precipitation index (SPI-48) serves as a suitable indicator for identifying hydrogeological droughts resulting from reduced groundwater recharge.
In conclusion, this study underscores the pressing need for proactive adaptation to climate change in water resource management. By using advanced modeling techniques and an in-depth examination of the WMA in Israel and the West Bank, it provides valuable insights into the complex relationship between climate change, groundwater resources, and drought dynamics. As the Mediterranean region grapples with increasing water scarcity, studies like this one serve as crucial tools for guiding sustainable water management practices in the face of an uncertain future.
SPI-48m map of the Western Mountain Aquifer, JOHX, Bresinsky et al. (2023b)