Optimized pumping strategy for reducing the spatial extent of saltwater intrusion along the coast of Wadi Ham, UAE

Modou A. Sowe, Sadhasivam Sathish, Nicolas Greggio, Mohamed M. Mohamed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Many coastal aquifers are facing severe anthropogenic impacts such as urbanization, industrialization and agricultural activities are resulting in a saltwater intrusion. This establishes the need for a sustainable groundwater management strategy aimed to overcome the situation. Pumping of brackish/saline water to mitigate saltwater intrusion is a major potential approach to effectively control saltwater intrusion. However, this method has many challenges including selection of appropriate discharge rates under an optimum number of pumping wells and at specified wells distance from the shoreline. Hence, this study developed a Finite Element Flow and solute transport model (FEFLOW) to simulate three scenarios to assess the most appropriate pumping rates, number of wells and optimum well locations from the shoreline. These parameters were assessed and evaluated with respect to the change in groundwater saline concentration at different distance from the coastline. The 15,000 mg L-1 isosalinity contour line was used as a linear threshold to assess the progression of saltwater intrusion along three major locations in the aquifer. Scenario One was simulated with a constant number of wells and rate of pumping. Shifting of pumping wells to several distances from the shoreline was conducted. Scenario Two assessed the most appropriate number of pumping wells under constant pumping rates and distances from the shoreline and in scenario 3, the optimum pumping rates under a constant number of wells and distance from the shoreline were simulated. The results showed that the pumping of brackish/saline water from a distance of 1500 m from the shoreline using 16 pumping wells at a total pumping rate of 8000 m3 d-1 is the most effective solution in contrasting the saltwater intrusion in the Wadi Ham coastal aquifer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1503
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2020


  • Coastal aquifer
  • Numerical model
  • Optimum pumping rates
  • Saltwater intrusion
  • UAE
  • Wadi ham

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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