The effect of urbanization in an arid region: Formation of a perched water table that causes environmental damages

A. Karnieli, A. Issar, M. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Construction in a new neighborhood in the israeli town of Dimona, situated in an arid region in the south of the country (150 mm average annual rainfall), resulted in a rise in groundwater levels during the subsequent rainy seasons This caused flooding of shelter basements, soil sliding, and sagging which permanently damaged walls and buildings The neighborhood had been built on continental sands and marls blanketed by loess, on a valley slope near a rocky anticlinal dip-slope Subsurface studies, using piezometer holes and groundwater analyses, revealed the presence of sand lenses alternating with plastic marls, which act as seasonal aquifers with perched water tables Groundwaters obtain high SO 4 -2 and Cl- corrosivity through contact with these nonflushed marls of the Neogene valley fill (Hazeva Formation) The reasons for the rising of groundwater were found to be (a) artificial interference with the natural (pre-construction) drainage system-interception of the hillside runoff by building plots, roads, etc, (b) partial denudation of the loess blanket, increasing the local infiltration and the build-up of local, perched water tables, and (c) corrosion of concrete and steel pipelines, as well as foundations, by prolonged contact with corrosive groundwater, resulting in haphazard but massive leakage Guidelines are proposed for an environmental improvement plan, which would include terracing and planting of the watershed above town to increase evapotranspiration, lowering of the water table by pumping, and diverting the water to suburban parks (groves of saltresistant trees), and replacement of steel and cement pipes by a non-corrodable plastic pipe system

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-63
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Geology and Water Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science (all)
  • Engineering (all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (all)


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