Geophysical and Remote Sensing Assessment of Chad’s Groundwater Resources

Ahmed Mohamed, Ahmed Abdelrady*, Saad S. Alarifi, Abdullah Othman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


Because of climate change and human activity, North and Central Africa are experiencing a significant water shortage. Recent advancements in earth observation technologies have made widespread groundwater monitoring possible. To examine spatial and temporal mass fluctuations caused by groundwater variations in Chad, gravity solutions from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), climatic model outputs, and precipitation data are integrated. The results are as follows: (1) The investigated region experienced average annual precipitation (AAP) rates of 351.6, 336.22, and 377.8 mm yr−1, throughout the overall investigation period (04/2002–12/2021), Period I (04/2002–12/2011), and Period II (01/2012–12/2021), respectively. (2) Using the three gravity solutions, the average Terrestrial Water Storage Variations (ΔTWS) values are estimated to be +0.26 ± 0.04, +0.006 ± 0.10, and +0.64 ± 0.12 cm yr−1, for the overall study period, periods I, and II, respectively. (3) Throughout the full period, periods I, and II, the groundwater storage fluctuations (ΔGWS) are calculated to be +0.25 ± 0.04, +0.0001 ± 0.099, and +0.62 ± 0.12 cm yr−1, respectively after removing the soil moisture (ΔSMS) and Lake Chad water level trend values. (4) The country receives an average natural recharge rate of +0.32 ± 0.04, +0.068 ± 0.099, and +0.69 ± 0.12 cm yr−1, throughout the whole period, Periods I, and II, respectively. (5) The southern mountainous regions of Erdi, Ennedi, Tibesti, and Darfur are receiving higher rainfall rates that may recharge the northern part of Chad through the stream networks; in addition to the Lake Chad and the higher rainfall over southern Chad might help recharge the central and southern parts of the country. (6) A preferred groundwater flow path from the Kufra (Chad and Libya) to the Dakhla basin (Egypt) appears to be the Pelusium mega shear system, which trends north-east. The findings suggest that GRACE is useful for monitoring changes in groundwater storage and recharge rates across large areas. Our observation-based methodology provides a unique understanding of monthly ground-water patterns at the state level, which is essential for successful interstate resource allocation, future development, and policy initiatives, as well as having broad scientific implications for arid and semiarid countries.
Original languageEnglish
Article number560
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • geophysics
  • time-variable gravity data
  • terrestrial water storage
  • groundwater resources
  • recharge
  • Chad


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