The Gaza Strip suffers from high pressure imposed on its water resources. There is a deficit of about 50 mm3 every year, which has led to a declination of groundwater level and deterioration of groundwater quality. New water resources are sought to fulfil the water deficit; among them is the artificial recharge of treated wastewater to groundwater. The impact of recharging partially treated wastewater in Gaza was tested through a pilot project implemented east of the existing wastewater treatment plant. The daily application of about 10,000 m3 of effluent to infiltration basins had an effect on the aquifer, which was monitored through the surrounding operating water wells over five years from 2000 until 2005. Although the monitored wells are operated for irrigation by farmers, impacts were clearly noticed. Groundwater levels improved and an increase in some areas of 0.6 m within three years was observed. The nitrate ion concentration also decreased in the groundwater due to nitrification processes. However, chloride ion, which indicates salinity, increased because the effluent has high chloride concentration. Boron levels increased in some areas to 0.5 mg/l, which could affect sensitive crops grown in the area.
Keywords: effluent, groundwater, pollution, recharge, reuse, water quality