Noa Hillel (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev) et al. monitor and analyze water quality and discharge of the Lower Jordan River. The fresh surface water of the Lower Jordan River (LJR) has been limited in the past several decades due to damming of its main tributaries,
which reduced the annual flow by 90 %, leaving a mixed flow of polluted and saline sources. A monitoring and sampling hydrometric station was installed on the southern LJR to track the temporal variations of its discharge and hydrochemistry. In addition to manual water sampling, the station includes an automatic water sampler and cellular transmitting pressure and EC sensors, allowing real time observation. All samples were analyzed for major ions and several samples were analyzed for selected isotopes (34Ssulfate, 18Osulfate, 15Nnitrate, 18Onitrate, 2Hwater, 18Owater) as tracers. A general inverse seasonal trend was found between EC and water level although extreme values relate to flood events during the wet period. A presence of water from the saline drainage carrier was detected using major ion ratios. Isotope analyses reveal lithology and sewage as the respective major contributors of salinity; they were used to identify events unrelated to runoff (i.e., to precipitation in the area). It was concluded that continuous monitoring is required for understanding the long-term hydrochemical situation, especially during extreme events which occur infrequently, but may have a drastic effect on fauna and flora.
The full article is published in Journal of Hydrology:
Hillel, N., Geyer, S., Licha, T., Khayat, S., Laronne, J.B., Siebert, S., 2015, Water quality and discharge of the Lower Jordan River, Journal of Hydrology 527: 1096–1105, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.06.002.