Implementation of Simple Strategies to Improve Wellfield Management in Arid Regions: The Case Study of Wadi Al Arab Wellfield, Jordan
Groundwater is the main source of drinking water supply in Jordan. Over the past 30 years, many wellfields have been drilled and expanded to cover increasing drinking water demand caused by natural population growth, development of life standards and as a result of the influx of refugees to Jordan. In particular, northern Jordan groundwater resources have been severely depleted. Therefore, water suppliers and utilities have been increasingly challenged to meet water demand and deliver water of adequate quality and quantity to households in a timely manner. Meeting these objectives requires good data management, proper maintenance of groundwater wells, and effective wellfield management plans. We developed a novel monitoring strategy that allows the collection of relevant data for wellfield managers (e.g., yield, static and dynamic water level, as well as energy consumption). The new monitoring system, implemented in 2017, has greatly enhanced data availability in comparison to the situation between 2012 and 2016. The data are used in an operational decision support tool based on simple interpretation of the field observations. The implementation of the project was done using both bottom-up and top-down approaches for the Wadi Al Arab wellfield. Our results evidence that (i) simple strategies can lead to a significant improvement of wellfield management, reducing the maintenance time of the wells though appropriate monitoring (from an average of four days/maintenance/well in 2012 to less than one day/maintenance/well in 2017); (ii) the joint combination of bottom-up and top-down approaches leads to an effective implementation of the monitoring system; (iii) the simplicity of the proposed monitoring strategy makes it suitable for further implementation in other wellfields in Jordan and countries in a similar situation of both data and water scarcity.