Use of 222Rn and δ18O-δ2H Isotopes in detecting the origin of water and in quantifying groundwater inflow rates in an alarmingly growing lake, Ethiopia

Authors: Seifu Kebede and Samson Zewdu

Lake Beseka, located within Ethiopia's Awash Basin, has expanded from 2 km2 to 50 km2 over the last 60 years, causing serious engineering and socio-economic challenge (inundation of urban utilities, irrigation farms, railways and roads; ecological changes in the lake; and threatening water salinization for water users downstream). This study used Dual Radon (222Rn) and δ18O-δ2H isotopes to (a) detect the origin of water, (b) pinpoint groundwater inflow zones and (c) determine rates of groundwater inflows in an expanding lake in central Ethiopia. 

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Kelly Ann Naylor, Associate Director, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Section, Programme Division, UNICEF

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