Assessing the fresh-saline groundwater distribution in the Nile delta aquifer using a 3D variable-density groundwater flow model

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The Nile Delta Aquifer (NDA) is threatened by salt water intrusion (SWI). This article demonstrates an approach for identifying critical salinity concentration zones using a three-dimensional (3D) variable-density groundwater flow model in the NDA. An innovative procedure is presented for the delineation of salinity concentration in 2010 by testing different simulation periods. The results confirm the presence of saline groundwater caused by SWI in the north of the NDA. In addition, certain regions in the east and southwest of the NDA show increased salinity concentration levels, possibly due to excessive groundwater extraction and dissolution of marine fractured limestone and shale that form the bedrock underlying the aquifer. The research shows that the NDA is still not in a state of dynamic equilibrium. The modeling instrument can be used for simulating future scenarios of SWI to provide a sustainable adaptation plan for groundwater resource.