Development of a Multi-Aspects Groundwater Vulnerability Index in the Transboundary Aquifer between Syria, Iraq, and Turkey in light of the water conflict and climate change

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Water Engineering Department, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Imam Khomeini International University, Qazvin, Iran and Environmental Engineering Technologies Department, Faculty of Technical Engineering, Aleppo University, Aleppo, Syria.

2 Water Engineering Department, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Imam Khomeini International University, Qazvin, Iran

3 Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering Department, Lulea University of Technology, Lulea, Sweden.

4 Water Engineering Department, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Imam Khomeini International University, Qazvin, Iran.


Groundwater vulnerability assessment is an effective tool in the joint management of transboundary groundwater, especially in developing countries where data is scarce, monitoring networks are insufficient, and water is both a cause and a target of conflicts. The Jezira Tertiary Limestone Aquifer Transboundary System (JTLATS) region, which Syria, Iraq, and Turkey share, gives a clear description of the shared water problem in developing countries with arid and semiarid environments. In this study, a comprehensive multidisciplinary Groundwater Vulnerability Index (GVI) was developed as a distributed composite index to assess the groundwater vulnerability in JTLATS by combining different environmental and political socioeconomic datasets and models for three periods between 2003 and 2017. The JTLATS was categorized into five zones: very low, low, moderate, high, and very high vulnerability. The results showed a low vulnerability in the southern regions of the aquifer. In comparison, the areas with high vulnerability are primarily spread in the northern and western parts of the JTLATS and along the Euphrates river. The results showed an increase in the percentage of areas with high vulnerability from 10.45% in (2003-2007) to 13.42% and 20.57% of the aquifer area in (2007-2011) and (2011-2017), respectively. The groundwater vulnerability in the aquifer increased with the spread of political instability in both Syria and Iraq and the increase in cultivated areas in Turkey


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Volume 45, Issue 2
June 2022
Pages 1-18
  • Receive Date: 19 May 2022
  • Revise Date: 11 June 2022
  • Accept Date: 13 June 2022
  • Publish Date: 22 June 2022