Study of environmental isotope distribution in the Aswan High Dam Lake (Egypt) for estimation of evaporation of lake water and its recharge to adjacent groundwater
Aly, A.I.; Froehlich, K.; Nada, A.; Awad, M.; Hamza, M.; Salem, W.M.
Environmental Geochemistry and Health 15(1): 37-49
ISSN/ISBN: 0269-4042 PMID: 24198080 DOI: 10.1007/bf00146291
Oxygen-18 ((18)0) and deuterium isotopes were used to estimate the evaporation from the Aswan High Dam Lake and to investigate the inter-relation between the lake water and adjacent groundwater.According to stable isotopic analysis of samples taken in 1988 and 1989, the lake can be divided into two sections. In the first section extending between Abu Simbel and a point between EI-Alaki and Krosko, a remarkable vertical gradient of (18)0 and deuterium isotopic composition was observed. The second northern sector extending to the High Dam is characterised by a lower vertical isotopic gradient. In this sector in general, higher values of (18)O and deuterium contents were found at the top and lower values at the bottom. Also a strong horizontal increase of the heavy isotope content was observed. Thus, in the northern section evaporation is of dominating influence on the isotopic composition of the lake water.With the help of an evaporation pan experiment it was possible to calibrate the evaporative isotope enrichment in the lake and to facilitate a preliminary estimate of evaporative losses of lake water. The evaporation from the lake was estimated to be about 19% of the input water flow rate.The groundwater around the lake was investigated and samples from production wells and piezometers were subjected to isotopic analysis. The results indicate that recent recharge to the groundwater aquifer is limited to wells near to the lake and up to a maximum distance of about 10 km. The contribution of recent Nile water to the groundwater in these wells was estimated to range between 23 and 70%. Beyond this distance, palaeowater was observed with highly depleted deuterium and (18)0 contents, which was also confirmed by 14c dating. The age of palaeo groundwater in this area can reach values of more than 26,000 years.Recommendations are given for efficient water management of the lake water.