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Impact on a freshwater lens in atoll environments under different climate and abstraction scenario

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Project Description

Groundwater on atolls is often described as a ‘lens’ of freshwater ‘floating’ on more dense brackish water. This very thin and fragile freshwater resource relies on being regularly recharged by rainfall. Concerns over the salinisation of these fragile water sources due to rises in sea level and changes in climate variability and extremes are increasingly raised by atoll communities and governments.

Whilst rises in sea level pose a longer term threat to freshwater lenses, the more immediate threats are from over abstraction and inappropriate land use activities, including poor sanitation practices, intensive cropping or animal husbandry in unsuitable locations. It is expected that population pressure and climate impacts will place the limited groundwater resources of atoll countries under an ever increasing threat.

Assessing and quantifying what will be the likely impacts under different climate and abstraction pumping scenarios is not well known. The successful development of behavioural and technological adaptation options will rely on an improved understanding of the unique freshwater lenses and quantifying the impacts on these lenses under a range of projected scenarios.

Improving the general understanding of the impacts on these resources, coupled with developing the concept of a sustainable yield for freshwater lenses for improved water resource management under the predicted climate and abstraction pressures, will improve the resilience of communities that rely upon these important water sources. The project will help address specific problems associated with the following:

  • Poor understanding of atoll hydrology;
  • Applying the concept of a sustainable yield for groundwater resources in atoll environments;
  • Quantifying the impacts associated with projected climate and abstraction scenarios;
  • Access to relevant information on practical, technical and management techniques, and to options to improve the sustainability of freshwater resources.

For more information, contact:
Peter Sinclair
Water Resources Assessment Coordinator
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Partners

The Programme is co-funded
by the European Union

Links

EuropeAID Cooperation office
http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/index_en.htm

Delegation of EU for the Pacific:
http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/fiji/

ACP Group of States:
http://www.acp.int/

The University of South Pacific:
http://www.usp.ac.fj/

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 January 2015 10:25  

Newsflash

Mountainous Pacific countries are particularly susceptible to flood impacts.  Aside from the obvious humanitarian impact of flooding, flooding also has an economic dimension. Recent assessments of flooding in Fiji and Samoa put annual costs from floods about USD 10 million and USD 220,000, respectively. Despite the immense social and economic costs PICs have commonly been reactive rather than proactive and tactical rather than strategic in dealing with the issue.  The Nadi Integrated Flood Management (IFM) project aims to implement a mix of appropriate strategies and options which have been carefully evaluated based on technical feasibility, cost-effectiveness and socio-cultural viability/acceptability to reduce flood losses.

On 28 January 2011, SPC Director General Dr Jimmie Rodgers signed a grant agreement with the World Bank for Integrated Flood Management in the Pacific: Nadi Pilot. The project aims to develop integrated flood management for the Pacific using the Nadi catchment as a case study.