Commenced in January 2007
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Search results for: freshwater lens

2 Freshwater Lens Observation: Case Study of Laura Island, Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands

Authors: Kazuhisa Koda, Tsutomu Kobayashi, Rebecca Lorennji, Alington Robert, Halston DeBrum, Julious Lucky, Paul Paul

Abstract:

Atolls are low-lying small islands with highly permeable ground that does not allow rivers and lakes to develop. As the water resources on these atolls basically rely on precipitation, groundwater becomes a very important water resource during droughts. Freshwater lenses develop as groundwater on relatively large atoll islands and play a key role in the stable water supply. Atoll islands in the Pacific Ocean sometimes suffer from drought due to El Nino. The global warming effects are noticeable, particularly on atoll islands. The Republic of the Marshall Islands in Oceania is burdened with the problems common to atoll islands. About half of its population lives in the capital, Majuro, and securing water resources for these people is a crucial issue. There is a freshwater lens on the largest, Laura Island, which serves as a water source for the downtown area. A serious drought that occurred in 1998 resulted in excessive water intake from the freshwater lens on Laura Island causing up-coning. Up-coning mixes saltwater into groundwater pumped from water-intake wells. Because up-coning makes the freshwater lens unusable, there was a need to investigate the freshwater lens on Laura Island. In this study, we observed the electrical conductivities of the groundwater at different depths in existing monitoring wells to determine the total storage volume of the freshwater lens on Laura Island from 2010 to 2013. Our results indicated that most of the groundwater that seeped into the freshwater lens had flowed out into the sea.

Keywords: Atoll islands, drought, El-Nino, freshwater lens, groundwater observation.

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1 Sustainable Use of Laura Lens during Drought

Authors: Kazuhisa Koda, Tsutomu Kobayashi

Abstract:

Laura Island, which is located about 50 km away from downtown, is a source of water supply in Majuro atoll, which is the capital of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Low and flat Majuro atoll has neither river nor lake. It is very important for Majuro atoll to ensure the conservation of its water resources. However, upconing, which is the process of partial rising of the freshwater-saltwater boundary near the water-supply well, was caused by the excess pumping from it during the severe drought in 1998. Upconing will make the water usage of the freshwater lens difficult. Thus, appropriate water usage is required to prevent up coning in the freshwater lens because there is no other water source during drought. Numerical simulation of water usage applying SEAWAT model was conducted at the central part of Laura Island, including the water supply well, which was affected by upconing. The freshwater lens was created as a result of infiltration of consistent average rainfall. The lens shape was almost the same as the one in 1985. 0 of monthly rainfall and variable daily pump discharge were used to calculate the sustainable pump discharge from the water supply well. Consequently, the total amount of pump discharge was increased as the daily pump discharge was increased, indicating that it needs more time to recover from upconing. Thus, a pump standard to reduce the pump intensity is being proposed, which is based on numerical simulation concerning the occurrence of the up-coning phenomenon in Laura Island during the drought.

Keywords: Freshwater lens, islands, numerical simulation, sustainable water use.

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