Environmental Analysis and Modeling of the Natuf Aquifer, Western Ramallah, Palestine

Bir-Zeit University and UC Berkeley, Al-Falah Sponsorship

Groundwater is a key source of fresh water for communities around the world. However, the data necessary to protect these resources is often difficult to access, located in various reports and on different computers, and not available in a convenient, centralized location. As a result of inadequate management, groundwater is threatened by pollution from uncontrolled waste disposal and discharge. In resource-constrained communities, where many households rely on private wells and pollution sources are difficult to control, protection of the groundwater supply is especially critical. Yet, as many parts of the world experience rapid urbanization, groundwater resources are becoming more heavily exploited and increasingly exposed to more widespread and diverse sources of contamination, constituting a significant threat to public health.

A spatial interpolation showing nitrate levels, and a chart of fecal coliform.

This project uses the myObservatory platform for analysis and modelling of the Natuf Aquifer, using mapping and GIS-centric features to produce visual illustrations of contaminants. Built-in charting and interpolation allow rapid visualization of collected data, as shown in Figure 1.

The process of data collection in the field via mobile web site to viewing it on a map.

Data is collected using mobile-optimized web sites and a native iOS application, feeding directly into myObservatory where data can be viewed on a map and analyzed in further detail, as shown in Figure 2. This enables data collection in the field, including while away from internet connectivity.

The range query tool being used to locate high NO3 concentrations.

Map-based analysis tools make it easy to locate problem areas or areas needing remediation, for example using the range-based query tool shown in Figure 3.

A quality assurance report showing a negative number that was flagged as being invalid.

On-the-fly data collection in the field can often mean quality assurance is overlooked, including easy-to-make mistakes like missing a decimal point when reading instruments. Built-in quality assurance tools ensure that all data in the system is accurate and meaningful using custom data validation tests, as shown in Figure 4.

Quickly querying collected data from the map interactively.

Generating Voronoi diagrams using interpolation.

Displaying reference data from uploaded data sources.

For more information, see the most recent Project Update submitted to the Al-Falah Foundation.