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A physicochemical characterization of the waters of the El-Kabir River and major tributaries in Syria and Lebanon

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Thirty-nine sampling sites were selected in the El-Kabir River watershed, including 18 in Syria and 21 in Lebanon. Three major tributaries, the Nahr al-Arous and the Nahr Nasrive in Syria, and the Chadra River in Lebanon, were included in the site selection, together with Wadi el-Aatchane and Wadi Khaled. Instrumental measurements for temperature, specific conductivity (Sp. Cond.), dissolved oxygen (DO) and pH were taken directly in the water at each site visit. Measurements were taken in both countries in May 2001, January, April and August 2002, and there was an additional sampling in Lebanon during September 2001. The interpretation of the data led to some specific conclusions on the conditions in the watershed. The waters of the El-Kabir River are derived almost exclusively from ground water, with many significant springs functioning throughout the year. The water that flows rapidly through the system is well-mixed and consistent in its major characteristics. The DO concentration > 5 mg L−1, averaging 8.53 mg L−1 (three DO values < 5 mg L−1 were observed, all at the same spring). Some variability in water character was observed for Sp. Cond.; these differences could be related to the spring-source waters originating in limestone or basaltic terrain. Furthermore, an increase in Sp. Cond. in the lower reaches of the river might be related to salinization, resulting from surface water and near-surface ground water withdrawals for anthropogenic use, particularly irrigation.
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Keywords: El-Kabir River; Lebanon; Syria; dissolved oxygen; pH; specific conductivity; water

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: CadhamHayes Systems, Ottawa, Canada, 2: General Organization for Remote Sensing, Damascus, Syria, and 3: National Centre for Remote Sensing, Beirut, Lebanon

Publication date: 01 June 2005

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