Wadi alluvial aquifers located along coastal areas of the Middle East have been assumed to be suitable sources of feed water for seawater reverse osmosis facilities based on high productivity, connectedness to the sea for recharge, and the occurrence of seawater with chemistry similar to that in the adjacent Red Sea. An investigation of the intersection of Wadi Wasimi with the Red Sea in western Saudi Arabia has revealed that the associated predominantly unconfined alluvial aquifer divides into two sand-and-gravel aquifers at the coast, each with high productivity (transmissivity = 42,000 m2/day). This aquifer system becomes confined near the coast and contains hypersaline water. The hydrogeology of Wadi Wasimi shows that two of the assumptions are incorrect in that the aquifer is not well connected to the sea because of confinement by very low hydraulic conductivity terrigenous and marine muds and the aquifer contains hypersaline water as a result of a hydraulic connection to a coastal sabkha. A supplemental study shows that the aquifer system contains a diverse microbial community composed of predominantly of Proteobacteria with accompanying high percentages of Gammaproteobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria and Deltaproteobacteria.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Water Science and Technology