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Surface runoff from rainfall is an important source of fresh water and when properly utilized, is considered to be of major importance to the Gaza coastal aquifer. The artificial infiltration systems are the most important and renowned groundwater recharging and replenishing methods practiced in the Gaza Strip a few years ago. The main objective of this study is to investigate the critical factors affecting the infiltration rate in three large infiltration basins (Waqf, Asadaqa, and Alamal) existing in the Gaza Strip and apply different infiltration techniques. The study of the three basins was conducted in the two rainy seasons; 2017-2018 and 2021-2022, during which water depth readings were collected and compared.
The effect of both water depth and suspended particles on the infiltration rate was studied and compared between the two rainy seasons for the three infiltration basins. The results revealed that an increase in water depth of stormwater in the infiltration basin leads to an increase in infiltration rate in a power function relationship over time. This relation was linearly proportional at the earlier stages of infiltration, but after a while, the infiltration rate became less than linear or stopped increasing as water depth increased. The effect of clogging was also investigated as part of this study and the results showed that the progressive accumulation of sediment and suspended particles entering the basin with the inflowing stormwater significantly reduced the infiltration rate in the three basins over time. The sediment composition at Waqf basin was analyzed at the mid and end of the 2021-2022 rainy season, which resulted in the amount of silt and clay (dominant clogging material) increasing from zone 1 to zone 4. At zone 4, silt and clay accounted for 27%. and 22.5% (at mid-season), 30.8%, and 23.3% (at end-season) of the sediment, respectively.
The results also showed that the sediment thickness at Waqf Basin increased from zone 1 to zone 4 owing to that the 18 drill boreholes (drywells) functioned as water drainage points seeping the collected stormwater into the underlying soil layers.
As a recommendation for future developmental works at Waqf basin, a new series of drilled boreholes should be added in zone 3 in addition to installing a geotextile mesh membrane as a vertical separation filter wall between different zones to reduce turbidity and suspended solids and protect the infiltration basin from clogging tendency.
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