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.

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 19, 2014 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 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) An Arkansas man has found a nearly 6.2-carat diamond, which he dubbed "The Limitless Diamond," at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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