Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 2012, 4, 507-515 Published Online July 2012 (
Hydro-Geophysical Investigations for the Purposes of
Groundwater Artificial Recharge in Wadi Al-Butum
Area, Jordan
Hani Al-Amoush
Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, Al Al-Bayt University, Mafraq, Jordan
Received March 20, 2012; revised April 22, 2012; accepted May 25, 2012
In this article, the potential for artificial groundwater recharge of Wadi Al-Butum catchments area—Jordan is studied,
using geoelectrical resistivity surveys and hydro geochemical methods with the aim of storing some of surface water
during flood events times to be recharged in the groundwater as an essential part of integrated water resources man-
agement. The results of geoelectrical surveys show the existence of potential zones of alluvial deposits to store and re-
charge the groundwater aquifers. The hydro-geochemical modeling results show an overall upgrading of the original
groundwater quality could be expected.
Keywords: VES; Hydro-Geophysics; Artificial Recharge; Wadi Al-Butum
1. Introduction
Jordan is located in an arid to semi arid lands, and it is
considered among the scarcest water resources countries
in the world. About 81% of its area receives rainfall in
average less than 100 mm/year [1]. Most of the received
precipitation is being lost due to the high evaporation
rates [2]. Jordan is characterized by severe weather con-
ditions, therefore great temporal and spatial variations in
rainfall; runoff and evaporation amounts are expected [3].
The annual population growth rate in Jordan is estimated
to be around 2.65%. Based on this percentage, it is esti-
mated that the total population in Jordan will be around
12 millions by 2020 [4]. This will add more pressures on
the existing water resources in the country leading to a
massive decrease in per capita to 85 m3·capita–1·year–1 by
2025 [4]. One alternative to water sustainability crisis
occurring in arid land is groundwater artificial recharge.
It refers to the entry of water from the unsaturated zone
into the saturated zone below the water table together
with the associated flow away from the water table with-
in the saturated zone [5]. The major source of water for
recharging groundwater aquifers in arid and semi-arid
zones is wadi runoff [6].
Wadi Al-Butum sub catchments area located in the
Jordanian desert and surrounded the historical archeo-
logical site—Qasar Amra. The principle groundwater
aquifer beneath Wadi Al-Butum is the Rijam formation
B4 which outcrops at the surface along wadi beds in
some places. Although the B4 aquifer derives the major-
ity of its recharge from the north and northeast (basalt
area), significant recharge does come from the area im-
mediately surrounded the wadi [7].
According to previous studies conducted by [1], it was
concluded that the runoff along Wadi Al-Butum is gener-
ated when a precipitation event exceeds in its amount 15
mm. In the period 1969 to 2006 only three years 1998/
1999, 1999/2000 and 2001/2002 show that all the rainfall
events taking place in these years were less than 20 mm.
But the total runoffs in these years were 33,400, 71,600
and 104,900 m3 respectively. The total annual runoffs in
the period 1969 to 2010 ranged from 33,000 m3 as a
minimum to 65.6 million m3 as a maximum [1]. The in-
filtration rate in Wadi Al-Butum area was estimated to be
0.197 m/day [7].
Recently, several studies have been used integrated
techniques in order evaluate the groundwater occurrences
and locate artificial recharge zones and finding suitable
sites for artificially groundwater recharge (e.g. [8,9]).
In this present study, hydro-geophysical investigations
including vertical resistivity sounding surveys and hydro-
geochemical modeling were carried out with the aim of
studying the potential for artificial groundwater recharge
in Wadi Al-Butum catchments area.
2. Description of the Study Area
The study area is located in the northern part of Jordan. It
is situated within the coordinates longitudes 36˚20 and
36˚35 East, and Latitude 31˚40 and 32˚00 North (Fig-
opyright © 2012 SciRes. JWARP
ure 1). The elevation of Wadi Al-Butum watershed area
is ranging from 500 m above mean sea level (a.m.s.l) at
the wadi bed near outlet point to 700 m a.m.s.l at the
hilltops. The slopes may range up to 2%, and the general
topography becomes flat at the most eastern part of the
study area. Climatologically, the study area is classified
as semi-arid area; two well-defined seasons are dominat-
ing, hot, dry summer season and low wet, cold winter
season [10]. The average annual minimum and maximum
daily temperatures are 11.6˚C and 26.6˚C respectively.
Humidity varies from 49.9% to 61.0% in summer and
from 56.0% to 82.0% in winter [10]. The average daily
evaporation observed is 10.4 mm/day and it varies from
5.0 to 19.0 mm/d in summer and from 3.0 to 12.0 mm/d
in winter [11]. The average annual rainfall ranges from
50 mm/y in the most eastern part of the study area to 130
mm/y in the northwestern part [1].
3. Geology of the Study Area
The study area was mapped several times during the last
few decades as part of regional mapping program [12-14].
The study area incorporates exposures of sedimentary
rocks, ranging in age from Cretaceous to Quaternary.
The Quaternary deposits cover in the east the underlying
Tertiary deposits. The latter are intermittently exposed at
the surface in the west and southwest [15]. The sediment-
tary sequence includes limestone, chert, marl, chalk, sand-
stone, clay and evaporites. These rocks are frequently
covered with a variably thick sequence of superficial de-
posits including alluvium, mud-silt in flats, chert pave-
ment, Pleistocene gravels, and sand and evaporites in-
crustations [12]. In the subsurface a thick sedimentary
section changing in thickness as well as varying in the
Figure 1. Location map of Wadi Al-Butum sub-catchments
area (closed blue polygon—east of Amman).
litho-stratigraphic and formational units underlie the
study area. These sediments range in age from early Pa-
leozoic to Pleistocene and are primarily composed of
carbonates, sandstones and shale. The major thickness re-
duction in the sequence is towards west and southwest
[15]. The Cretaceous to Tertiary deposits in the area
comprise a thick sedimentary section measuring more
than 350 m mostly of marine sediments. In Jordan the
Lower Cretaceous boundary with older units is well iden-
tified by a recognizable sandstone unit of the Nubian
type known as the “Kurnub Sandstone”. This is identified
in the area in several wells, as the sandstone formation
underlying the carbonate facies of Cenomanian age. This
sandstone unit varies in thickness, depth, and marks the
transition zone of the major unconformity between the
Jurassic and the early Cretaceous. Table 1 lists the litho-
stratigraphic successions in the study area with a brief
description for each formation.
4. Discussion and Results
4.1. Geoelectrical Data Acquisition and
Ten Vertical Electrical Resistivity Soundings (VES) were
conducted along the course of Wadi Al-Butum (Figure 2),
using an ABEM CAMPUS GEOPULSEt m0 xa h2 yd0 ff3 fs0 fc0 sc0 ls0">[15] J. H. Powell, “Stratigraphy and Sedimentation of the
Phanerozoic Rocks in Central and South Jordan: Part B-
Kurnub, Ajlun and Belqa Groups,” Natural Resources
Authority (NRA), Amman, Geological mapping Division,
Bulletin 11B, 1989, 130 p.
[16] R. Kirsch and K. Ernstson, “Geoelectrical Methods,” In:
R. Kirsch, Ed., Groundwater Geophysics, a Tool for
Hydrogeology, Germany, 2006, pp. 85-116.
[17] E. Orenella and H. M. Mooney, “Master Tables and
Curves for Vertical Electrical Sounding over Layered
Structures,” Interciencia, Madrid, 34 p.
[18] B. P. A. Vander Velpen and R. J. Sporry, “RESIST. A
Computer Program to Process Resistivity Sounding Data
on PC Compatibles,” Computer and Geosciences, Vol. 19,
No. 5, 1993, pp. 691-703.
[19] A. Zohdy and R. J. Bisdorf, “Programs for the Automatic
Processing and Interpretation of Schlumberger Sounding
Curves in Quick Basic. U.S.G.S,” Open File Report, 89-
137-2, 1989, 64 p.
[20] A. L. Bloom, “Geomorphology a Systematic Analysis of
Late Cenozoic Land Forms,” Prentice Hall, Englewood
Cliffs, 1978.
[21] L. Calmbach, “HYDROWIN Software Version 3,” Insti-
tute de Mineralogy, Lausanne, 1995.
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