2016 NGWA Groundwater Summit

Update on Groundwater Modeling for the Protection of Egyptian Antiquities

Tuesday, April 26, 2016: 11:20 a.m.
Confluence Ballroom B (The Westin Denver Downtown)
Buvana Ramaswamy, P.G. , CDM Smith, Boston, MA
Thomas Nichols, P.E. , CDM Smith, Cairo, Egypt
Robert H. Fitzgerald, P.E. , CDM Smith, Boston, MA
Henning Moe , CDM Smith, Galway, Ireland

The construction of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River in upper Egypt nearly five decades ago enabled a change from the historic flooding-draining annual cycle to perennial irrigation. Before the High Dam was built, the Nile floods not only brought nutrient-rich silts to the fields, they also washed away accumulated salts from the floodplain. After construction of the High Dam, farmers needed to apply more water to wash salts below the root zone to maintain production levels. This has caused a rise in the water table resulting in waterlogged soils in some locations.

In addition to the adverse impact on irrigated agriculture, waterlogging and salinization are also causing extensive damage to Pharaonic temples built in the Nile River valley. The antiquities are threatened by the increase in salinity of the groundwater contacting the foundation. To protect these antiquities from further deterioration, the Government of Egypt, through its implementing agency, the National Organization for Potable Water and Sanitary Drainage; the owner of the antiquities, the Ministry of Antiquities; and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have undertaken projects to lower the groundwater levels at antiquity sites.

At the 2013 NGWA Summit conference in San Antonio, Texas, CDM Smith presented the hydrogeological analysis and 3-dimentional DYNFLOW groundwater modeling that was conducted to support the design of a dewatering system in Edfu, Egypt. Dewatering systems have now been constructed in Luxor and Edfu based on the groundwater modeling for the sites.  These completed projects were recently recognized with a 2015 NGWA Outstanding Project Award. Currently, models are being developed for additional sites in Alexandria and Kom Ombo. This abstract proposes to provide a project update based on the new modeling and operations data from the constructed dewatering systems.

Buvana Ramaswamy, P.G., CDM Smith, Boston, MA
Ms. Ramaswamy has worked for CDM Smith for nearly 20 years with experience in environmental science and water resources work, including groundwater modeling; fate and transport modeling and analysis; groundwater field investigations, wastewater management and reuse studies; environmental monitoring at landfills and hazardous waste sites; statistical analysis of groundwater data; GIS and database development. She has been been working with the team in Cairo for the past 8 years and is currently working on the 4th dewatering study in Egypt.

Thomas Nichols, P.E., CDM Smith, Cairo, Egypt
Mr. Nichols has 32 years experience in the field of geotechnical engineering. He has managed geotechnical and materials testing offices both in the U.S. and overseas. Mr. Nichols has professional experience in geotechnical, hydrogeological, geoenvironmental, and dam engineering services. His extensive experience includes: geotechnical investigations and design recommendations for roadways and pavements, pipelines, landfills, waterfront structures, foundations for water and wastewater treatment plants, commercial buildings, reservoirs and dams, soft ground improvements, and sinkhole investigations.

Robert H. Fitzgerald, P.E., CDM Smith, Boston, MA
Robert Fitzgerald is a Senior Groundwater Modeler who has been responsible for numerous studies of groundwater flow and dissolved and separate phase contaminant transport in aquifers. He also has extensive experience in hydrology, hydraulics, and water resources management, emphasizing the application of computer simulation models. Fitzgerald has been responsible for the use of models in analyzing and developing programs for groundwater management and remediation, flood alleviation, reservoir yield augmentation, and water quality assessment.

Henning Moe, CDM Smith, Galway, Ireland
With 20 years of experience as a hydrogeologist, Mr. Moe's experience spans a wide range of practical applications, from village-scale groundwater development in East Africa to regional-scale water resources exploration and management in the Middle East. His primary areas of expertise are water resources planning and management, as well as the application of numerical flow and transport modeling. He has also been deeply involved in Ireland’s implementation of the EU WFD, including efforts on the national groundwater monitoring network that is being established across Ireland.