A Contribution of GIS Methods to Assess the Aquifer Vulnerability to Contamination: A Case Study of the Calcareous Dorsal (Northern Rif, Morocco)


Karst groundwater constitutes the main resource for drinking water supply in Chefchaouen region, North Morocco. However, the karstic aquifers are highly vulnerable to the pollution because of the deforestation which favors the soil erosion and the landslides. Therefore, the groundwater is loaded with suspended sediment. The fertilizers disseminated for agriculture can also infiltrate and concentrate in the saturated zone of the aquifer. In this study, the geographic information system (GIS) provides an effective tool for groundwater contamination risk assessment, because it facilitates multicriteria analysis and updates the models developed. The EPIK model based on GIS uses four environmental parameters (Epikarst, Protective cover, Infiltration condition and Karst network development) to evaluate the intrinsic vulnerability of groundwater contamination potential. Each of these parameters is presented as a thematic map. After adding all data, the final result provides vulnerability map according to the protection factor relation based on which the protection zones’ map is created.

Share and Cite:

Bardai, R. , Targuisti, K. and Aluni, K. (2015) A Contribution of GIS Methods to Assess the Aquifer Vulnerability to Contamination: A Case Study of the Calcareous Dorsal (Northern Rif, Morocco). Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 7, 485-495. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2015.76039.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Ford, D.C. and Williams, P.W. (1989) Karst Geomorphology and Hydrology. Chapman and Hall, London, 601 p.
[2] Aboufirassi, M., ElHebil, A., El Mandour, A., Amrhar, M., Bahir, M., Errouane, S., Fakir, Y., Laftouhi, N.E. and Quortobi, M. (1991) Hydrologie des milieux fissures: Milieux carbonates et milieux de socle. Eauet Developpement, 11, 62-68.
[3] Struckmeier, M., Rubin, Y. and Jones, J.A. (2005) Groundwater-Reservoir for a Thirsty Planet? Planet Earth, International Union of Geological Sciences y United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Leiden.
[4] Doerfliger, N., Jeannin, P.Y. and Zwahlen, F. (1999) Water Vulnerability Assessment in Karst Environments: A New Method of Defining Protection Areas Using Multi-Attribute Approach and GIS Tool (EPIK Method). Environmental Geology, 39, 165-172.
[5] Doerfliger, N. and Zwahlen, F. (1998) Groundwater Vulnerability Mapping in Karstic Regions (EPIK), Practical Guide. Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), Berne, 56.
[6] Nold, M., Uttinger, J. and Wildi, W. (1981) Geologie de la dorsale calcaire entre Tetouan et Assifane (Rif interne, Maroc). Notes et memoires du Service Geologique du Maroc. Rabat, No. 300.
[7] El Bardai, R., Targuisti, K., Hlila, R. and Aluni, K. (2014) The Fracturing Role in the Conditioning of Karst Groundwater Circulations in the Calcareous Dorsal (Northern Rif, Morocco). International Journal of Innovation and Applied Studies, 6, 825-838.
[8] Zwahlen, F. (2004) Vulnerability and Risk Mapping for the Protection of Carbonate (Karst) Aquifers, COST Action 620, Final Report. European Commission Directorate-General XII, Science, Research and Development, Report EUR 20912, COST Action 620, Luxembourg, Belgium, 297 p.
[9] Doummar, J., Margane, A., Geyer, T. and Sauter, M. (2012) Vulnerability Mapping Using the COP and EPIK Methods. Technical Report n 7b. Protection of the Jeita Spring, 42 p.
[10] Doerfliger, N. and Zwahlen, F. (1997) EPIK: A New Method for Outlining of Protection Areas in Karstic Environment. IntSymp on Karst Water and Environmental Impacts, Antalya, Turkey. Balkema, Rotterdam, 117-123.
[11] SAEFL (2000) Groundwater Vulnerability Mapping in Karstic Regions (EPIK). Practical Guide. Environment in Practice. SAEFL, Berne, 56-57.
[12] Williams, P.W. (2008) The Role of the Epikarst in Karst and Cave Hydrogeology: A Review. International Journal of Speleology, 37, 1-10.
[13] Mangin, A. (1975) Contribution a l’etude hydrodynamique des aquifères karstiques. Annales de Speleologie, 26, 283-339.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.