Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hold the salt: Coastal drinking water more vulnerable to water use than climate change

Date:
February 21, 2012
Source:
University of Saskatchewan
Summary:
Human activity is likely a greater threat to coastal groundwater used for drinking water supplies than rising sea levels from climate change, according to a new study.

Human activity is likely a greater threat to coastal groundwater used for drinking water supplies than rising sea levels from climate change, according to a study conducted by geoscientists from the University of Saskatchewan and McGill University in Montreal.

Related Articles


Grant Ferguson from the U of S Department of Civil and Geological Engineering worked with Tom Gleeson from McGill's Department of Civil Engineering to examine data from more than 1,400 coastal watersheds. What they found was that with the exception of very flat coastal areas that can be inundated with sea water -- rare in North America -- most coastal aquifers are relatively unaffected by rising sea level.

What does appear to affect these aquifers is humans pumping water from wells for drinking, domestic use and irrigation.

"The bulk of the research in recent years has focused on climate change effects on coastal groundwater but increases in water demand could be more important," Ferguson says. "This is particularly true in growing coastal cities and towns where groundwater is often an important water supply."

Aquifers are geological formations such as sand or gravel that are saturated with water, much like a sponge. Wells draw fresh water from these aquifers, which are then recharged through surface water such as rain and melting snow.

Coastal aquifers, however, are bordered on one side by seawater that can start to migrate into the formation -- and into wells -- if too much fresh water is drawn out. Similarly, rising sea levels can cause seawater to enter into the formation. To date, only problems related to pumping have been documented in Canada.

"Coastal aquifers are very vulnerable to increased water demand so we have real policy opportunities," Gleeson says. "We can reduce consumption of groundwater in coastal areas or manage groundwater use wisely."

It is estimated that one billion people world-wide live in coastal areas, and many are dependent on ground water. In Canada, about 25 per cent of people rely on groundwater, with some areas almost totally dependent on the resource.

This research was made possible in part through support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR). Gleeson is a CIFAR Junior Fellow.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Saskatchewan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Grant Ferguson, Tom Gleeson. Vulnerability of coastal aquifers to groundwater use and climate change. Nature Climate Change, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1413

Cite This Page:

University of Saskatchewan. "Hold the salt: Coastal drinking water more vulnerable to water use than climate change." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120221103914.htm>.
University of Saskatchewan. (2012, February 21). Hold the salt: Coastal drinking water more vulnerable to water use than climate change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120221103914.htm
University of Saskatchewan. "Hold the salt: Coastal drinking water more vulnerable to water use than climate change." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120221103914.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Maine Storm Surge Sparks Power Explosions

Raw: Maine Storm Surge Sparks Power Explosions

AP (Apr. 21, 2015) — Police dash cam video shows a series of explosions along the beach in Maine as heavy storm surge soaked electrical transformers. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Searching For The Loch Ness Monster? Try Google Street View

Searching For The Loch Ness Monster? Try Google Street View

Newsy (Apr. 21, 2015) — For the anniversary of the notorious "Surgeon&apos;s Photo" of the Loch Ness monster, Google used Street View to let those online join the search. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Going Ape: Sierra Leone Chimpanzees Hail Ebola Retreat

Going Ape: Sierra Leone Chimpanzees Hail Ebola Retreat

AFP (Apr. 21, 2015) — As money runs out at Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone, around 85 chimps are facing homelessness. The centre closed when the Ebola epidemic was ravaging the country but now that closure is beginning to look permanent. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Wild Weather Lashes Sydney Region

Wild Weather Lashes Sydney Region

AFP (Apr. 21, 2015) — Sydney and surrounding areas are lashed by wild weather with trees felled, power cuts hitting thousands of homes and sand drifts sweeping inland off the iconic Bondi beach. Duration: 00:50 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins