One-Guam Water Resources Information Program

OGWRIP MOA signing (October 21, 2022): at the table, left to right, GWA GM Miguel Bordallo, US Navy CO Captain Troy Brown, UOG President Thomas Krise, USGS PIWSC Director John Hoffman; and on the podium, WERI Interim Director Ross Miller.

One-Guam Water Resources Information Program (OGWRIP) is an understanding and agreement of shared responsibilities between the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Government of Guam on the management of the island’s most valuable utility water source. DOD has been expanding its operations and facilities with the Marine Corps realignment, which raised concerns about utility water demand and the Island’s Sole Source Aquifer (FR-43), the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer (NGLA). The NGLA contains groundwater, a freshwater lens that supplies 90% of the Island’s utility water.

In 2020, Guam Waterworks Authority’s (GWA) General Manager Miguel Bordallo and NAVFAC Marianas (NAVFACMAR) Navy Commanding Officer Captain Daniel Turner signed a One-Guam Water memorandum of understanding (MOU) that establishes, “a stronger partnership and collaborative commitment to the improvement of its utility system” (PNC 2020). The MOU lays out an organizational structure, which includes scientifically informed advisement from the Island’s technical experts on water resources, including the Water and Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific (WERI), University of Guam (UOG). In 2022, GWA, NAVFACMAR, UOG, and USGS signed memorandums of agreement (MOA-GWA, MOA-DOD), bolstering One-Guam Water with OGWRIP, which funds water science research operations to be conducted and managed by WERI and USGS’ (Hawaii) Pacific Islands Water Science Center (PIWSC).

WERI and PIWSC have been historic partners in collecting, organizing, and publishing Guam’s observation well data that is partially funded through the Comprehensive Water Monitoring Program (CWMP, P.L. 24-161). Scientific data analysis and information transfer is done through the Guam Hydrologic Survey Program (GHS, P.L. 24 247). Major products from the collaboration were the NGLA groundwater flow model (Gingerich 2014, Superales et al. 2019), borehole and production-chloride database, the NGLA Map, freshwater lens dynamics (Dougher et al. 2019), and the NGLA Tour. GWA and NAVFACMAR agree on the importance of scientific informed decisions and invests on the island’s leading institutes on water resources.

The Island’s increased demand for utility water supply concerns water source protection and sustainability, which requires expanded observation and research. GWA and NAVFAC are now installing seven new deep observation wells (DOWs) in select locations in the NGLA. The GHS Program also expands to conduct data analysis and scientific research on our water resources.

WERI and interagency partners collaboratively organized an OGWRIP program that satisfies the MOA. A pyramid diagram of five sections assigns the operation and manning roles to conduct and report water science. Key program sectors are data collection and management, conducting scientific analysis and reports, and scientific information transfer management. WERI and USGS, from the data collection will ultimately produce groundwater models in both localized areas and the entire NGLA to simulate scenarios that will test production capacity and contaminant transport. WERI will also be involved in water quality research, groundwater protection zones, surface hydrology, and climate studies. WERI’s Information Management Team manages information transfer, develops online hydrologic products (MAppFx, Web MApps), and databases on the Guam Hydrologic Survey website. Dr. Miklavič is the new Operations Manager of the GHS-CWMP-OGWRIP Programs, and Dr. Habana serves as the GHS program advisor.