Simulation of seawater intrusion in the Nile Delta aquifer under the conditions of climate change

Hany Abd-Elhamid, Akbar Javadi, Ismail Abdelaty, Mohsen Sherif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


The problem of seawater intrusion is encountered in almost all coastal aquifers. Because of its higher density, the seawater migrates inland into freshwater aquifers even without any pumping activities. Excessive pumping of groundwater would accelerate seawater intrusion. Climate change and sea level rise represent critical parameters affecting the rate and degree of seawater intrusion. In this paper, a coupled transient finite element model for simulation of fluid flow and solute transport in saturated and unsaturated soils (2D-FEST) is employed to study the seawater intrusion in the Nile Delta aquifer. The results of the current model are compared to results of SEAWAT for model verification. The (2D-FEST) model is used to investigate seawater intrusion considering the impacts of climate change. Three scenarios are studied: (a) rise in sea level, (b) decline of the piezometric head at the land side due to excessive pumping, and (c) combination of sea level rise and decline of the piezometric head. The results show that the rise in the sea level has a significant effect on the position of the transition zone. The third scenario represents the worst case under which the groundwater quality would deteriorate in large areas of the Nile Delta aquifer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1198-1210
Number of pages13
JournalHydrology Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Climate change
  • Nile Delta aquifer
  • Pumping
  • Sea level rise
  • Seawater intrusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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