SPC Geoscience Division


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

E-mail Print PDF

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
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


The Programme is co-funded
by the European Union


EuropeAID Cooperation office

Delegation of EU for the Pacific:

ACP Group of States:

The University of South Pacific:

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 January 2015 10:25  


25 June 2015, Honiara, Solomon Islands

Newsroom journalists received training in climate change and disaster reporting at the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) in Honiara this week.  Coordinated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in partnership with the Secretariat of Pacific Community (SPC), FFA, and the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, the journalists received valuable training in understanding climate change, disaster risk management, and how these affect one of Solomon Islands’ biggest industries, tuna fishing.

More than ten journalists from local media attended the training, and as part of the workshop, presentations from the Climate Change Division, FFA, SPREP and SPC covered understanding climate change, eco-based adaptation to climate change, the effect of climate change on fisheries, climate change and gender, disaster risk management, and understanding national warning systems from the National Disaster Management Office.