Research Programs | Sponsored Research

ENSO Application Center

Researchers at WERI are involved in a cooperative project with the University of Hawaii and the Pacific Basin Development Council (PBDC) to study the effects of a climatic condition called El Niño on the weather of our part of the Western Pacific.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has provided funding to form an ENSO (El niño Southern Oscillation) applications center to do these studies. Part of the function of the Applications enter is to provide information to island water managers, emergency management specialists and others with information on ENSO and its affects on the weather in our region. The emphasis of the impact on our part of the Pacific is on drought and typhoon numbers and intensities.

Click here to go to Pacific ENSO Applications Center (PEAC)

Climate History Program

Why Cave Studies?
One the most productive sources of long-term pre-historic climate data is speleothems, i.e., calcite mineral deposits precipitated from cave dripwater. With current techniques, stalagmites (which develop distinct and datable layers, like tree rings, as they accumulate on the floors of caves) can reveal datable changes in chemical parameters that can be resolved at intervals ranging from seasons to millennia and spanning decades to hundreds of millennia. Changes in the amount or sources of rainfall, and sometimes even in above-ground temperature, can be inferred from the chemical clues and changes in rate of growth, especially if the relationship is known between the chemistry of modern calcite layers and the dripwater from which they precipitate. Fortunately, WERI researchers working over the past decade (Mylroie et al., 2001; Taboroši, 2004; Taboroši et al., 2004) have identified and mapped a number of accessible caves on Guam that contain promising stalagmite records from which the pre-historical climate record of Guam might thus be reconstructed.

 

What we’ve learned so far?

The caves in the Mariana Islands are products of complex speleogenetic processes that include successive episodes of limestone deposition and dissolution associated with tectonic uplift and subsidence, as well as eustatic sea level changes.

From a stalagmite previously collected on northern Guam, we have already measured stable oxygen isotope ratios and trace elements (Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca) and determined a chronology from 12 high-precision TIMS U/Th dates (Sinclair et al., 2008). The geochemical record spans 28,000 years, providing a time-series of changing hydrology and climate in the equatorial Pacific bracketing the Last Glacial Maximum through the present. Patterns in the geochemical parameters are consistent with those found in several other Pacific speleothems (from Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands), suggesting a large hydrological change in the Western Pacific during the Early-to-Mid Holocene, about 5,000-9,000 years before present. However, additional records are needed as the current archive is inadequate to completely describe the change. Additional insights gained from this and related ongoing collaborative projects will enable us to continue this line of research to determine more recent as well as longer-term climate patterns with higher resolution.

 

Why this is important locally?

Data on dripwater rates and chemistry help improve the reliability of our interpretations of the chemical clues found in the cave deposits.

At its September 12, 2008 meeting, the Guam Water Resources Advisory Council identified as one of its research priorities “expanding and updating the rainfall database for Guam,” to include long-term rainfall variability (Item 16, under Water Quantity Issues, Guam´s Critical Water Resources Research, Education And Training Needs). Unfortunately, the long-term historical record for Guam begins only at the end of World War II. Moreover, as current research on climate dynamics around the world reveals, regional climates everywhere are characterized by decadal, centennial, and even millennial scale oscillations. Even the oldest historical records-which date at best from the early Eighteenth Century-are too short to document such long-term cycles. It is becoming increasingly important for economic planners and managers, however, to be able to anticipate or understand the likely duration and severity, if not the causes, of long-term or persistent shifts in weather and climate patterns. Of particular interest in the west Pacific Ocean region are the patterns of flooding/drought, prevailing winds, and the frequency and severity of major storms, which are already known to follow cycles of decadal and longer duration. To characterize long-term rainfall and temperature patterns prior to the historical record, however, requires making estimates of them from proxies such as the stalagmite record that we are studying in this project.

Broader Implications of This Work: Regional and Global Climate Dynamics

This project dovetails with other ongoing efforts determine the history of the West Pacific Warm Pool (WPWP) from specimens in Borneo, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu (Partin et al., 2007). The WPWP is believed to be of central importance to global atmospheric and oceanic redistribution of heat (Webster and Lukas, 1992). Unfortunately, however, the history of oceanic provinces is especially difficult to reconstruct since fossil evidence, such as cave deposits, is not preserved as it is in continental environments. The speleothems found in the caves of the small carbonate islands of the west Pacific Ocean, however, provide a unique and valuable resource for reconstruction of the climate history of this centrally important oceanic region of the Earth. The record from the Mariana Islands is of particular interest, since the archipelago brackets the northern margin of the WPWP, where it experiences a strong (wet-dry) seasonal signal (unlike provinces nearer to the equator). Moreover, since the Mariana Islands straddle the boundary, island caves can record how the WPWP expands, contracts, or shifts over time, whereas caves in more central locations, see little or no change over time. The Mariana Islands are also located where Pacific ENSO events produce strong and long-lasting droughts, which may be discernable in the speleothem record. A detailed understanding of the cave environment from which the speleothems have been extracted is thus of great value because it will enhance the reliability of data and inferences that may be made for a crucial part of the Earth´s climate engine.

 

Getting a More Detailed Understanding of the Caves

Rainfall measurements and sampling of modern rainwater provide additional data for more reliable interpretations of the climate clues found in cave deposits.

WERI researchers are now seeking additional funding, which would support graduate thesis research in the University of Guam´s Environmental Science Program, to document the evolution of selected caves on Guam that are sources of climatic data for Guam in particular and the West Pacific region in general. Specifically, we hope to discern the sequence of events and conditions, including not only their relative timing but eventually their absolute ages as well, that produced each cave and the speleothems deposited in it (cf., Partin et al., 2008). Events and conditions on which the investigation will focus include the original environment and characteristics of the wall rock in which the cave formed and the onset of dissolution that initiated the development of the cave. We will also attempt to discern the subsequent history of uplift, subsidence, or eustatic relative sea-level fluctuations that emptied or flooded the cave with phreatic groundwater, as well as structural modifications, perhaps associated with seismic events, that shifted the relative positions of elements within the cave. Care will be taken to identify speleogenetic markers such as the onset and cessation of speleothem deposition or dissolution, and the emplacement of breakdown deposits within the cave. The detailed understanding of the cave history thus obtained will enable a more reliable assessment of the conditions under which the different deposits formed, as well as accurate inference of the environmental conditions of the island itself. This, in turn, will provide important insights and constraints by which more reliable interpretation can be made from the chemical parameters and patterns revealed by laboratory analyses on cave stalagmites. For example, we will be better able to determine whether a given shift in a chemical parameter in a cave stalagmite reflects a shift in the climate external to the cave rather than some change in the internal environment of the cave. It will also provide a basis for more systematic and efficient selection of future specimens for laboratory study, which will help lead researchers to the most informative specimens and minimize cost by preventing redundancies and duplications of studies of similar specimens. We will eventually also be able to correlate events noted in various caves to determine whether events are unique to a given cave or reflect island-wide or broader, regional changes in conditions.

 

REFERENCES

  • Mylroie, J. E., J. W. Jenson, D. Taboroši, J. M. U. Jocson, D. T. Vann, and C. Wexel, 2001, Karst features on Guam in terms of a general model of carbonate island karst: Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, v. 63, p. 9-22.
  • Partin, J. W., K. M. Cobb, J. F. Adkins, B. Clark, and D. P. Fernandez, 2007, Millennial-scale trends in west Pacific warm pool hydrology since the Last Glacial Maximum: Nature, v. 449, p. 445-456.
  • Partin, J. W., K. M. Cobb, and J. L. Banner, 2008, Climate variability recorded in tropical and sub-tropical speleothems: PAGES News, v. 16, p. 9-1.
  • Sinclair, D. J., J. L. Banner, F. W. Taylor, T. M. Quinn, J. W. Jenson, and J. E. Mylroie, 2008, Deglacial climate dynamics in the western Pacific Ocean measured in a stalagmite from Guam, Goldschmidt Conference, Vancouver, B.C.
  • Taboroši, D., 2004, Field Guide to the Caves and Karst of Guam: Honolulu, Bess Press, 105 p.
  • Taboroši, D., J. W. Jenson, and J. E. Mylroie, 2004, Karst features of Guam, Mariana Islands, Mangilao, Water & Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific, University of Guam, p. 26.
  • Webster, P. J., and R. Lukas, 1992, TOGA COARE – The coupled ocean-atmosphere response experiment: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, v. 73, p. 1377-1416.

Constitutive Modeling of Glacial Till

Interdisciplinary study of the potential role of subglacial sediment in ice sheet movement.

  • J.W. Jenson
    Water & Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific, University of Guam
  • C.S. Desai
    Department of Civil Engineering & Engineering & Engineering Mechanics, University of Arizona
  • A.E. Carlson
    Department of Geosciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • P.U. Clark
    Department of Geosciences, Oregon State University
 

Background

Exposure of glacial till layers in bluffs above the Nelson River, northern Manitoba, from which specimens of the Sky Pilot Till, deposited by the Laurentide Ice Sheet, were obtained.

We have recently completed a set of geotechnical experiments (Sane et al., 2008) using the Disturbed State Concept (DSC) model (Desai, 2001) to evaluate the rheology of two regionally significant North American Pleistocene tills (Carlson et al., 2004). The results suggest that soft beds could, at certain stages of deformation–assuming sufficiently strong coupling at the ice-till interface–support shear stresses of about 20 kPa, substantially greater than the residual strengths measured in other tills by Kamb (1991) and Iverson et al (1997; Iverson et al., 1998) (<3 kPa). Having thus developed the DSC model for the fully-coupled case (in which there is assumed to be no “sliding” or “slippage” between the basal ice and the underlying bed of “soft” (i.e., water-saturated) till, the research team proposes now to extend the application of the DSC model to the mechanics of relative motion at the interface between the basal ice and underlying till. The proposed work will utilize the specialized Cyclic Multi-Degree-of-Freedom (CYMDOF) shear device at the University of Arizona´s Constitutive Modeling Laboratory, which has been developed and proven in previous advanced geotechnical research applications. The CYMDOF test box will be modified to accommodate ice-till interface specimens with controlled configurations guided by insights gained from continued field study by the research team and from previous observations published by others. The model will be validated by independent tests and then implemented in numerical simulations to predict the motion resulting from the combined effects of interface motion and deformation in the till and ice. The proposed work will take advantage of previously proven methodology and the mathematical and numerical models developed and tested in the previous project.

 

Applications of the research

Ice sheet modelers have long sought a reliable model for soft-bedded ice sheet movement. Despite the important role of slip in ice movement,however, no truly predictive models have yet been developed for slip of ice over a till surface. The results of this project will be an important contribution toward the ultimate development of sophisticated ice sheet models that could provide reliable predictions of growth, decay, and stability of glaciers and ice sheets–both Pleistocene and modern–and their interaction with climate. Such models may also yield new insights into landscape evolution in glacial terrains, such as whether soft-bed deformation could have mobilized sufficient sediment flux to account for the large volumes of till in the Midwestern United States or the large deposits of glacigenic material in the Barents Sea. Answers to such questions have applications to important economic activities in glaciated regions, including water resource management and mineral prospecting and mining.

 

References

  • Carlson, A. E., J. W. Jenson, and P. U. Clark, 2004, Field observations from the Tiskilwa Till, IL, and Sky Pilot Till, MB of the Laurentide Ice Sheet: Geographie Physique et Quaternaire, v. 58, p. 229-239.
  • Desai, C. S., 2001, Mechanics of Materials and Interfaces: The Disturbed State Concept: Boca Raton, Florida, CRC Press.
  • Iverson, N. R., R. W. Baker, and T.S. Hooyer, 1997, A ring shear device for the study of till deformation: Tests on tills with contrasting clay contents: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 16, p. 1057-1066.
  • Iverson, N. R., T. S. Hooyer, and R. W. Baker, 1998, Ring-shear studies of till deformation: Coulomb-plastic behavior and distributed strain in glacier beds: Journal of Glaciology, v. 44, p. 634-642.
  • Kamb, B., 1991, Rheological nonlinearity and flow instability in the deforming bed mechanism of ice stream motion: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 96, p. 585-16,595.
  • Sane, S. M., C. S. Desai, J. W. Jenson, D. S. Contractor, A. E. Carlson, and P. U. Clark, 2008, Disturbed state constitutive modeling of two Pleistocene tills: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 27, p. 267-283.

Watershed Management Program

In his 1998 State of the Union Address, President Clinton announced a major new national Clean Water Initiative, the Clean Water Action Plan (CWAP). This initiative aims to achieve clean waters by encouraging federal and nonfederal agencies, other organizations and interested citizens to work in a collaborative manner to restore our highest priority watersheds. The federal government has committed to contributing its technical and financial resources to the implementation of the plan. Guam responded to this federal initiative by convening a work group, the Water Planning Committee (WPC), which is made up of representatives from fourteen agencies and interested organizations. The WPC completed an assessment of the island´s watersheds and selected three, the Northern, Ugum and Talofofo, as its highest priority watersheds due to their value as drinking water resources.

In 1987, the Pohnpei state legislature passed the Pohnpei Watershed Forest Reserve and Mangrove Protection Act in which close to 5,000 hectares (or 12,500 acres) of upland forest was set aside as a protected Watershed Forest Reserve. The purpose of this act was to halt the degradation of the interior forests from road construction and population encroachment as well as to protect the watershed and water supply for the island´s population. However, when surveyors attempted to mark the boundary of this reserve, suspicious and angry villagers with machetes and guns turned them back. With this single act, the story of watershed management on Pohnpei began and continues to unfold today.

WERI researchers have undertaken several projects for developing a watershed management strategy for Guam and the Federated States of Micronesia. In Guam, researchers assessed the existing natural resources of the Ugum watershed and identified the areas that have potential to contribute pollution into the streams and eventually into the coastal areas within the Ugum.

In Pohnpei island researchers are developing a data base for three watersheds with different degree of man´s activities. Data includes rainfall, stream flow, turbidity, land clearing for agriculture, road construction, and housing development. The overall objective of this project is to study the impact of man´s activities on the quality of the water in the watershed and make recommendations to reduce the impact of these activities.

Soil Erosion Monitoring Programs

Surface runoff and sediment losses from soil erosion are major contributors to reduction in surface water quality and subsequent degradation of the coral reefs in Guam and the other islands in Western Pacific. The Guam Waterworks Authority (GWA) is presently pumping an average of 2.4 million gallons per day from Ugum River in Southern Guam to the potable water treatment facility. GWA faces an difficult task to keep the plant operating at full capacity when the river is running with high turbidity rates due to heavy rainfall because of permit limitations. This highly turbid water has increased operational costs and along with former poor operation and maintenance practices that led to premature failure of components of the treatment plant system. Most of the Operations Maintenance issue have been resolved but the operating permit still limits GWA’s allowed operating parameters because of unresolved issues with its operating permit. The water that passes the Ugum treatment plant intakes eventually makes its way to the outlet of the river and into the estuary and reef environment. The negative impact of sediment loading tends to result from sporting and hunting activities by people in the Ugum watershed. This in turn has a negative impact on the aquatic environment of Guam in the degradation of coral reef, as well as reduction of fish populations and impediment of the scenery affecting the tourism industry.

WERI researchers have undertaken projects aiming at various methods for estimating upland soil erosion and soil conservation practices. In a project funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), WERI researchers developed a GIS based erosion model for the Ugum Watershed. This model, which integrates the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) with the ESRI GIS software package, predicts the soil erosion potential within a watershed and also identifies the areas with highest soil erosion potential. The model is currently used to explore various soil erosion practices with their accompanying costs to determine the optimum erosion control practice that is most effective in reducing soil losses and is most cost effective.

Rooftop Rain Catchment Sizing

WERI On-line Publication:
Designing Your Rainwater Catchment and Storage System »

The two major sources of water supply in the atoll islands and many rural areas of the high islands of the Federated States of Micronesia (F.S.M.) are rooftop rainfall catchment systems (RRCS) and shallow groundwater sources. The rain catchment systems are best suited for supplying drinking water needs. Other water demands are best met from groundwater sources. An ideal water supply system would have the components of the RRCS and the groundwater components sized in such a manner to meet the needs of the individual family that owns the system.

This project, which was funded by the US. Geological Survey Water Institute Program, was designed to develop and disseminate criteria to be used in the design of new or refurbishing of existing individual water supply systems for various islands in the F.S.M. The end product was a design brochure for sizing combined rooftop rain catchment systems so that they can provide a continuous water supply even during drought conditions.

A Windows based computer simulation model was developed to evaluate the effectiveness of various RRCS configurations for varied use rates. The next phase of the study involved an inventory of use rates, catchment sizes and tank configurations for various island groups in the Federated States of Micronesia. This was used to update and verify past studies which have been made concerning water consumption in Micronesia. Rainfall data and use rates served as input to the RRCS model. Output from the model was used to develop a set of design tables to be used by island sanitarians and residents in planning the design of new or the upgrading of existing RRCS systems. A brochure containing these tables has been printed and is being distributed to Island residents in the Federated States of Micronesia. Several workshops have been held in F.S.M. so that local sanitarians and water resources planning personel can take full advantage of the brochure and computer program.

This first study developed guidelines for all the islands of Yap, State F.S.M. and all the islands of Namonweito Atoll and the Pattiw area of Chuuk State F.S.M. Other studies are presently being planned for Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Nothern Mariana’s Islands, Pohnpei Island and Majuro and Kwajalein atolls in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Groundwater Research

Fifteen years of interdisciplinary hydrogeological work on island groundwater resources

Guam, like the other islands in the Western Pacific with significant limestone terrain, relies primarily on groundwater to support its growing population and developing economy. The Northern Guam Lens Aquifer, which is comprised of the limestone bedrock forming the plateau that occupies the northern half of the 214-square-mile island, supplies about 80% of the potable water for Guam. WERI´s groundwater research program, launched by Dr. John Jenson in 1994, has focused on developing a more accurate conceptual model for the unique aquifers on islands and coastal provinces comprised of geologically young limestone islands, as well as gaining a better understanding of the dynamic processes of recharge, vadose and phreatic transport, and coastal discharge in these types of aquifers

 

Groundwater Modeling: Applications to the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer

Collaborative work to develop a numerical model for the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer included some of the pioneering work on two-phase numerical models of “saltwater intrusion” in the early 1980s by Dr. Dinshaw Contractor of the University of Arizona´s Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics (Contractor, 1981, 1983; Contractor et al., 1981; Contractor and Srivastava, 1990). Work begun by Dr. Contractor, working with WERI through the 1980s and into the early 1990s, was expanded and intensified with arrival of Dr. John Jenson at WERI in 1993. Dr. Jenson and Dr. Contractor collaborated through 1998 to extend the development and application of Dr. Contractor´s finite-element code, SWIG2D, to obtain better estimates of aquifer recharge (Jocson et al., 2002) and vadose transport dynamics (Contractor and Jenson, 2000) in the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer. More recent work at WERI has included the application of the US Geological Survey´s SUTRA code to a unique data set obtained in 2004 by an intensive instrumentation of selected observations wells, sponsored by the Guam Environmental Protection Agency (Olsen and Hormillosa, 2008; Wuerch et al., 2007).

 

Field Studies: The Carbonate Island Karst Model

South end of Haputo Bay, one of the striking enscalloped embayments in the limestone coast of northwestern Guam. Groundwater flows from seeps and springs in the beach here, and from flowing fractures and caves in cliff faces to the north and south of the bay.

The modeling work of the mid-1990s made it apparent that a more accurate and detailed conceptual model was needed for the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer and similar aquifers in geologically young limestones elsewhere. For such aquifers, neither the classical Darcian model for porous media nor the classical karst model of conduit and fracture flow is adequate: porous flow, fracture flow, and conduit flow combine in complex ways to play important roles in carbonate island aquifers. Impressed that the most relevant extant work was that by Mylroie and Carew (1995) on the karst of the low-lying, tectonically stable islands of the Caribbean and Western Atlantic, Dr. Jenson approached Dr. John Mylroie, of Mississippi State University, Department of Geosciences, in 1997 about undertaking a collaborative study of the more complicated uplifted and tectonically active islands of the Mariana Islands. Beginning on Guam in 1998 (Mylroie et al., 2001), Dr. Jenson, Dr. Mylroie, their associates, and students conducted intensive investigations to document the coastal and interior karst features of Mariana Islands, conducting successive studies of Saipan (Wexel, 2007), Tinian and Aguijan (Stafford et al., 2004a; Stafford et al., 2003; Stafford et al., 2004b; Stafford et al., 2005), and Rota (Keel et al., 2004, 2005a; Keel et al., 2005b). From their combined work of 1998-2005, they have developed the Carbonate Island Karst Model or CIKM (Jenson et al., 2006; Mylroie and Jenson, 2000). While the CIKM is a conceptual model of island karst, rather than of island karst aquifers, per se, it provides the essential geological context for the development of an accurate, detailed conceptual model for these complicated aquifers.

 

Saltwater Intrusion

WERI researchers Michelle Hoffman and Dave Moran place activated charcoal “dye bugs” in the discharge stream from Ayuyu (Coconut Crab) on the northwest coast of Guam. (See photo below.)

Eighty percent of Guam´s drinking water is supplied by over 100 wells that produce an average of 50 million gallons per day for the islands 150,000 residents and over 1,000,000 tourists who visit the island each year. During the 1980 through the mid-1990s, the water production system was greatly expanded to meet the needs of the rapidly growing economy. In response to concerns over the incidence, severity, trends, and causes of elevated chloride in various wells, WERI undertook a comprehensive historical study, examining not only the chloride record for each well, but the hydrogeological setting, and the well construction and operating history. The study (McDonald and Jenson, 2003) provides a detailed report on the water quality (in terms of chloride) and the observed trends in each well, along recommendations for management of each well. For wells exhibiting high chloride concentrations, the report contains an assessment of the causes and recommendations for remediation or closure.

 

Dye Trace Studies

Field studies of the karst were augmented with a dye trace study, conducted with support from Guam Environmental Protection Agency, from 2000 to 2002 (Moran and Jenson, 2004). This study, along with previous studies conducted by consultants for military remediation projects in the 1990s (AAFBER, 1995; Barner, 1995, 1997), provided compelling evidence for conduit and fracture flow, as well as an important component of porous flow in the aquifer. Uncertainties over the interpretation of results motivated an intensive study of the background fluorescence in the coastal waters of Guam, from 2005 through 2007 (Hoffman et al., 2008; Hoffman et al., 2007). Results of this study provide a reliable assessment of the likely incidence and sources of background fluorescence in tropical waters of limestone coasts, against which to evaluate dye trace results on Guam and similar islands and coastal environments.

Current and anticipated work

WERI researchers John Jocson, Arne Olsen, Dave Moran (left to right) at Ayuyu (Coconut Crab) Cave on the northwest coast of Guam. A spectacular flow of fresh water can be observed from the moth of the cave when the tide is low and the surf is calm.

Effort is underway to re-kindle and extend the study of the coastal discharge features on Guam. A proposal for a collaborative study is being prepared to sponsor an interdisciplinary study that would quantify the mass flux and solute concentrations of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) at selected locations along the northwest coast of Guam, to include the concentration and origins selected nutrients, and ultimately, their effects on reef health.

 

References

  • AAFBER, 1995, Final Report: Groundwater dye trace program and well cluster proposal for the landfill area, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Archived at University of Guam Library, Mangilao, Guam.
  • Barner, W. L., 1995, Ground water flow in a young karst terrane developed along a coastal setting, northern Guam, Mariana Islands: Int. Res. Appl. Cen. Karst Water Res., Karst Waters Institute, Seminar field course, p. 12.
  • Barner, W. L., 1997, Time of travel in the fresh water lens of northern Guam: Proceedings of the Eighth Symposium on the Geology of the Bahamas and Other Carbonate Regions, p. 1-12.
  • Contractor, D. N., 1981, A two-dimensional, finite-element model of salt water intrusion in groundwater systems, WERI Technical Report No. 26, Mangilao, Water & Energy Research Institute, University of Guam.
  • Contractor, D. N., 1983, Numerical modeling of saltwater intrusion in the Northern Guam Lens: Water Resources Bulletin, v. 19, p. 745-751.
  • Contractor, D. N., J. F. Ayers, and S. J. Winter, 1981, Numerical modeling of salt-water intrusion in the Northern Guam Lens, WERI Technical Report No. 27, Mangilao, Water & Energy Research Institute, University of Guam.
  • Contractor, D. N., and J. W. Jenson, 2000, Simulated Effect of Vadose Infiltration on Water Levels in the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer: Journal of Hydrology, v. 229, p. 232-254.
  • Contractor, D. N., and R. Srivastava, 1990, Simulation of saltwater intrusion in the Northern Guam Lens using a microcomputer: Journal of Hydrology, v. 118, p. 87-106.
  • Hoffman, S. M., J. W. Jenson, G. R. W. Denton, D. C. Moran, and H. L. Vacher, 2008, Variability of Background Fluorescence in Tropical Karst Aquifers, 14th symposium on the geology of the Bahamas and other carbonate regions, Gerace Research Center, San Salvador Island, Bahamas.
  • Hoffman, S. M., J. W. Jenson, D. C. Moran, G. R. W. Denton, H. R. Wood, and H. L. Vacher, 2007, Background fluorescence in Guam’s coastal waters, WERI Technical Report No. 121, Mangilao, Water & Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific, University of Guam.
  • Jenson, J. W., T. M. Keel, J. R. Mylroie, J. E. Mylroie, K. W. Stafford, D. Taborosi, and C. Wexel, 2006, Karst of the Mariana Islands: The interaction of tectonics, glacio-eustasy, fresh-water/salt-water mixing in island carbonates: Geological Society of America Special Paper, v. 404, p. 129-138.
  • Jocson, J. M. U., J. W. Jenson, and D. N. Contractor, 2002, Recharge and Aquifer Response: Northern Guam Lens Aquifer, Guam, Mariana Islands: Journal of Hydrology, v. 260, p. 231-254.
  • Keel, T. M., J. E. Mylroie, and J. W. Jenson, 2004, Preliminary report on the caves and karst of Rota (Luta), CNMI, WERI Technical Report No. 105, Mangilao, Water & Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific, University of Guam.
  • Keel, T. M., J. E. Mylroie, and J. W. Jenson, 2005a, The caves and karst of Rota Island, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, WERI Technical Report No. 107, Mangilao, Water & Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific, University of Guam.
  • Keel, T. M., J. E. Mylroie, J. R. Mylroie, and J. W. Jenson, 2005b, The cave and karst of Rota Island, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Journal of Cave and Karst Science, v. 67, p. 187.
  • McDonald, M. Q., and J. W. Jenson, 2003, Chloride history and trends of water in production wells in the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer, WERI Technical Report No. 98, Mangilao, Water & Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific, University of Guam.
  • Moran, D. C., and J. W. Jenson, 2004, Dry trace of groundwater from Guam International Airport and Harmon Sink to Agana Bay and Tumon Bay, WERI Technical Report No. 97, Mangilao, Water & Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific, University of Guam.
  • Mylroie, J. E., and J. L. Carew, 1995, Karst development on carbonate islands, in D. A. Budd, P. M. Harris, and A. Saller, eds., Unconformities and Porosity in Carbonate Strata, v. Memior 63, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, p. 55-76.
  • Mylroie, J. E., and J. W. Jenson, 2000, The Carbonate Island Karst Model applied to Guam: Theoretical and Applied Karstology, v. 13-14, p. 51-56.
  • Mylroie, J. E., J. W. Jenson, D. Taborosi, J. M. U. Jocson, D. T. Vann, and C. Wexel, 2001, Karst features on Guam in terms of a general model of carbonate island karst: Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, v. 63, p. 9-22.
  • Olsen, A. E., and T. Hormillosa, 2008, Northern Guam Vadose Zone: 30 Years of WERI Research, Gerace Research Centre 14th Geology Conference, San Salvador, Bahamas.
  • Stafford, K., J. Mylroie, D. Taboroši, and J. W. Jenson, 2004a, Eogenetic karst development on a small, tectonically active, carbonate island: Aguijan, Mariana Islands: Cave and Karst Science: Transactions of the British Cave Research Association, v. 31, p. 101-108.
  • Stafford, K. W., T. M. Keel, J. E. Mylroie, J. W. Jenson, and J. R. Mylroie, 2003, Eogenetic karst development in the Mariana Islands: Aguijan, Rota, and Tinian: Journal of cave and Karst Studies, v. 65, p. 188.
  • Stafford, K. W., J. E. Mylroie, and J. W. Jenson, 2004b, Karst geology of Aguijan and Tinian, CNMI cave inventory and structural analysis of development, WERI Technical Report No. 106, Mangilao, Water & Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific, University of Guam.
  • Stafford, K. W., J. E. Mylroie, D. Taboroši, J. W. Jenson, and J. R. Mylroie, 2005, Karst development on Tinian, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Controls on dissolution in relation to the carbonate island karst model: Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, v. 67, p. 14-27.
  • Wexel, C., 2007, Karst features of Saipan in terms a general carbonate island karst model: Masters thesis, University of Guam.
  • Wuerch, H. V., B. C. Cruz, and A. E. Olsen, 2007, Analysis of the Dynamic Responses of the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer to Sea Level Change and Recharge, WERI Technical Report No. 115, Mangilao, Water & Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific, University of Guam.

Atoll Hydrologic Modeling

Why the Model was developed?

Water shortages are a persistent concern for residents of atoll islands. Normally, water demand is met by rooftop rain catchments, but prolonged droughts, such as those associated with ENSO events in the western Pacific region, can exhaust household storage, leaving residents dependent on groundwater or imported water. In response to the recommendation by the FSM Advisory Council meeting of October 23, 2006, WERI researchers have developed an accurate and practical saltwater intrusion and groundwater evaluation model for atoll islands in the FSM (Bailey et al., in press). Initial orientation to the model was presented in April and May 2008, in Yap, Chuuk, and Pohnpei, at which time WERI delivered copies of the model and supporting technical reports (Bailey et al., 2008a; Bailey et al., 2008b) to agency heads and policy makers who supported the project.

The current information transfer project follows upon the original orientation through a series of workshops for designated personnel in FSM state water resources agencies, as well instructors from the College of Micronesia and island high schools. The workshops will be delivered on Pohnpei, Chuuk, and Yap in one-and-a-half-day sessions during a two-week period in a series a pre-planned sessions at designated facilities. At this year´s Advisory Council meeting on September 16, council members specifically requested that systematic training be conducted on the model for designated users in each of the states with atoll islands. Users of the model will include local government water resource managers, environmental staff, and educators (Item III.1, Education and Professional Training, FSM Critical Water Resources Research, Education and Training Needs, September 16, 2008).

 

Methods & Objectives

End-users will be trained by WERI instructors on how to operate the model and apply it to estimate the responses of atoll island aquifers in the Caroline Islands to expected types of seasonal and inter-annual changes in rainfall. During summer 2009, the authors of the model will visit Yap, Chuuk, and Pohnpei to train the end-users of the model so that they can independently apply it and interpret the results. Such use may include forecasting the effects of changes in rainfall on atoll islands affected by significant natural events such ENSO-driven droughts, tropical storms, or wash-over events. A second objective is to establish an ongoing technical support relationship between the authors and end-users so that there will be a continuing dialogue to support continued successful use and application of the model to water resource management in the FSM. The model can run on lap-top or notebook computers. A published WERI technical report serves as an operator´s manual for the model (Bailey et al., 2008a), and another as an educational text on atoll island hydrology and modeling (Bailey et al., 2008b).

 

Why This is Important Locally

Western Pacific atolls can go almost entirely without rain for months during severe droughts associated with ENSO events. When fresh water supplies from rain catchments become exhausted people must turn to groundwater, which is usually retrieved from hand-dug wells. However, during such drought conditions, there is little recharge to the groundwater, so the thin freshwater lens can become contaminated with sea water. Atolls are also vulnerable to wash-over events, especially during times of heightened sea-levels and storm passage. Flooding of the island by sea water can displace many or all of the residents and ruin crops and infrastructure, and may leave the shallow aquifers contaminated with salt water even after residents could otherwise return and resume normal activity. The model provides a tool for managers and planners to estimate how the fresh water lens in specified atoll islands in the FSM may respond to given changes in recharge. Specifically, the model provides a means of calculating lens thickness, and hence the groundwater reserve that can be expected on islands of given dimensions and other known properties for specified rainfall. Improving water resource availability and sustainability on small island communities promotes economic and social stability, as well as preserving the preferred way of life for many current and future residents of the FSM. Inclusion of island science educators in the training provides for improved long-term education of students as well as the public at large on island hydrology and water resources management.

 

References

  • Bailey, R. T., J. W. Jenson, and A. E. Olsen, 2008a, An Atoll Freshwater Lens Algebraic Model for Groundwater Management in the Caroline Islands: WERI Technical Report No. 120, Mangilao, Water & Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific, University of Guam.
  • Bailey, R. T., J. W. Jenson, and A. E. Olsen, in press, An algebraic model to predict the freshwater lens thickness of an atoll island: Groundwater.
  • Bailey, R. T., J. W. Jenson, D. H. Rubinstein, and A. E. Olsen, 2008b, Groundwater Resources of Atoll Islands: Observations, Modeling, and Management, Mangilao, Water & Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific, University of Guam.

Pollution Monitoring and Assessment Program 

Although the islands of the western Pacific are relatively isolated from pollutants generated by the industrialized nations of the world, many are experiencing self imposed environmental degradation as a result of increased population growth and commercial development. Past and present military activities have also contributed significantly to disturbances in environmental quality on several islands, particularly Guam and Saipan. While some research has been directed towards evaluating the extent of such disturbance on terrestrial communities, relatively little attention has been directed towards identifying the impact of key contaminants, like heavy metals, PCBs and PAHs on the coastal waters of these island´s and their marine resources traditionally harvested for food by local inhabitants.

Mindful of such data deficiencies, WERI initiated a research program in 1997 to monitor the distribution and abundance of heavy metals, PCBs and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons four harbor locations in Guam. These environments were selected for study because of the diversity of ongoing anthropogenic activities occurring in and around them. They thus represented environments where worst-case scenario conditions would likely prevail. The program initially focused on surface sediments in order to identify potential hot-spots and delineate areas of contamination. Subsequently, an assemblage of biotic representatives were examined to determine contaminant mobilization rates into dominant ecosystem representatives, especially edible species and those with known or suspected bioindicator capability.

 

In 1999, a similar study was established for Tanapag Lagoon on the western shore of central Saipan. This large lagoon is heavily impacted by the activities of man including a major seaport and bulk fuel facility, a sewer outfall, and a municipal dump. The area is also heavily inundated by stormwater runoff during prolonged periods of wet weather. Contaminant profiles in surface sediments have been mapped and levels in dominant ecological representatives, including edible and potentially useful bioindicator species are currently being assessed. A major study of mercury, arsenic and PCBs in food fishes from within the lagoon is now complete and is being evaluated to determine potential health risks, if any, to local consumers.

Pollution monitoring and assessment studies in Saipan are currently focused on delineating a mercury hotspot in the northern section of Garapan Lagoon. This lagoon lies immediately to the south of Tanapag Lagoon and is impacted largely by urban runoff. Soil from drainage basins within the Garapan area and sediments from the coastal belt are being analyzed in an attempt to locate the source of contamination and identify drainage pathways into the lagoon. Biotic representatives from this popular fishing spot are also being considered.

 

In Guam, a recently completed study determined the impact of a municipal dump on the fisheries resources of Pago Bay on the western side of the island. This dump has been in continuous use for over 50 years and has been operating at over capacity for the last 20. The western borders of the dump encroach on wetlands that drain into the Lonfit River. This rather picturesque stream converges with the Sigua River further downstream to form the Pago River, which in turn drains into Pago Bay on the eastern side of the island. Local residents fish all three rivers and the bay for food, and the adjacent lands support a variety of agricultural activities including subsistence farming. Unlike modern landfills, the dump is unlined and does not have a leachate retention system in place. As a result, streams of brown, foul smelling leachate flow intermittently from the dump´s perimeter during wet weather conditions and course their way down gradient into the Lonfit River valley below.

 

Past chemical characterization of the leachate indicates that heavy metals are the contaminants of primary concern both from an ecological and human health perspective. This fact has promoted speculation that fisheries resources from these waters are heavy metal enriched to the point of being unfit for human consumption. In light of this, recent chemical analyses of abiotic and biotic components from the rivers and bay were surprising and indicate that local topographic and climatic conditions continually conspire to produce natural cleansing processes that prevent heavy metal accumulation from occurring within the watershed.

WERI´s involvement in pollution monitoring throughout the region is intended to be ongoing and is specifically designed to produce data of value to those involved with environmental protection and resource management. 

GIS Program

Geospatial technologies such as geographical information systems (GIS) and remote sensing can be applied to solve water resources and environmental issues effectively. GIS and related technologies are an efficient tool for watershed management, water distribution, environmental modeling and analysis, modeling and analysis of water quality and quantity, land cover change detection, natural resources management, climate change, hydrological modeling, soil erosion modeling, applications of LiDAR and hyperspectral/high resolution satellite data, etc.

For further information on the GIS projects currently underway, please contact Dr. Yuming Wen atywen@uguam.uog.edu or +1 671 735-2687

 

Digital Watershed Atlas

 
 

Land Cover Change Detection

 
 

Environmental Modeling

 
 

Spatio-temporal Analysis of Water Quality Data

 

Note: White sectors stand for no samples collected for the well, gray for non-detectable values, and blue for actual values analyzed from samples. Left: Well D-5, and right: Well D-15.

USGS Sponsored Research (Guam)

 State Water Resources Act Program, authorized by section 104 of the Water Resources Research Act of 1984, is a Federal-State partnership… read more>>>

GUAM’S CRITICAL WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH, EDUCATION AND TRAINING NEEDS
Identified at September 4, 2015 Guam Advisory Council Meeting, Guam 
Updated October 5,2015

 

I. GROUND, SURFACE, AND COASTAL WATER QUALITY

Impact Issues

Definition: Research that leads to a better understanding of or the possible solution to problems caused by the impact of man’s activities or natural processes on Guam’s fresh water quality.

1. Impact of the projected expansion of military infrastructure on the aquifer, water supply and waste water disposal systems of the island.
2. Impact of storm water runoff and ponding basins on groundwater quality.
3. Impact of conventional septic tanks on the chemistry and biology of groundwater in northern Guam.
4. Impact of the Chamorro Land Trust and other non-regulated activities on land development over the Northern Guam Aquifer.
5. Impact of sewer outfalls on the quality of streams and the near shore environment.
6. Impact of past and currently used pesticides on Guam surface and groundwater quality.
7. Impact of agricultural activities (including water usage) on ground and surface water resources of Guam.
8. Impact of existing and proposed future pumping rates on chloride levels in the aquifer, basin by basin, well-field by well-field.
9. Impact of primary vs. secondary wastewater discharge on biotic communities in remote coastal locations with emphasis on nutrient availability.
10. Evaluate mitigation techniques for reducing the impact of Guam’s sewage treatment plants on the nutrient loading of receiving rivers, streams and coastal waters.
11. Assess impacts of El Nino and other decadal and longer-scale drought/storm cycles on aquifer and/or surface catchment recharge, groundwater salinity, and/or other water quality/quantity parameters.
12. Mobilization of modern day pesticides in Guam soils and potential impact on underlying groundwater resources.
13. Impacts of free living fecal indicator bacteria from non-fecal sources on the reliability of existing recreational water quality standard.

Baseline Issues
Definition: Research that leads to a better understanding of existing levels of contaminants to serve as a basis to judge the effects of mans future activities on the quality of Guam’s fresh water resource.

1. Baseline studies to establish background values of PCBs, pesticides, and heavy metals in estuaries and fresh waters island wide.
2. Baseline studies to determine continuous salinity/temperature profiles versus rainfall in Guam’s groundwater monitoring wells.
3. Baseline studies on ground and surface water quality and wetland ecology in watersheds and coastal zones adjacent to the new landfill. 
4. Baseline studies to determine frequent/continuous levels of nitrogenous compounds, phosphorous, etc. with respect to time, location, and depth in the subsurface (i.e., vadose and groundwater zones).
5. Baseline studies for updating the recreational water quality standards for Guam. 

Modeling Issues
Definition: Research aimed at developing means of predicting the fate and transport of containments in Guam’s freshwater systems.

1 Application of existing soil erosion predicting models to various southern Guam watersheds to determine areas of reforestation.
2 Modeling surface water contamination from non-point pollution sources, e.g., soil erosion in relation to surface runoff and rainfall.
3 Identify and quantify natural purification mechanisms, including nitrogen-cycle transformation processes at work in the Northern Guam Aquifer system.
4 Develop a GIS-based tool for prioritizing conservation areas for water protection, flood control/water storage needs, and contaminant transport by considering current land use, hydrology, etc.
5 Modeling of spatial and temporal changes in wetlands and badlands of Southern Guam Watersheds. 
6 Identify spatial and temporal trends in levels of regulated and non regulated contaminants of concern in Guam’s groundwater. 

Regulatory Issues
Definition: Research to investigate the need for new regulations and the effectiveness of existing regulations that deal with Guam’s fresh water quality issues.

1. Examine the effectiveness and appropriateness of existing erosion control regulations for the reduction of soil erosion and determine whether these regulations are being followed and develop new regulations as appropriate.
2. Evaluate the current status of septic tanks and associated leaching fields on Guam to determine the current level of regulatory compliance, and give consideration to corrective actions, including the allowance of innovative treatment units and development of appropriate design standards to improved treatment.

New Technologies and Techniques
Definition: Studies to investigate the development of, or application of new technologies to improve water quality.

1. Research to examine the effectiveness of various local soils and substrate mixtures in reducing groundwater contamination of nitrate from septic tanks.
2. Design a pilot study to evaluate the effectiveness of bio-based waste disposal systems. 
3. Pilot study evaluation of innovative aerobic wastewater treatment units versus conventional anaerobic systems for individual homes.

II. WATER QUANTITY ISSUES
Definition: Research aimed at gaining a better understanding of the availability, deliverability and sustainability of Guam’s surface water, groundwater and rainwater resources.

1. Develop water budgets for Guam’s surface and groundwater watersheds.
2. Explore the feasibility of developing a separate surface water supply system for agricultural use in Southern Guam.
3. Determine sustainable management approaches for ground water production.
4. Evaluate the impacts of land development on stream flow, runoff and erosion potential in central and southern Guam.
5. Quantification and spatial distribution of surface water supplies in Southern Guam.
6. Conduct field measurements of evapo-transpiration rates on Guam in order to better understand groundwater recharge rate.
7. Expand and update Guam’s storm statistics. 
8. Continue studies to determine the response of the Northern Guam Lens aquifer to various rainfall events.
9. Continue studies of vadose processes that control recharge quantity and rate for the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer.
10. Conduct feasibility studies for identifying potential sites for small-scale hydropower plant development in southern Guam.

III. WATERSHED BASELINE AND MANAGEMENT ISSUES
Definition: Watershed based research to determine best management practices for reduction in contamination in surface runoff and to provide information on Guam’s surface water sources and the required legislative framework required to protect these resources.

1. Develop erosion control and rehabilitation plans for Southern Guam watersheds. 
2. Explore potential management strategies to protect and improve the quality of water entering the Ugum water treatment facility.
3. Investigate the adequacy of Guam’s existing laws dealing with water rights in order to provide for the economic and expeditious development of Guam’s water supply.
4. Evaluate the accuracy and enforceability of Guam’s existing flood plain maps.
5. Continue baseline studies to provide more reliable data on sediment sources in southern Guam watersheds under various conditions. 
6. Determine the impact of sedimentation processes on the biota of streams and the near shore waters.
10. Develop practical low-cost methods for reducing beach erosion in southern Guam.
11. Map and determine sediment loads impacting Guam rivers as a result of ‘off-roading’ activities within the watershed.
12. Determine the impact on soil erosion of ‘off-road’ recreational vehicle use in Guam’s watersheds. 

IV. EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL TRAINING
Definition: Projects that lead to the public’s better understanding of water resources issues to include water resources training courses and workshops for k-12 students and teachers, the general public and island water resource managers and decision makers.

1. Executive training on water resources issues for legislators and Gov Guam senior management officials, including CCU.
2. Develop community water resources awareness and education projects.
3. Develop K-12 education projects on island water resources and pollution prevention.
4. Develop sediment mitigation workshops for badlands as well as construction sites
5. Promote water related internship programs for environmental science students in Gov Guam agencies.
6. Develop advanced professional courses in hydrology, hydrogeology hydraulics, water and wastewater system modeling for engineers at GWA and Guam EPA.
7. Develop various water resources oriented GIS applications that would be useful to agency officials and others that could be made available to the general public.
8. Develop public education programs on the costs of water quality.
9. Develop training modules and templates for the development of community based watershed management programs with emphasis on the restoration and re-vegetation of Guam’s bad land areas.
10. Develop training courses in water resources related subjects for teachers and general public. 
11. Develop educational training and outreach programs within the community highlighting the importance of protecting and preserving our watersheds and water resources. Educational outreach programs should begin with elementary schools in order to instill the importance of these issues at a young age.
12. Continue updating the Northern Guam Aquifer Database with original water resources information.
13. Develop public educational materials to explain the need and purpose of well head protection areas for the Northern Guam Aquifer.
14. Conduct workshop for the Guam Waterworks Authority on the use of GIS based models to visualize spatial and temporal concentration changes and trends in contaminants of concern in Guam’s groundwater.

 

Research Priorities

GUAM’S CRITICAL WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH, EDUCATION AND TRAINING NEEDS
Identified at Previous Advisory Council Meetings 
Updated at September 27, 2013 Meeting, Guam 

 

I. GROUND, SURFACE, AND COASTAL WATER QUALITY

Impact Issues

Definition: Research that leads to a better understanding of or the possible solution to problems caused by the impact of mans activities or natural processes on Guam’s fresh water quality.

  1. Impact of the projected expansion of military infrastructure on the , aquifer, water supply and waste water disposal systems of the island
  2. Impact of storm water runoff and ponding basins on groundwater quality
  3. Impact of conventional septic tanks on the chemistry and biology of groundwater in northern Guam
  4. Impact of Chamorro Land Trust and other non-regulated activities on land development over the Northern Guam Aquifer
  5. Impact of sewer outfalls on the quality of streams and the nearshore environment
  6. Impact of past use of banned pesticides and organic substances on surface and groundwater
  7. Impact of agricultural activities (including water usage) on ground and surface water resources of Guam
  8. Impact of existing and proposed future pumping rates on chloride levels in the aquifer, sub-basin by sub-basin, well by well
  9. Impact of primary vs. secondary wastewater discharges on biotic communities in remote coastal locations with emphasis on nutrient availability
  10. Evaluate mitigation techniques for reducing the impact of Guam’s sewage treatment plants on the nutrient loading of receiving rivers, streams and coastal waters
  11. Potential impact of quarrying activities on the northern Guam’s aquifer
  12. Assess impacts of El Nino and other decadal and longer-scale drought/storm cycles on aquifer and/or surface catchment recharge, groundwater salinity, and/or other water quality/quantity parameters
  13. Mobilization of modern day pesticides in Guam soils and potential impact on underlying groundwater resources
  14. Impacts of free living fecal indicator bacteria from non-fecal sources on the reliability of existing recreational water quality standards
 

Baseline Issues:

Definition: Research that leads to a better understanding of existing levels of contaminants to serve as a basis to judge the effects of mans future activities on the quality of Guam’s fresh water resource.

  1. Baseline studies to establish background values of PCBs, pesticides, and heavy metals in estuaries and fresh waters island wide
  2. Baseline studies to determine continuous salinity/temperature profiles versus rainfall in Guam’s groundwater monitoring wells
  3. Baseline studies on ground and surface water quality and wetland ecology in watersheds and coastal zones surrounding the proposed new landfill sites
  4. Baseline studies to determine frequent/continuous levels of nitrogenous compounds, phosphorous, etc. with respect to time, location, and depth in the subsurface (i.e., vadose and groundwater zones)
  5. Baseline bromide/chloride ratios in groundwater to determine suitability of alternative disinfection techniques (specifically ozonation) for GWUDI declared wells
 

Modeling Issues:

Definition: Research aimed at developing means of predicting the fate and transport of containments in Guam’s freshwater systems.

  1. Application of existing soil erosion predicting models to various southern Guam watersheds to determine areas of reforestation
  2. Assist GWA with application of the MWH SOFT/WATER model to various hydraulic and water quality issues
  3. Modeling surface water contamination from non-point pollution sources, e.g., soil erosion in relation to surface runoff and rainfall
  4. Identify and quantify natural purification mechanisms, including nitrogen-cycle transformation at work in the Northern Guam Aquifer system
  5. Identification and mapping the sources, locations, movement, and fate of petroleum and other groundwater contaminants under northern Guam
  6. Spatial and temporal modeling of changes in wetlands and badlands in South Guam Watersheds
  7. Develop a 3-D groundwater flow model for the area around the new landfill site at Dan Dan
  8. dentify spatial and temporal trends in levels of contaminants of concern in Guam’s groundwater. Study to make use of Guam Waterworks Authority’s (GWA) archived water quality data base for regulated and non regulated contaminants currently monitored in accordance with the USEPA ‘Standardized Monitoring Framework’ under the Safe Drinking Water Act
 

Regulatory Issues:

Definition: Research to investigate the need for new regulations and the effectiveness of existing regulations that deal with Guam’s fresh water quality issues.

  1. 1. Examine the effectiveness and appropriateness of existing erosion control regulations for the reduction of soil erosion and determine whether these regulations being followed and develop new regulations as appropriate
 

New Technologies and Techniques:

Definition:Studies to investigate the development of, or application of new technologies to improve water quality.

  1. Research to examine the effectiveness of various local soils and substrate mixtures in reducing groundwater contamination of nitrate from septic tanks
  2. Produce a GIS based application for the Guam Waterworks Authority that readily visualizes spatial and temporal concentration changes and trends in contaminants of concern in Guam’s groundwater
  3. Design a means of tracking PCBs from land based waste disposal sites into Guam’s coastal waters
  4. Design a pilot study to evaluate the effectiveness of bio-based waste disposal systems using lined holding ponds and aquatic plants to assimilate nutrients/contaminants and reduce water volume by evaporative transpiration
  5. Pilot study evaluation of innovative aerobic wastewater treatment units versus conventional anaerobic systems for individual homes
 

II. WATER QUANTITY ISSUES

Definition: Research aimed at gaining a better understanding of the availability, deliverability and sustainability of Guam’s surface water, groundwater and rainwater resources.

  1. Develop water budgets for Guam’s surface and groundwater watersheds.
  2. Explore the feasibility of developing a separate surface water supply system for agricultural use in South Guam.
  3. Determine maximum pumping rates for each of Guam’s drinking water production wells, and impact of overall production at adjacent wells, adjacent groundwater sub-basins and the northern Guam lens in general.
  4. Re-evaluation of the North Guam Aquifer sustainable development estimates.
  5. Evaluate the impacts of land development on stream flow, runoff and erosion potential in central and southern Guam.
  6. Quantification and spatial distribution of surface water supplies in Southern Guam.
  7. Field measurements of evapo-transpiration rates in order to better understand and evaluate groundwater recharge on Guam.
  8. Research legal and environmental issues of stream flow depletion resulting from impoundments and surface water diversions.
  9. Develop a three dimensional groundwater flow model for the Yigo-Tumon trough aquifer for use in water quantity studies.
  10. Develop a hydraulic model and a GIS based utility resource management system for GWA’s water supply and wastewater systems.
  11. Expand and updating the rainfall database for Guam with emphasis on:
    • Monthly and annual rainfall distribution maps for the island.
    • Return periods of events calculation (recurrence interval estimates) of extreme rainfall events from 1 minute to 24 h.
    • Rainfall depth-duration-intensity-frequency relationships along with the aerial distribution of rainfall.
    • Long term rain fall variability.
  12. Impact of very large rainfall events on Guam e.g., flooding, erosion, etc.
  13. Continue studies to determine the response of the Northern Guam Lens to various rainfall events.
  14. Conduct feasibility studies for identifying potential sites for small-scale hydropower plant development in southern Guam.
 

III. WATERSHED BASELINE AND MANAGEMENT ISSUES

Definition: Watershed based research to determine best management practices for reduction in contamination in surface runoff and to provide information on Guam’s surface water sources and the required legislative framework required to protect these resources.

  1. Develop erosion control and rehabilitation plans for South Guam watersheds using risk assessment methods.
  2. Develop appropriate management strategies to protect and improve the quality of water supplied to the Ugum water treatment facility.
  3. Investigations to determine the adequacy of Guam’s existing laws dealing with water rights regarding the provision of economical and expeditious development of Guam’s water supply.
  4. Evaluate the accuracy and enforceability of Guam’s existing flood plain maps.
  5. Continue studies to provide more reliable information on sediment sources under varying watershed conditions.
  6. Undertake dye-trace, flow path mapping, and water chemistry studies related to runoff from Marine Drive, the International Airport, Tiyan, and the Harmon Industrial Park.
  7. Explore sources of sedimentation problems in Fena Reservoir
  8. Determine the impact of sedimentation processes on the biota of streams and the near shore marine environment
  9. Dye trace study to determine where waters exiting from the middle reaches of the Togcha River (interrupted river) reappear in the adjacent coastal belt
  10. Develop practical low-cost methods for reducing beach erosion in southern Guam
  11. Develop a synthesis of badland restoration practices, providing a comparative analysis of cost effectiveness and suitability for southern Guam watersheds
  12. Map and determine sediment loads impacting the Sigua River as a result of ‘off-roading’ activities within the watershed
  13. Determine the impact on soil erosion of ‘off-road’ recreational vehicle use in Guam’s watersheds. How will this be affected by the projected military build-up and what should we do about it?
 

IV. EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL TRAINING

Definition: Projects that lead to the public’s better understanding of water resources issues to include water resources training courses and workshops for k-12 students and teachers, the general public and island water resource managers and decision makers.

  1. Executive training on water resources issues for Legislators and Gov Guam senior management officials, including CCU
  2. Develop community water resources awareness and education projects
  3. Develop K-12 education projects on island water resources and pollution prevention.
  4. Develop sediment mitigation workshops for badlands as well as construction sites
  5. Promote water related intern programs for environmental science students in Gov Guam agencies. In particular, there is a need for an internship with GWA for water system modeling and geographic information systems
  6. Develop advanced courses in hydrology, hydraulics and water system modeling for engineers at GWA and Guam EPA
  7. Develop various water resources oriented GIS applications that would be useful to agency officials and others that could be made available to the general public
  8. Develop public education programs on the costs of water quality
  9. Develop public education on cradle-to-grave wastewater issues addressing sources of wastewater and methods of treatment and discharge or reuse
  10. Develop training modules and templates for the development of community based watershed management programs with emphasis on the restoration and re-vegetation of Guam’s bad land areas
  11. Develop teacher training courses in water resources related subjects
  12. Develop general public training in water resources issues especially in getting technical matters into a language the general public can understand
  13. Develop educational training and outreach programs within the community about the importance of protecting and preserving our watersheds and water resources. Educational outreach programs should begin with elementary schools in order to instill the importance of these issues at a young age
  14. Design research data driven training courses for Guam Waterworks Authority to facilitate improved management practices of the island’s water resource
  15. Develop and conduct a wastewater system hydraulic modeling course that parallels the current water system modeling course designed by WERI
  16. Upgrading the Northern Guam Aquifer Database to include original water resources information.
  17. Develop public education on the economics of sustainability Guam’s water resources
 
 

Research Priorities

Guam’s Critical Fresh Water Resources Research and Training Needs
Identified at Previous Advisory meetings
Updated at September 30, 2011 Meeting, Guam

 

I. GROUND, SURFACE, AND COASTAL WATER QUALITY

Impact Issues

Definition: Research that leads to a better understanding of or the possible solution to problems caused by the impact of mans activities or natural processes on Guam´s fresh water quality.

  1. Impact of the projected expansion of military infrastructure on the , aquifer, water supply and waste water disposal systems of the island.
  2. Impact of storm water runoff and ponding basins on groundwater quality.
  3. Impact of conventional septic tanks on the chemistry and biology of groundwater in northern Guam.
  4. Impact of Chamorro Land Trust and other non-regulated activities on land development over the Northern Guam Aquifer.
  5. Impact of sewer outfalls on the quality of streams and the nearshore environment.
  6. Impact of past use of banned pesticides and organic substances on surface and groundwater.
  7. Impact of agricultural activities (including water usage) on ground and surface water resources of Guam.
  8. Impact of existing and proposed future pumping rates on chloride levels in the aquifer, sub-basin by sub-basin, well by well.
  9. Beneficial ecological impact of primary vs. secondary wastewater discharges in remote coastal locations.
  10. Evaluate mitigation techniques for reducing the impact of Guam’s sewage treatment plants on the nutrient loading of receiving rivers, streams and coastal waters.
  11. Potential impact of quarrying activities on the northern Guam’s aquifer.
  12. Assess impacts of El Nino and other decadal and longer-scale drought/storm cycles on aquifer and/or surface catchment recharge, groundwater salinity, and/or other water quality/quantity parameters.
 

Baseline Issues:

Definition: Research that leads to a better understanding of existing levels of contaminants to serve as a basis to judge the effects of mans future activities on the quality of Guam’s fresh water resource.

  1. Baseline studies to determine if Guam’s drinking water wells fall under the U.S. EPA ter Under the Direct Influence of Surface Water (GWUDI) (GWUDI) rule.
  2. Baseline studies to establish background values of PCBs, pesticides, and heavy metals in estuaries and fresh waters island wide.
  3. Baseline studies to determine continuous salinity/temperature profiles versus rainfall in Guam’s groundwater monitoring wells.
  4. Baseline studies on ground and surface water quality and wetland ecology in watersheds and coastal zones surrounding the proposed new landfill sites.
  5. Baseline bromide/chloride ratios in groundwater to determine suitability of alternative disinfection techniques (specifically ozonation) for GWUDI declared wells.
 

Modeling Issues:

Definition: Research aimed at developing means of predicting the fate and transport of containments in Guam’s freshwater systems.

  1. Model best management practices for treatment of GWUDI declared drinking water production wells.
  2. Application of existing soil erosion predicting models to various southern Guam watersheds to determine areas of reforestation.
  3. Assist GWA with application of the MWH SOFT/WATER model to various hydraulic and water quality issues.
  4. Modeling surface water contamination from non-point pollution sources, e.g., soil erosion in relation to surface runoff and rainfall.
  5. Identify and quantify natural purification mechanisms at work in the Northern Guam Aquifer system.
  6. Development of a three dimensional groundwater flow model for the Yigo-Tumon trough aquifer for use in water quality studies.
  7. Identification and mapping the sources, locations, movement, and fate of petroleum and other groundwater contaminants under northern Guam.
  8. Spatial and temporal modeling of changes in wetlands and badlands in South Guam Watersheds .
  9. Develop a 3-D groundwater flow model for the area around the proposed new landfill site at Dan Dan.
  10. Identify spatial and temporal concentration changes and trends in contaminants of concern in Guam’s groundwater (dieldrin, chlordane, TCE, PCE, nitrate, chloride, microbiological components). Study to make use of GWA archived water quality data for regulated and non regulated contaminants currently monitored in accordance with the USEPA ‘Standardized Monitoring Framework’ under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
 

Regulatory Issues:

Definition: Research to investigate the need for new regulations and the effectiveness of existing regulations that deal with Guam’s fresh water quality issues.

  1. Impact of new U.S. EPA Ground Water Regulations on the operation of the GWA groundwater system, with emphasis on the development of Guam specific regulations that best match the requirements in U.S. EPA’s GWUDI rules.
  2. Examine the effectiveness and appropriateness of existing erosion control regulations for the reduction of soil erosion and determine whether these regulations being followed and develop new regulations as appropriate.
 

New Technologies:

Definition: Studies to investigate the development of, or application of new technologies to improve water quality.

  1. Research to examine the effectiveness of various local soils and substrate mixtures in reducing groundwater contamination of nitrate from septic tanks.
  2. Research engineering and design options for below ground storage technologies for rainwater harvesting and surface water retention.
 

II. WATER QUANTITY ISSUES

Definition: Research aimed at gaining a better understanding of the availability, deliverability and sustainability of Guam’s surface water, groundwater and rainwater resources.

  1. Develop water budgets for Guam’s surface and groundwater watersheds.
  2. Explore the feasibility of developing a separate surface water supply system for agricultural use in South Guam.
  3. Determine maximum pumping rates for each of Guam’s drinking water production wells, and impact of overall production at adjacent wells, adjacent groundwater sub-basins and the northern Guam lens in general.
  4. Re-evaluation of the North Guam Aquifer sustainable development estimates.
  5. Evaluate the impacts of land development on stream flow, runoff and erosion potential in central and southern Guam.
  6. Quantification and spatial distribution of surface water supplies in Southern Guam.
  7. Field measurements of evapo-transpiration rates in order to better understand and evaluate groundwater recharge on Guam.
  8. Research legal and environmental issues of stream flow depletion resulting from impoundments and surface water diversions.
  9. Develop a three dimensional groundwater flow model for the Yigo-Tumon trough aquifer for use in water quantity studies.
  10. Develop a hydraulic model and a GIS based utility resource management system for GWA’s water supply and wastewater systems.
  11. Expand and updating the rainfall database for Guam with emphasis on:
    • Monthly and annual rainfall distribution maps for the island.
    • Return periods of events calculation (recurrence interval estimates) of extreme rainfall events from 1 minute to 24 h.
    • Rainfall depth-duration-intensity-frequency relationships along with the aerial distribution of rainfall.
    • Long term rain fall variability.
  12. Impact of very large rainfall events on Guam e.g., flooding, erosion, etc.
  13. Continue studies to determine the response of the Northern Guam Lens to various rainfall events.
  14. Conduct feasibility studies for identifying potential sites for small-scale hydropower plant development in southern Guam.
 

III. WATERSHED BASELINE AND MANAGEMENT ISSUES

Definition: Watershed based research to determine best management practices for reduction in contamination in surface runoff and to provide information on Guam’s surface water sources and the required legislative framework required to protect these resources.

  1. Develop erosion control and rehabilitation plans for South Guam watersheds using risk assessment methods.
  2. Develop appropriate management strategies to protect and improve the quality of water supplied to the Ugum water treatment facility.
  3. Investigations to determine the adequacy of Guam’s existing laws dealing with water rights regarding the provision of economical and expeditious development of Guam’s water supply.
  4. Evaluate the accuracy and enforceability of Guam’s existing flood plain maps.
  5. Continue studies to provide more reliable information on sediment sources under varying watershed conditions.
  6. Undertake dye-trace, flow path mapping, and water chemistry studies related to runoff from Marine Drive, the International Airport, Tiyan, and the Harmon Industrial Park.
  7. Development of a watershed atlas for south Guam Watersheds.
  8. Explore sources of sedimentation problems in Fena Reservoir .
  9. Determine the impact of sedimentation processes on the biota of streams and the near shore marine environment.
  10. Dye trace study to determine where waters exiting from the middle reaches of the Togcha River (interrupted river) reappear in the adjacent coastal belt.
  11. Develop practical low-cost methods for reducing beach erosion in southern Guam.
  12. Develop a synthesis of badland restoration practices, providing a comparative analysis of cost effectiveness and suitability for southern Guam watersheds.
  13. Map and determine sediment loads impacting the Sigua River as a result of ‘off-roading’ activities within the watershed.
  14. Determine the impact on soil erosion of ‘off-road’ recreational vehicle use in Guam’s watersheds. How will this be affected by the projected military build-up and what should we do about it? .
  15. LIDAR based drainage delineations of all southern Guam watersheds.
 

IV. EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL TRAINING

Definition: Projects that lead to the public’s better understanding of water resources issues to include water resources training courses and workshops for k-12 students and teachers, the general public and island water resource managers and decision makers.

  1. Executive training on water resources issues for Legislators and Gov Guam senior management officials, including CCU.
  2. Develop community water resources awareness and education projects.
  3. Develop K-12 education projects on island water resources and pollution prevention similar to that developed by WERI for school teachers in FSM.
  4. Develop sediment mitigation workshops for badlands as well as construction sites.
  5. Promote water related intern programs for environmental science students in Gov Guam agencies. In particular, there is a need for an internship with GWA for water system modeling and geographic information systems.
  6. Develop advanced courses in hydrology, hydraulics and water system modeling for engineers at GWA and Guam EPA.
  7. Develop various water resources oriented GIS applications that would be useful to agency officials and others that could be made available to the general public.
  8. Develop public education programs on the costs of water quality.
  9. Develop water and waste water system operator’s certification training.
  10. Develop programs to provide general education of the public on how to provide safe drinking water in their homes.
  11. Develop training modules and templates for the development of community based watershed management programs.
  12. Develop teacher training courses in water resources related subjects.
  13. Develop general public training in water resources issues especially in getting technical matters into a language the general public can understand.
  14. Outreach programs to educate citizens without access to the World Wide Web.
  15. Develop educational training and outreach programs within the community about the importance of protecting and preserving our water resources. Educational outreach programs should begin with elementary schools in order to instill the importance of these issues at a young age.
  16. Design research data driven training courses for Guam Waterworks Authority to facilitate improved management practices of the island’s water resource.
  17. Develop and conduct a wastewater system hydraulic modeling course that parallels the current water system modeling course designed by WERI.

Approved 2016 Projects:

Completed 2016 Projects:

Completed 2015 Projects:

Completed 2014 Projects:

Completed 2013 Projects:

Completed 2012 Projects:

Completed 2012 Projects:

Completed 2011 Projects:

Completed 2010 Projects:

Completed 2009 Projects:

Completed 2008 Projects:

Completed 2007 Projects:

Completed 2006 Projects:

USGS Sponsored Research (FSM)

FSM’S CRITICAL WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH, EDUCATION AND TRAINING NEEDS
Identified at October 8, 2015 FSM Advisory Council Meeting, Pohnpei 
Updated at October 2015

 

I. GROUND, SURFACE, AND COASTAL WATER QUALITY
Impact Issues
Definition: Research that leads to a better understanding of, or the possible solution to, problems caused by the impact of man’s activities or natural processes on FSM’s fresh water quality.

1. Impact of population growth, agricultural activities and road construction on upland erosion on high islands. 
2. Impact of septic tanks and pit toilets on surface and groundwater resources of high and low islands of the FSM.
3. Impact of climate variability on the incidence of water borne diseases in the FSM.
4. Impact of aqueous discharges from unregulated municipal dump sites and shore based sewage treatment plants in the FSM on receiving waters and associated aquatic resources, with emphasis on ecological and/or human health effects.
5. Impact of watershed mismanagement and contaminant soil erosion on species diversity and abundance of aquatic resources within the watershed and adjacent coastal waters.
6. Implementation of sustainable monitoring technology to evaluate the effectiveness of wastewater treatment plants in the FSM.
7. Impact of dump sites, pig pen, and burial sites on ground and surface water and potential impact on public health. 

Baseline Issues
Definition: Research that leads to a better understanding of existing levels of contaminants to serve as a basis to judge the effects of mans future activities on the quality of FSM’s freshwater resources.

1. Baseline studies of the quality of raw water sources to determine treatment requirements to make acceptable for human consumption.
2. Baseline studies to determine potential health risks associated with working in taro patches and other stagnant bodies of water utilized for the production of food.
3. Baseline studies of biological and chemical contaminants in streams, rivers and coastal areas impacted by anthropogenic activities. 
4. Expand the physical, chemical and biological water quality database for groundwater, surface water, rooftop rainwater catchment systems and small community water supply systems throughout the FSM.
5. Inventories of contaminant sources impacting FSM water resources.

Modeling Issues
Definition: Research aimed at developing means of predicting the fate and transport of contaminants in FSM’s freshwater systems

1. Extend the modeling studies completed early for the Nanpil River and Senipehn Rivers, connecting rainfall variability and sediment production, to other major river systems in the FSM.
2. Generate temporal and spatial datasets for understanding and predicting the nature and extent of watershed discharge to nearshore waters, particularly those where ongoing community-based management activities exist.
3. Develop watershed management recommendations for reducing soil erosion in Kosrae’s watersheds.

Regulatory/Management Issues
Definition: Research to investigate the need for new regulations and the effectiveness of existing regulations that deal with FSM’s freshwater quality issues

1. Develop a community based watershed management programs to improve water quality of community water systems in the FSM.
2. Develop a collaborative mechanism between Pohnpei CSP, PUC and EPA that focuses on watershed sustainability.

Development of or Application of New Technologies to Water Quality Issues
Definition: Studies to investigate the development of, or application of, new technologies to improve water quality such as:

1. Explore the use of aerobic septic tank processes to improve leachate quality and possibly reduce impacts of sewage treatment plant outflows
2. Undertake a pilot study designed to improve the quality of the local village water systems in the FSM.
3. Undertake pilot study designed to improve wastewater treatment system in the FSM including treatment and reuse of sewage sludge.
4. Develop safe, inexpensive, solar sterilization techniques and improved, manageable desalination units.
5. Develop and implement novel bioengineering methods and techniques to reduce the impact of stormwater runoff and sedimentation on the biodiversity of coastal marine ecosystems.
6. Develop innovative pig waste disposal systems that emphasize ‘value added’ benefits (e.g. methane gas collection and use).

II. WATER QUANTITY PROJECTS
Definition: Research aimed at gaining a better understanding of the availability, deliverability and sustainability of FSM’s surface water, groundwater and rainwater resources.

1. Evaluate the affects of newly constructed PUC wells on groundwater levels and surface water availability in the FSM.
2. Conduct a study to determine: a) stream flow variability, rainfall runoff characteristics and sediment production in the Nanepil River, and (b) develop system operation for the Nanpil Water Treatment, Pohnpei Island.
3. Review existing FSM regulations concerning surface and groundwater rights and make recommendations as to the adequacy of existing legislation and need for future legislation.
4. Continue the development of appropriate groundwater management plans for low and high islands throughout the FSM.
5. Evaluate water rights issues that currently serve as stumbling blocks to adequate drinking water supply development throughout the FSM.
6. Initiate a broad-based inventory of groundwater availability for the high islands of the FSM.
7. Examine the effects of long-term climate change on the water supplies of the islands in the FSM.
8. Baseline studies to determine surface water, groundwater and rain catchment water consumption rates in Yap State.
9. Model water distribution systems in the FSM in order to facilitate the detection, quantification and repair of water leaks.
10. Impact of the recently constructed drinking water wells in Palikir, Pohnpei on adjacent stream flow and sustainable pumping rates of nearby wells. Such studies should include the development of test guidelines to accurately predict the impact of further well construction on surface water availability.
11. Development of community water sources using low-tech slow sand filtration techniques for water purification purposes in the FSM .
12. Conduct a study to determine: a) seasonal changes in groundwater availability in cultivated taro patches in the FSM and b) the impact of these activities on water table fluctuations in adjacent water wells . 13. Develop improved rainfall distribution maps for the FSM.
14. Studies of water-use and appropriate resource management strategies for atoll islands using existing models and other newly-available tools, along with existing and new field data.
15. Evaluate the design and operation of the Southern and Northern Yap water systems, to determine the required source water, system capacity, storage, and system operation to provide 24-hour water service to customers.

III. EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL TRAINING
Definition: Projects that lead to the public’s better understanding of water resources issues to include water resources training courses and workshops for k-12 students and teachers, the general public and island water resource managers and decision makers.

1. Teacher training on island water resources topics in cooperation with College of Micronesia and the FSM State Departments of Education. Departments of Education.
2. Continue to develop and refine educational materials for schools, youth groups and the general public on all relevant aspects of environmental stewardship related to the management, preservation and protection of water resources (including waste disposal problems and solutions e.g., portable pig-pens, aerobic septic system, burial practices) in the FSM. Such materials should perhaps also include information on rainwater harvesting techniques and career opportunities for students seeking professions in the water resources/environmental science arena.
3. Continue atoll Groundwater Modeling tool development and workshops in all the FSM States with atoll islands.
4. Conduct water quality training workshops that provide participants with a basic understanding of the key physical, chemical and biological water quality parameters and analyses. 
5. Conduct water and wastewater system operator training programs for the FSM.
6. Conduct training on septic tank construction, maintenance, and sewer system maintenance for the FSM.
7. Conduct training on pump operation, repair, and maintenance for the FSM.
8. Develop a digital atlas (web-based) of natural resources for the island of the FSM. The digital atlas should be a web-based resources center that describes the physical and environmental characteristics of islands
9. Provide training course on “Basic Hydraulics and us.e of EPANET Model” for the FSM’s water system operators.
All education and training programs should be followed with an assessment of what actions and or additional training might be required of local agencies in order to continue improvements to the water supply systems

 

FSM’S CRITICAL WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH, EDUCATION AND TRAINING NEEDS
Identified at Previous Advisory Council Meetings 
Updated at October 10, 2013 Meeting, Pohnpei

 

I. GROUND, SURFACE, AND COASTAL WATER QUALITY

Impact Issues

Definition:Research that leads to a better understanding of, or the possible solution to, problems caused by the impact of mans activities or natural processes on FSM’s fresh water quality.

  1. Impact of population growth, agricultural activities and road construction on upland erosion on high islands. Of particular interest is the impact of new development and population growth on Kosrae’s ground water quality.
  2. Impact of septic tanks and pit toilets on surface and ground water resources of high and low islands of FSM
  3. Impact of climate variability on the incidence of water borne diseases in the FSM
  4. Impact of aqueous discharges from unregulated municipal dump sites and shore based sewage treatment plants in the FSM on receiving waters and associated aquatic resources, with emphasis on ecological and/or human health effects
  5. Impact of watershed mismanagement and concomitant soil erosion processes on species diversity and abundance of aquatic resources within the watershed and adjacent coastal waters
  6. Update inventories of contaminant sources impacting FSM water resources
  7. Implementation of more advance, yet sustainable, wastewater quality monitoring technologies to more effectively assess operation of treatment plants and any other potentially harmful discharges
  8. Impact of projected resort development and increased tourism on water resources in Yap
 

Baseline Issues:

Definition:Research that leads to a better understanding of existing levels of contaminants to serve as a basis to judge the effects of mans future activities on the quality of FSM’s freshwater resources.

  1. Baseline studies of the quality of raw water sources to determine treatment requirements to make these supplies acceptable for human consumption.
  2. Baseline studies to determine potential health risks associated with working in taro patches and other stagnant bodies of water utilized for the production of food, with emphasis on incidence of infectious diseases (Dengue Fever, Leptospirosis) and vector control
  3. Baseline studies of biological and chemical contaminants (including nutrients) in streams, rivers and coastal areas impacted by anthropogenic activities including solid waste disposal facilities, sewage treatment plants, land clearing and agricultural practices
  4. Expand the physical, chemical and biological water quality database for groundwater, surface water, rooftop rainwater catchment systems and small community water supply systems throughout the FSM
 

Modeling Issues:

Definition: Research aimed at developing means of predicting the fate and transport of contaminants in FSM’s freshwater systems

  1. Extend the modeling studies recently completed for the Nanpil River and Senipehn Rivers, connecting rainfall variability and sediment production, to other major river systems in FSM
  2. Generate temporal and spatial datasets for understanding and predicting the nature and extent of watershed discharge to nearshore waters, particularly those where ongoing community-based management activities exist
  3. Develop watershed management recommendations for reducing soil erosion in Kosrae’s watersheds.
 

Regulatory/ Management Issues:

Definition: Research to investigate the need for new regulations and the effectiveness of existing regulations that deal with FSM’s freshwater quality issues.

  1. Develop a community based watershed management programs to improve water quality of community water systems in FSM
  2. Develop a collaborative mechanism between Pohnpei CSP, PUC and EPA that focuses on watershed sustainability. Currently PUC only manages the service they provide their customers and pay little to no attention to the well being of the watershed from which the source water is taken
 

Development of or Application of New Technologies to Water Quality Issues:

Definition: Studies to investigate the development of, or application of, new technologies to improve water quality such as:

  1. Explore the use of aerobic septic tank processes to improve leachate quality and possibly reduce impacts of sewage treatment plant outflows
  2. Undertake a pilot study designed to improve local village water systems in FSM
  3. Undertake pilot study designed to improve wastewater treatment system in FSM
  4. Development of safe, inexpensive, solar sterilization techniques and improved and manageable desalination units
  5. Develop and implement novel bioengineering methods and techniques to reduce the impact of stormwater runoff and sedimentation on the biodiversity of coastal marine ecosystems
  6. Develop innovative pig waste disposal systems that emphasize ‘value added’ benefits (e.g. methane gas collection and use)
 

II. WATER QUANTITY PROJECTS

Definition: Research aimed at gaining a better understanding of the availability, deliverability and sustainability of FSM’s surface water, groundwater and rainwater resources.

  1. Evaluate the affects of newly constructed PUC wells on groundwater levels and surface water availability in FSM
  2. Conduct a study to determine: a) stream flow variability, rainfall runoff characteristics and sediment production in the Nanepil River, and (b) develop system operation for the Nanpil Water Treatment, Pohnpei Island.
  3. Review existing FSM regulations concerning surface and groundwater rights and make recommendations as to the adequacy of existing legislation and need for future legislation
  4. Continue the development of appropriate groundwater management plans for low and high islands throughout the FSM
  5. Evaluate water rights issues that currently serve as stumbling blocks to adequate drinking water supply development throughout FSM
  6. Initiate a broad-based inventory of groundwater availability for the high islands of FSM
  7. Develop and refine new and existing water system distribution models for Weno, and Pohnpei Island, to determine the required source water, system capacity, storage, fate of chloride, and system operation to provide 24-hour water service to consumers
  8. Examine the effects of long-term climate change on the water supplies of the islands in the FSM
  9. Baseline studies to determine surface water, groundwater and rain catchment water consumption rates in Yap State
  10. Model water distribution systems in FSM in order to facilitate the detection, quantification and repair of water leaks
  11. Impact of the recently constructed drinking water wells in Palikir, Pohnpei on adjacent stream flow and sustainable pumping rates of nearby wells. Such studies should include the development of test guidelines to accurately predict the impact of further well construction on surface water availability
  12. Development of community water sources using low-tech slow sand filtration techniques for water purification purposes in FSM
  13. Conduct a study to determine: a) seasonal changes in groundwater availability in cultivated taro patches in the FSM and b) the impact of these activities on water table fluctuations in adjacent water wells
  14. Develop improved rainfall distribution maps for the FSM
  15. Studies of water-use and appropriate resource management strategies for atoll islands using existing models and other newly-available tools, along with existing and new field data
  16. Evaluate the design and operation of the Southern Yap water system, to determine the required source water, system capacity, storage, and system operation to provide 24-hour water service to customers.
 

III. EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL TRAINING

Definition:Projects that lead to the public’s better understanding of water resources issues to include water resources training courses and workshops for k-12 students and teachers, the general public and island water resource managers and decision makers.

  1. Teacher training on island water resources topics in cooperation with College of Micronesia and FSM and State Departments of Education. This training should be timed to coincide with training programs sponsored by the FSM and State Departments of Education
  2. Continue to develop and refine educational materials for schools, youth groups and the general public on all relevant aspects of environmental stewardship related to the management, preservation and protection of water resources (including waste disposal problems and solutions e.g., portable pig-pens, aerobic septic system, burial practices) in the FSM. Such materials should perhaps also include information on rainwater harvesting techniques and career opportunities for students seeking professions in the water resources/environmental science arena
  3. Continue ‘Atolls Groundwater Modeling workshops in all FSM States with atoll islands
  4. Conduct water quality training workshops that provide participants with a basic understanding of key physical, chemical and biological water quality parameters and hands-on experiences in their analysis (Kosrae)
  5. Conduct leak detection training workshops in the FSM (Yap and Chuuk)
  6. Conduct water and wastewater system operator training programs for the FSM
  7. Conduct training on septic tank construction, maintenance, and sewer system maintenance for the FMS
  8. Conduct training on pump operation, repair, and maintenance for the FSM

All education and training programs should be followed with an assessment of what actions and or additional training might be required of local agencies in order to continue improvements to the water supply systems

 
 

Research Priorities

FSM’s Critical Water Resources Research Needs 
Identified at Previous Advisory meetings
Updated at October 4, 2011 Meeting, Chuuk

 

I. GROUND, SURFACE, AND COASTAL WATER QUALITY

Impact Issues

Definition: Research that leads to a better understanding of, or the possible solution to, problems caused by the impact of mans activities or natural processes on FSM’s fresh water quality.

  1. Impact of population growth, agricultural activities and road construction on upland erosion on high islands. Of particular interest are sites surrounding new road construction on Kosrae Island and sites within Pohnpei watersheds.
  2. Impact of burial practices, septic tanks, pit toilets, and piggeries on surface and ground water resources of high and low islands of FSM.
  3. Impact of climate variability on the incidence of water borne diseases in the FSM.
  4. Impact of using treated wastewater for non potable purposes in commercial areas of FSM.
  5. Impact of unregulated solid waste disposal and illegal dumpsites in FSM.
  6. Impact of aqueous discharges from unregulated municipal dump sites and shore based sewage treatment plants in the FSM on receiving waters and associated aquatic resources, with emphasis on ecological and/or human health effects.
  7. Impact of watershed mismanagement and concomitant soil erosion processes on species diversity and abundance of aquatic resources within the watershed and adjacent coastal waters.
  8. Update inventories of contaminant sources impacting FSM water resources.
 

Baseline Issues:

Definition: Research that leads to a better understanding of existing levels of contaminants to serve as a basis to judge the effects of mans future activities on the quality of FSM’s freshwater resources.

  1. Baseline studies of the quality of raw water sources to determine treatment requirements to make these supplies acceptable for human consumption.
  2. Baseline studies to determine potential health risks associated with working in taro patches and other stagnant bodies of water utilized for the production of food, with emphasis on incidence of infectious diseases (Dengue fever, Leptospirosis) and vector control.
  3. Baseline studies of biological and chemical contaminants (including nutrients) in streams, rivers and coastal areas impacted by anthropogenic activities including solid waste disposal facilities, sewage treatment plants, land clearing and agricultural practices.
  4. Expand the physical, chemical and biological water quality database for groundwater, surface water, rooftop rainwater catchment systems, and small community water supply systems throughout FSM.
  5. Develop an inventory of existing wastewater treatment facilities and corresponding excess sludge handling practices in the FSM; summarize related health and environmental issues in this field along with currently known plans for facility upgrades, and itemize suggestions for corrective actions and potential targets for subsequent feasibility studies.
 

Modeling Issues:

Definition: Research aimed at developing means of predicting the fate and transport of contaminants in FSM’s freshwater systems.

  1. Model future impact of climate change on rainfall distribution and abundance in FSM.
  2. Extend the modeling studies recently completed for the Nanpil River and Senipehn Rivers, connecting rainfall variability and sediment production, to other major river systems in FSM.
  3. Generate temporal and spatial datasets for understanding and predicting the nature and extent of watershed discharge to nearshore waters, particularly those where ongoing community-based management activities exist.
 

Regulatory/ Management Issues:

Definition: Research to investigate the need for new regulations and the effectiveness of existing regulations that deal with FSM’s freshwater quality issues.

  1. Develop a community based watershed management programs to improve water quality of community water systems in FSM.
  2. Develop a collaborative mechanism between Pohnpei CSP, PUC and EPA that focuses on watershed sustainability. Currently PUC only manages the service they provide their customers and pay little to no attention to the well being of the watershed from which the source water is taken.
  3. Develop best management practices for local water bottling companies and community water systems in the FSM.
 

Development of or Application of New Technologies to Water Quality Issues:

Definition: Studies to investigate the development of, or application of, new technologies to improve water quality such as:

  1. Explore the use of aerobic septic tank processes to improve leachate quality and possibly reduce sewage treatment plant outflows.
  2. Undertake a pilot study designed to improve local village water systems in FSM.
  3. Development of safe, inexpensive, solar sterilization techniques and improved and manageable desalination units.
  4. Develop and implement novel bioengineering methods and techniques to reduce the impact of stormwater runoff and sedimentation on the biodiversity of coastal marine ecosystems.
  5. Undertake innovative technology research to mitigate negative impacts of ocean outfall sewage disposal systems in FSM.
  6. Develop innovative pig waste disposal systems that emphasize ‘value added’ benefits (e.g. methane gas collection and use).
 

II. WATER QUANTITY PROJECTS

Definition: Research aimed at gaining a better understanding of the availability, deliverability and sustainability of FSM’s surface water, groundwater and rainwater resources.

  1. Evaluate the affects of newly constructed PUC wells on groundwater levels and surface water availability in FSM.
  2. Extend studies currently underway to determine stream flow variability, rainfall runoff characteristics and sediment production in the Nanepil River, to other major rivers in FSM.
  3. Review existing FSM regulations concerning surface and groundwater rights and make recommendations as to the adequacy of existing legislation and need for future legislation.
  4. Continue the development of appropriate groundwater management plans for low and high islands throughout the FSM.
  5. Evaluate water rights issues that currently serve as stumbling blocks to adequate drinking water supply development throughout FSM.
  6. Initiate a broad-based groundwater inventory study of the high islands of FSM.
  7. Develop and refine new and existing water system distribution models for Weno, and Pohnpei Island, to determine the required source water, system capacity, storage, and system operation to provide 24-hour water service to consumers.
  8. Examine the effects of long-term climate change on the water supplies of the islands in the FSM.
  9. Investigate the use of individual or small community solar desalinization to provide alternative sources of freshwater during drought conditions.
  10. Baseline studies to determine surface water, groundwater and rain catchment water consumption rates in Yap State.
  11. Model water distribution systems in FSM in order to facilitate the detection, quantification and repair of water leaks.
  12. Impact of the recently constructed drinking water wells in Palikir, Pohnpei on adjacent stream flow and sustainable pumping rates of nearby wells. Such studies should include the development of test guidelines to accurately predict the impact of further well construction on surface water availability.
  13. Conduct feasibility studies for the construction of small-scale hydropower plants in high islands of the FSM to supplement existing fossil fuel dependant power plants.
  14. Stream flow measurements (and water quality parameters) for surface waters utilized for drinking water supplies.
  15. Development of community water sources using low-tech slow sand filtration techniques for water purification purposes in FSM .
  16. Conduct a study to determine: a) seasonal changes in groundwater availability in cultivated taro patches in the FSM and b) the impact of these activities on water table fluctuations in adjacent water wells .
  17. Continued collections, storage and assessment of rainfall data from the Nahna Laud rain gage system in Pohnpei, FSM.
  18. Develop improved rainfall distribution maps for the FSM.
  19. Develop models of demand, use, and management of water resources on main islands of the FSM including the creation of a GIS data-base
  20. Studies of water-use and appropriate resource management strategies for atoll islands using existing models and other newly-available tools, along with existing and new field data
 

III. EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL TRAINING

Definition: Projects that lead to the public’s better understanding of water resources issues to include water resources training courses and workshops for k-12 students and teachers, the general public and island water resource managers and decision makers.

  1. Teacher training on island water resources topics in cooperation with College of Micronesia and FSM and State Departments of Education. This training should be timed to coincide with training programs sponsored by the FSM and State Departments of Education .
  2. Training in GIS applications in soil erosion and watershed management .
  3. Continue to develop and refine educational materials for schools, youth groups and the general public on all relevant aspects of environmental stewardship related to the management, preservation and protection of water resources (including waste disposal problems and solutions e.g., portable pig-pens, aerobic septic system) in the FSM. Such materials should perhaps also include information on rainwater harvesting techniques and career opportunities for students seeking professions in the water resources/environmental science arena .
  4. Design and conduct an education campaign that explains why water users in Kosrae should pay for their public water supply .
  5. Continue ‘Atolls Groundwater Modeling workshops in all FSM States with atoll islands .
  6. Training in basis physical, chemical and biological water quality parameters .
  7. Conduct leak detection and GIS training workshops .
  8. Conduct water and wastewater system operator training programs for the FSM.

All education and training programs should be followed with an assessment of what actions and or additional training might be required of local agencies in order to continue improvements to the water supply systems

Approved 2016 Projects:

Completed 2016 Projects:

Completed 2015 Projects:

Completed 2014 Projects:

Completed 2013 Projects:

Completed 2012 Projects:

Completed 2011 Projects:

Completed 2010 Projects:

Completed 2009 Projects:

Completed 2008 Projects:

Completed 2007 Projects:

Completed 2006 Projects:

USGS Sponsored Research (CNMI)

CNMI’S CRITICAL WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH, EDUCATION AND TRAINING NEEDS
Identified at October 15, 2015, Saipan Advisory Council Meeting 
Updated October 15, 2015

 

I. GROUND, SURFACE, AND COASTAL WATER QUALITY
Impact Issues
Definition: Research that leads to a better understanding of, or the possible solution to, problems caused by the impact of man’s activities or natural processes on CNMI’s fresh water quality.
1. Impact of septic tanks and other waste disposal systems on ammonium, nitrate, and nitrite levels in surrounding soil and underlying groundwater
2. Impact of urban runoff on the chemical integrity and ecological health of nearshore environments in the CNMI, with emphasis on storm water induced overflows in wastewater collection systems, unregulated wastewater discharges, and illegal hook-ups into storm water drainage systems
3. Develop a GIS database of septic tank locations in Saipan to facilitate the determination of their impact on the groundwater quality of adjacent drinking water production wells
4. Impact of historical and recent land use activities on ground and surface water quality and production 
5. Impact of contaminants released into surface waters from ‘Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) and other waste disposal sites in the CNMI, on aquatic resources of local importance
6. Impacts of El Nino and other decadal and longer-scale drought/storm cycles on aquifer and/or surface catchment recharge, groundwater salinity, and/or other water quality/quantity parameters

Baseline Issues
Definition: Research that leads to a better understanding of existing levels of contaminants to serve as a basis to judge the effects of mans future activities on the quality of CNMI’s fresh water resources
1. Baseline levels of recalcitrant chemical contaminants in aquatic biomonitors and fisheries resources within the CNMI, with emphasis on near-shore waters impacted by freshwater discharges of one kind or another.
2. Establish season and usage related changes in salinity in drinking waters production wells 
3. Develop an inventory of existing wastewater treatment facilities and corresponding excess sludge handling practices in the CNMI; suggest potential modifications to the treatment systems that would lead to reduced yields of excess sludge; and explore avenues for enhancing sustainability, including energy recovery and beneficial use of excess sludge
4. Determine the adequacy of the Saipan’s existing storm water management facilities 

Modeling Issues
Definition: Research aimed at developing means of predicting the fate and transport of contaminants in CNMI’s freshwater systems
1. Model the fate and transport of chemical and biological contaminants through CNMI’s aquifers
2. Conduct modeling studies and other hydrogeology investigations to assist in the development of new groundwater resources and the regulation of existing pumping to improve the salinity problems in the public drinking water system
3. Develop appropriate R-factors for use in the ‘Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation’ for the islands of the CNMI
4. Develop a GIS-database for prioritizing sewer connection for CUC, customers

Regulatory Issues
Definition: Research to investigate the need for new regulations and the effectiveness of existing regulations that deal with CNMI’s fresh water quality issues
1. Assess appropriateness of applying zones of mixing of toxics in wastewater effluent in the CNMI
2. Determine appropriate well head protection policies or zone of influence protection policies for islands within the CNMI

Development of or Application of New Technologies to Water Quality Issues
Definition: Studies to investigate the development of, or application of, new technologies to improve water quality in a tropical island settings
1. Examine the use and /or efficacy on of innovative processes to improve the quality of storm water best management practices (BMPs)
2. Examine the effectiveness of various local soils and substrate mixtures in reducing groundwater contamination of nitrogenous compounds from septic tanks
3. Identify and evaluate better indicators for bacterial contamination of ground and surface waters in tropical regions
4. Provide a critical evaluation of the best available technologies and processes for converting Saipan’s brackish groundwater into a potable drinking water supply
6. Study the feasibility of subdivision level sewage treatment systems
7. Assessment of new technologies and methodologies for treatment and disposal of excess sludge from sewage treatment plants on Saipan.
8. Develop appropriate design criteria for water catchment systems that improve the quality of surface runoff and prevent flooding for watersheds in Saipan
9. Treatment optimization for biosolid management from Saipan’s STP with a view towards agricultural use and other land based applications
10. Develop criteria for fresh water bio-indicator use in the CNMI and evaluate potential candidate species.

II. WATER QUANTITY PROJECTS
Definition: Research aimed at gaining a better understanding of the availability, deliverability and sustainability of CNMI’s surface water, groundwater and rainwater resources
1. Develop models of demand, use, and management of water resources in the CNMI including the creation of a GIS data-base that includes the well pump production data
2. Assess various strategies for developing 24-hour water in the Saipan water supply system
3. Develop water budget for Saipan groundwater for each aquifer
4. Examine the feasibility of catching, treating, and storing large quantities of storm water in drainages such as the Garapan watershed in order to provide flood control and as a source of high quality water for the CUC 
5. Evaluate the hydrologic impacts of ENSO droughts, typhoons, etc. on ground water levels in major aquifers in Saipan
6. Evaluate the potential of Rota’s water caves to meet future demands of the island, and the hydrology of the Sabana watershed that feeds them
7. Explore the use of Saipan’s springs as an additional sources of drinking water
8. Conduct specific investigations in the area of water use, the data of which can be used to update existing master plans 
9. Examine well pumping rates and salinity levels to develop optimized pumping rates and well-field capacities 
10. Improve existing rainfall data-bases for the CMNI with records collected at least on a daily and preferably on an hourly basis. Currently, the only available data (from Saipan airport) is extremely limited and of questionable reliability 
11. Develop a realistic estimate of water production and water demands in each sub-region of Saipan’s water distribution system
12. Determine the rate of discharge for selected well fields in Saipan 
13. Identify potential well fields on the CNMI that can be developed to provide better quality drinking water, and identify current production wells that should be taken off line
14. Develop the relationship between rainfall and runoff coefficients to determine annual yield of runoff from a defined catchment area

III. WATERSHED BASELINE MODELING AND MANAGEMENT ISSUES
Definition: Watershed based research to determine best management practices for reduction in contamination in surface runoff and to provide information on CNMI’s surface water sources and the required legislative framework required to protect these resources.
1. Develop GIS database for soil erosion and watershed management in the CNMI
2. Develop an updated watershed atlas for the CNMI. This atlas would:
o Build on the atlas of water resources developed previously
o Provide detailed watershed delineation and stream geometry for all major watersheds
o Identify sink holes, wetlands and badland areas
o Delineating surface water flows during storm events
o Identify potential sources and abundances of contaminants within each watershed
o Information would be provided in a coordinated GIS frame work with maps (and GIS coverage) available to regulating agencies and to private citizens thought the world wide web
3. Model BMP for ‘polluted’ watersheds within the CNMI
4. Establish surface runoff GIS databases for watershed/sub watersheds that highlight the influence of such variables as slope, soil type, permeability and vegetation coverage on discharge rates
5. Establish levels of pesticides in watersheds throughout the CNMI. Include old, unregistered pesticides and arsenicals, as well as those currently in use
6. Impact of urban runoff on aqueous chemistry and contaminant levels in biotic components in the National Park wetland areas in the vicinity of American Memorial Park, Saipan
7. Watershed delineating and protection plans for Rota Caves on Rota and the Maui II well (infiltration gallery) in Tinian. Both features are potentially important sources of drinking water to island residents
8. Establish a rain-gage network on Rota and Tinian in order to provide a realistic estimate of water production over wet and dry seasons

IV. EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL TRAINING
Definition: Projects that lead to the public’s better understanding of water resources issues to include information dissemination needs, water resources training courses and workshops for k-12 students and teachers, the general public and island water resource managers and decision makers
1. Initiate programs that would educate elected officials, policy makers and utility board members on water related issues such as sources of water, desalinization, and utility waters supply concerns
2. Improve and expand water resources information dissemination
3. Provide brochures and accompanying workshops on rainwater catchment system design, construction, materials and water quality considerations
4. Provide a water resources educational campaign targeting teachers and school children 
5. Provide a wastewater treatment methods educational campaign targeting teachers and school children in the CNMI 
6. Conduct water and wastewater system operator training programs for CUC employees and other water resources professionals in the CNMI
7. Conduct a farmer education program aimed at establishing a wellhead protection, or zone of influence protection zone, for the Tinian water tunnel
8. Provide workshops on alternative wastewater disposal technologies for the CNMI
9. Provide training on cost, operation and maintenance of desalinization equipment
10. Streamline all agency natural resource data collections into a central repository. Promote common inter-agency techniques for spatial data productions (e.g., CAD and GI); develop more GIS layers, and formulate appropriate policies for data sharing between all agencies (initiated)
11. Provide refresher demonstration courses for the Saipan “Hydraulic Model” developed by WERI
12. Provide training course on “Basic Hydraulics” and “Water System Corrosion Prevention” for the new engineers at Saipan CUC
13. Create a user friendly data-base of all available water resources information for the CNMI, including drilling logs, pump tests, water quality data, etc., plus annotated bibliography
14. Develop educational materials for the general public and businesses on:
a) the effects of inadequate wastewater grease interception
b) the need for adequate cross-connection control in drinking water lines

 

CNMI’S CRITICAL WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH, EDUCATION AND TRAINING NEEDS
Identified at Previous Advisory Council Meetings 
Updated at October 17, 2013 Meeting, Saipan

 

I. GROUND, SURFACE, AND COASTAL WATER QUALITY

Impact Issues

Definition: Research that leads to a better understanding of, or the possible solution to, problems caused by the impact of mans activities or natural processes on CNMI’s fresh water quality.

  1. Impact of septic tanks and other waste disposal systems on ammonium, nitrate, and nitrite levels in surrounding soil and underlying groundwater
  2. Impact of urban runoff on the chemical integrity and ecological health of nearshore environments in the CNMI, with emphasis on storm water induced overflows in wastewater collection systems, unregulated wastewater discharges, and illegal hook-ups into storm water drainage systems
  3. Develop a GIS database of septic tank locations in Saipan to facilitate the determination of their impact on the groundwater quality of adjacent drinking water production wells
  4. Impact of aquaculture operation on freshwater and near-shore environments with emphasis on antibiotic additives and nutrients in effluent streams
  5. Impact of historical and recent land use activities on ground and surface water quality and production
  6. Impact of contaminants released into surface waters from ‘Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) and other waste disposal sites in the CNMI, on aquatic resources of local importance
  7. Impact of ocean outfalls and dumpsites on benthic communities and aquatic resources in Saipan’s coastal waters
  8. Impact and possible association of residential septic systems with beach degradation and declining coral diversity in Rota and other parts of the CNMI
  9. Impacts of El Nino and other decadal and longer-scale drought/storm cycles on aquifer and/or surface catchment recharge, groundwater salinity, and/or other water quality/quantity parameters
 

Baseline Issues:

Definition: Research that leads to a better understanding of existing levels of contaminants to serve as a basis to judge the effects of mans future activities on the quality of CNMI’s fresh water resources

  1. Baseline levels of recalcitrant chemical contaminants in aquatic biomonitors and fisheries resources within the CNMI, with emphasis on nearshore waters impacted by freshwater discharges of one kind or another.
  2. Alternative baseline monitoring strategies to reduce the loss impact of the USGS water data monitoring program in the CNMI
  3. Establish season and usage related changes in salinity in drinking waters production wells
  4. Create baseline spatial and temporal profiles for nearshore water quality parameters in the CNMI (e.g., salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, basic nutrients, turbidity, suspended solids) to determine changes associated with storm water runoff and freshwater discharges
  5. Develop an inventory of existing wastewater treatment facilities and corresponding excess sludge handling practices in the CNMI; suggest potential modifications to the treatment systems that would lead to reduced yields of excess sludge; and explore avenues for enhancing sustainability, including energy recovery and beneficial use of excess sludge
  6. Determine the adequacy of the Saipan’s existing stormwater management facilities
 

Modeling Issues:

Definition: Research aimed at developing means of predicting the fate and transport of contaminants in CNMI’s freshwater systems

  1. Model the fate and transport of contaminants such as nitrate, phosphate and chlorides, organic compounds, and thallium containing compounds through CNMI’s aquifers
  2. Model the fate and transport of contaminants such as chlorinated hydrocarbons, Trichloroethylene and vinyl chloride close to the Saipan’s former Garment factories
  3. Conduct modeling studies and other hydrogeology investigations to assist in the development of new groundwater resources and the regulation of existing pumping to improve the salinity problems in the public drinking water system
  4. Model the movement of contaminants from sewer outfall structures
  5. Model existing RO brine injection wells to determine whether there may be some impacts on existing or potential groundwater supplies
  6. Model the fate and transport of contaminants in the groundwater in Tinian especially close to the casino secondary wastewater treatment system
  7. Develop appropriate R-factors for use in the ‘Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation’ for the islands of the CNMI
  8. Develop a GIS-database for prioritizing sewer connection for CUC, customers
 

Regulatory Issues:

Definition: Research to investigate the need for new regulations and the effectiveness of existing regulations that deal with CNMI’s fresh water quality issues

  1. Develop an updated watershed atlas for CNMI. This atlas would:
    • Assess appropriateness of applying zones of mixing to toxics (metals) in wastewater effluent in the CNMI
    • Review and improve regulations dealing with aquaculture effluent
    • Determine appropriate well head protection policies or zone of influence protection policies for islands within the CNMI
 

Development of or Application of New Technologies to Water Quality Issues:

Definition: Studies to investigate the development of, or application of, new technologies to improve water quality in a tropical island settings

  1. Examine the use of innovative processes to improve the quality of stormwater
  2. Examine the effectiveness of various local soils and substrate mixtures in reducing groundwater contamination of nitrogenous compounds from septic tanks
  3. Identify and evaluate better indicators for bacterial contamination of ground and surface waters in tropical regions
  4. Provide a critical evaluation of the best available technologies and processes for converting Saipan’s brackish groundwater into a potable drinking water supply
  5. Evaluate various wastewater treatment technologies for higher level treatment of sewage delivered to existing treatment facilities
  6. Examine and evaluate best disposal options for all three main islands in the CNMI. This would include benefit/cost analysis of a) offshore ocean disposal and b) conventional treatment and reuse
  7. Develop biomarker capabilities and other novel techniques to determine the ecological health of anthropogenically impacted coastal waters in the CNMI
  8. Study the feasibility of subdivision level sewage treatment systems
  9. Assessment of new technologies and methodologies for treatment and disposal of excess sludge from sewage treatment plants on Saipan. Study to include on-site pilot studies to provide a basis for final selections
  10. Develop appropriate design criteria for water catchment systems that improve the quality of surface runoff and prevent flooding for watersheds in Saipan
  11. Treatment optimization for biosolid management from Saipan’s STP with a view towards agricultural use and other land based applications
 

II. WATER QUANTITY PROJECTS

Definition: Research aimed at gaining a better understanding of the availability, deliverability and sustainability of CNMI’s surface water, groundwater and rainwater resources

  1. Develop models of demand, use, and management of water resources on all of the islands in the CNMI including the creation of a GIS data-base
  2. Assess various strategies for developing 24-hour water in the Saipan water supply system
  3. Develop water budget for Saipan groundwater for each aquifer
  4. Examine the feasibility of catching, treating, and storing large quantities of storm water in drainages such as the Garapan watershed in order to provide flood control and as a source of high quality water for the CUC
  5. Evaluate the hydrologic impacts of ENSO droughts, typhoons, etc. on ground water levels in major aquifers in Saipan
  6. Evaluate the potential of Rota’s water caves to meet future demands of the island, and the hydrology of the Sabana watershed that feeds them
  7. Explore the use of Saipan’s springs as an additional sources of drinking water
  8. Conduct specific investigations in the area of water use, the data of which can be used to update existing master plans
  9. Examine well pumping rates and salinity levels to develop optimized pumping rates and well-field capacities
  10. Improve existing rainfall databases for CMNI with records collected at least on a daily and preferably on an hourly basis. Currently, the only available data (from Saipan airport) is extremely limited and of questionable reliability (ongoing)
  11. Develop a realistic estimate of water production and water demands in each sub-region of Saipan’s water distribution system
  12. Develop
  13. Identify potential well fields on Saipan that can be developed to provide better quality drinking water, and identify current production wells that should be taken off line
  14. Identify potential well fields in Rota and Tinian
  15. Develop a relationship between rainfall and runoff coefficient to determine annual yield of runoff from a defined catchment area
 

III. WATERSHED BASELINE MODELING AND MANAGEMENT ISSUES

Definition: Watershed based research to determine best management practices for reduction in contamination in surface runoff and to provide information on CNMI’s surface water sources and the required legislative framework required to protect these resources.

  1. Develop GIS database for soil erosion and watershed management in the CNMI
  2. Develop an updated watershed atlas for CNMI. This atlas would:
    • Build on the atlas of water resources developed previously
    • Provide detailed watershed delineation and stream geometry for all major watersheds
    • Identify sink holes, wetlands and badland areas
    • Delineating surface water flows during storm events
    • Identify potential sources and abundances of contaminants within each watershed
    • Information would be provided in a coordinated GIS frame work with maps (and GIS coverages) available to regulating agencies and to private citizens thought the world wide web
  3. Model BMP for ‘polluted’ watersheds within CNMI
  4. Island wide and watershed specific modeling of water flows with specific reference to: climate/recharge/runoff relationships and their effect on groundwater quality and quantity
  5. Establish surface runoff GIS databases for watershed/sub watersheds that highlight the influence of such variables as slope, soil type, permeability and vegetation coverage on discharge rates
  6. Conduct skeletal studies of calcifying coral reef organisms from reefs associated with priority watersheds to determine and compare the historical and contemporary watershed discharge quantity and quality
  7. Establish levels of pesticides in watersheds throughout the CNMI. Include old, unregistered pesticides and arsenicals, as well as those currently in use
  8. Impact of urban runoff on aqueous chemistry and biotic components of National Park wetland areas in the vicinity of American Memorial Park, Saipan
  9. Watershed delineating and protection plans for Rota Caves on Rota and the Maui II well (infiltration gallery) in Tinian. Both features are potentially important sources of drinking water to island residents
  10. Establish a rain-gage network on Rota and Tinian in order to provide a realistic estimate of water production over wet and dry seasons
 

IV. EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL TRAINING

Definition: Projects that lead to the public’s better understanding of water resources issues to include information dissemination needs, water resources training courses and workshops for k-12 students and teachers, the general public and island water resource managers and decision makers.

  1. Initiate programs that would educate elected officials, policy makers and utility board members on water related issues such as sources of water, desalinization, and utility waters supply concerns.
  2. Improve and expand water resources information dissemination.
  3. Provide brochures and accompanying workshops various village locations on rainwater catchment system design, construction, materials and water quality considerations. This project could be linked to the existing project WET already active in CNMI.
  4. Provide a water resources educational campaign targeting teachers and school children. Focus on conservation strategies that help mitigate water quantity quality issues that impact family life.
  5. Conduct a ‘Western Pacific Water Quality Analysis Laboratory Conference’ to discuss common issues (e.g., centralized testing, lab certification, purchasing of testing supplies and equipment, lab equipment servicing). Include lab personnel from educational institutions, EPA and utilities from throughout the region.
  6. Provide distance education opportunities for UOG water resources, pre engineering and environmental science courses in Saipan.
  7. Conduct water and wastewater system operator training program for CUC employees.
  8. Provide training on best management practices for animal and aquiculture wastes.
  9. Conduct a farmer education program aimed at establishing a wellhead protection, or zone of influence protection zone, for the Tinian water tunnel.
  10. Provide workshops on alternative wastewater disposal technologies for CNMI.
  11. Provide training on cost, operation and maintenance of desalinization equipment.
  12. Streamline all agency natural resource data collections into a central repository. Promote common inter-agency techniques for spatial data productions (e.g., CAD and GI); develop more GIS layers, and formulate appropriate policies for data sharing between all agencies (initiated).
  13. Provide refresher demonstration courses for the Saipan “Hydraulic Model” developed by WERI.
  14. Public education campaign aimed at construction, care and maintenance of rainwater catchment systems for the CNMI.
  15. Create a user friendly data-base of all available water resources information for the CNM, including drilling logs, pump tests, water quality data, etc., plus annotated bibliography
  16. Develop educational materials for the general public and businesses on:
    • a) the effects of inadequate wastewater grease interception
    • b) the need for adequate cross-connection control in drinking water lines
 
 

Research Priorities

CNMI’s Critical Water Resources Research Needs 
Identified at Previous Advisory meetings
Updated at October 11, 2011 Meeting, Saipan

 

I. GROUND, SURFACE, AND COASTAL WATER QUALITY

Impact Issues

Definition: Research that leads to a better understanding of, or the possible solution to, problems caused by the impact of mans activities or natural processes on CNMI’s fresh water quality.

  1. Determine the impact of septic tanks and other waste disposal systems on nitrate and nitrite levels in surrounding soil and underlying groundwater.
  2. Determine the impact of storm water on wastewater collection systems (overflow) and near shore environments.
  3. Determine the impact of road maintenance and construction of secondary roads on soil erosion (ecological impact) and quality of storm water runoff (economic, human health impact).
  4. Develop a GIS database of septic tank locations in Saipan to facilitate the determination of their impact on groundwater and surface water resources including nearshore environments (ongoing).
  5. Determine the impact of aquaculture operation on freshwater and near-shore environments with emphasis on antibiotic additives and nutrients in effluent streams.
  6. Determine the impact of RO brine disposal injection wells on near shore environment and possible influence of this practice on saltwater intrusion within the developable aquifer.
  7. Identify and evaluate potential source of elevated nitrate in production wells from the Isley Field Aquifer and determine the impact of season, soil characteristics and local geology on levels currently encountered (ongoing).
  8. Impact of historical and recent land use activities on ground and surface water quality and production.
  9. Determine the impact of contaminants released into surface waters from FUDS and waste disposal sites in the CNMI, on aquatic resources of local importance.
  10. Conduct skeletal studies of calcifying coral reef organisms from reefs associated with priority watersheds to determine and compare the historical and contemporary watershed discharge quantity and quality.
  11. Develop source mitigation strategies for elevated levels of copper and zinc in CUC wastewater discharges.
  12. Impact of groundwater intrusion on seagrass and algal assemblages in Saipan Lagoon.
  13. Impact of ocean outfalls on benthic communities and aquatic resources in Saipan Lagoon.
  14. Survey of commercial kitchens to determine grease interception capabilities and impacts on wastewater collection an treatment systems.
  15. Conduct studies to determine whether or not the gradual decline in coral diversity and increase in beach degradation in Rota over the last decade or so is linked to the increase in residential septic systems.
  16. Assess impacts of El Nino and other decadal and longer-scale drought/storm cycles on aquifer and/or surface catchment recharge, groundwater salinity, and/or other water quality/quantity parameters.
 

Baseline Issues:

Definition: Research that leads to a better understanding of existing levels of contaminants to serve as a basis to judge the effects of mans future activities on the quality of CNMI’s fresh water resources.

  1. Conduct baseline studies to determine which of CNMI’s drinking water wells fall under the U.S. EPA Groundwater Under the Direct Influence of Surface Water (GWUD (GWUDI) rule. Such studies should also include well-head inspection and testing.
  2. Establish baseline levels of recalcitrant chemical contaminants in fisheries resources (e.g., algae, seacucumbers, mollusks, crustaceans and fish) from Saipan Lagoon and other nearshore waters in CNMI impacted by freshwater discharges of one kind or another, and evaluate any site-specific public health risk associated with their unrestricted consumption (ongoing).
  3. Establish levels of pesticides, including arsenicals, in watersheds throughout the CNMI. To include old and unregistered pesticides as well as those currently in use.
  4. Identify alternative baseline monitoring strategies to reduce the impact of the loss of the USGS water data monitoring program in the CNMI.
  5. Establish season and usage related changes in salinity in drinking waters production wells .
  6. Create baseline spatial and temporal profiles for nearshore water quality parameters in the CNMI (e.g., salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, basic nutrients, turbidity, suspended solids) to determine changes associated with storm water runoff and freshwater discharges.
  7. Develop an inventory of existing wastewater treatment facilities and corresponding excess sludge handling practices in the CNMI; suggest potential modifications to the treatment systems that would lead to reduced yields of excess sludge; and explore avenues for enhancing sustainability, including energy recovery and beneficial use of excess sludge.
  8. Survey cross-connection hazard levels of commercial and residential sites on Saipan.
 

Modeling Issues:

Definition: Research aimed at developing means of predicting the fate and transport of contaminants in CNMI’s freshwater systems.

  1. Define and delineate the transport and fate of contaminants such as nitrate, phosphate and chlorides, organic compounds, and thallium containing compounds through CNMI’s aquifers .
  2. Conduct modeling studies and other hydrogeology investigations to assist in the development of new groundwater resources and the regulation of existing pumping to improve the salinity problems in the public drinking water system.
  3. Model the movement of contaminants from sewer outfall structures .
  4. Model existing RO brine injection wells to determine whether there may be some impacts on existing or potential groundwater supplies.
  5. Model the fate and transport of contaminants in the groundwater in Tinian especially close to the casino secondary wastewater treatment system.
  6. Map the aquifer subunits on Saipan .
  7. Develop appropriate R-factors for use in the ‘Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation’ for the islands of the CNMI.
  8. Develop a GIS database for water and wastewater systems for CUC to improve operations and management .
 

Regulatory Issues:

Definition: Research to investigate the need for new regulations and the effectiveness of existing regulations that deal with CNMI’s fresh water quality issues.

  1. Develop an updated watershed atlas for CNMI. This atlas would:
    • Provide detailed watershed delineation and stream geometry for all major watersheds.
    • Identify sink holes, wetlands and badland areas.
    • Delineating surface water flows during storm events.
    • Identify potential sources and abundances of contaminants within each watershed.
    • Information would be provided in a coordinated GIS frame work with maps (and GIS coverages) available to regulating agencies and to private citizens thought the world wide web.
  2. Develop nutrient standards for CNMI conditions (Western Pacific region wide application).
  3. Review and improve regulations dealing with aquaculture effluent.
  4. Determine appropriate well head protection policies or zone of influence protection policies for islands within the CNMI.
  5. Assess appropriateness of applying zones of mixing to toxics (metals) in wastewater effluent in the CNMI.
 

Development of or Application of New Technologies to Water Quality Issues:

Definition: Studies to investigate the development of, or application of, new technologies to improve water quality.

  1. Examine the use of innovative processes to improve the quality of stormwater.
  2. Examine the effectiveness of various local soils and substrate mixtures in reducing groundwater contamination of nitrate from septic tanks.
  3. Identify and evaluate better indicators for bacterial contamination of ground and surface waters in tropical regions.
  4. Provide a critical evaluation of the best available technologies and processes for converting Saipan’s brackish groundwater into a potable drinking water supply.
  5. Evaluate various wastewater treatment technologies for higher level treatment of sewage delivered to existing treatment facilities.
  6. Examine and evaluate best disposal options for all three main islands in the CNMI. This would include benefit/cost analysis of a) offshore ocean disposal and b) conventional treatment and reuse.
  7. Develop biomarker capabilities to augment and refine existing bio-indicator studies in CNMI coastal waters.
  8. Study the feasibility of subdivision level sewage treatment systems.
  9. Assessment of new technologies and methodologies for treatment and disposal of excess sludge from sewage treatment plants on Saipan. Study to include on-site pilot studies to provide a basis for final selections.
 

II. WATER QUANTITY PROJECTS

Definition: Research aimed at gaining a better understanding of the availability, deliverability and sustainability of CNMI’s surface water, groundwater and rainwater resources.

  1. Develop models of demand, use, and management of water resources on all of the islands in the CNMI .
  2. Assess various strategies for developing 24-hour water in the Saipan water supply system.
  3. Develop water budget for Saipan groundwater for each aquifer.
  4. Investigate various options of transmission, distribution, and storage of source water for optimal delivery to customers.
  5. Examine the feasibility of catching, treating, and storing large quantities of storm water in drainages such as the Garapan watershed in order to provide flood control and as a source of high quality water for the CUC .
  6. Evaluate the hydrologic impacts of ENSO droughts, typhoons, etc. on ground water levels in major aquifers in Saipan.
  7. Evaluate the potential of Rota’s water caves to meet future demands of the island, and the hydrology of the Sabana watershed that feeds them.
  8. Explore the impact of new AgAg wells on existing supplies at Donney Springs.
  9. Conduct specific investigations in the area of water use, the data of which can be used to update existing master plans .
  10. Examine well pumping rates and salinity levels to develop optimized pumping rates and well-field capacities .
  11. Improve existing rainfall databases for CMNI with records collected at least on a daily and preferably on an hourly basis. Currently, the only available data (from Saipan airport) is extremely limited and of questionable reliability (ongoing)
  12. Develop a realistic estimate of water production in each sub-region of Saipan’s water distribution system.
  13. Identify potential well fields on Saipan that can be developed to provide better quality drinking water, and identify current production wells that should be taken off line.
  14. Develop cost analysis of CUC water and develop appropriate rate structure.
  15. Identify potential well fields in Rota and Tinian
 

III. WATERSHED BASELINE MODELING AND MANAGEMENT ISSUES

Definition: Watershed based research to determine best management practices for reduction in contamination in surface runoff and to provide information on CNMI’s surface water sources and the required legislative framework required to protect these resources.

  1. Develop GIS database for soil erosion and watershed management in the CNMI
  2. Develop an updated watershed atlas for CNMI. This atlas would:
    • Build on the atlas of water resources developed previously
    • Provide detailed watershed delineation and stream geometry for all major watersheds
    • Identify sink holes, wetlands and badland areas
    • Delineating surface water flows during storm events
    • Identify potential sources and abundances of contaminants within each watershed
    • Information would be provided in a coordinated GIS frame work with maps (and GIS coverages) available to regulating agencies and to private citizens thought the world wide web
  3. Model BMP for ‘polluted’ watersheds within CNMI
  4. Island wide and watershed specific modeling of water flows with specific reference to: climate/recharge/runoff relationships and their effect on groundwater quality and quantity
  5. Establish surface runoff GIS databases for watershed/sub watersheds that highlight the influence of such variables as slope, soil type, permeability and vegetation coverage on discharge rates
  6. Conduct skeletal studies of calcifying coral reef organisms from reefs associated with priority watersheds to determine and compare the historical and contemporary watershed discharge quantity and quality
  7. Establish levels of pesticides in watersheds throughout the CNMI. Include old, unregistered pesticides and arsenicals, as well as those currently in use
  8. Impact of urban runoff on aqueous chemistry and biotic components of National Park wetland areas in the vicinity of American Memorial Park, Saipan
  9. Watershed delineating and protection plans for Rota Caves on Rota and the Maui II well (infiltration gallery) in Tinian. Both features are potentially important sources of drinking water to island residents
  10. Establish a rain-gage network on Rota and Tinian in order to provide a realistic estimate of water production over wet and dry seasons
 

IV. EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL TRAINING

Definition: Projects that lead to the public’s better understanding of water resources issues to include information dissemination needs, water resources training courses and workshops for k-12 students and teachers, the general public and island water resource managers and decision makers.

  1. Initiate programs that would educate elected officials, policy makers and utility board members on water related issues such as sources of water, desalinization, and utility waters supply concerns.
  2. Improve and expand water resources information dissemination.
  3. Provide brochures and accompanying workshops various village locations on rainwater catchment system design, construction, materials and water quality considerations. This project could be linked to the existing project WET already active in CNMI.
  4. Provide a water resources educational campaign targeting teachers and school children. Focus on conservation strategies that help mitigate water quantity quality issues that impact family life.
  5. Conduct a ‘Western Pacific Water Quality Analysis Laboratory Conference’ to discuss common issues (e.g., centralized testing, lab certification, purchasing of testing supplies and equipment, lab equipment servicing). Include lab personnel from educational institutions, EPA and utilities from throughout the region.
  6. Provide distance education opportunities for UOG water resources, pre engineering and environmental science courses in Saipan.
  7. Conduct water and wastewater system operator training program for CUC employees.
  8. Provide training on best management practices for animal and aquiculture wastes.
  9. Conduct a farmer education program aimed at establishing a wellhead protection, or zone of influence protection zone, for the Tinian water tunnel.
  10. Provide workshops on alternative wastewater disposal technologies for CNMI.
  11. Provide training on cost, operation and maintenance of desalinization equipment.
  12. Streamline all agency natural resource data collections into a central repository. Promote common inter-agency techniques for spatial data productions (e.g., CAD and GI); develop more GIS layers, and formulate appropriate policies for data sharing between all agencies (initiated).
  13. Provide refresher demonstration courses for the Saipan “Hydraulic Model” developed by WERI.
  14. Public education campaign aimed at construction, care and maintenance of rainwater catchment systems for the CNMI.
  15. Create a user friendly data-base of all available water resources information for the CNM, including drilling logs, pump tests, water quality data, etc., plus annotated bibliography
  16. Develop educational materials for the general public and businesses on:
    • a) the effects of inadequate wastewater grease interception
    • b) the need for adequate cross-connection control in drinking water lines

Approved 2016 Projects:

Completed 2016 Projects:

Completed 2015 Projects:

Completed 2014 Projects:

Completed 2013 Projects:

Completed 2012 Projects

Completed 2011 Projects

Completed 2010 Projects:

Completed 2009 Projects:

Completed 2008 Projects:

Completed 2007 Projects:

Completed 2006 Projects:

Sponsored Workshops

Locally Sponsored Research

Mission

The Guam Hydrologic Survey Program (GHS) was mandated by the 24th Guam Legislature in October, 1997. Under the program, WERI has been charged with the responsibility to consolidate, inventory, and evaluate all of the current and historical hydrologic data pertaining to Guam. WERI is also responsible for establishing and maintaining a permanent data library for instant data access and retrieval.

Between October and the end of December, 1997, WERI identified research assistants to support the program, set up laboratory space, and procured equipment. From January through May, 1998, GHS research assistants visited each of the island’s federal and local agencies, along with private sector organizations, that collect current data or possess archives of historical data. Each of the data collection stations for hydrological data were identified and mapped. During this same time frame, the GHS began preparing the GHS Water Resource Data Library. The library includes electronically-stored data on CD-ROM and PCs located at WERI, along with links to web sites and remote archives. It also includes paper copies of historical reports and maps, drilling logs, aerial photos, 35 mm slides, and engineering plans.

A report of the data collection efforts was published and is available on this website,  (Click here) for printed WERI technical report (# 83). The report describes each of the data collection activities on the island, including collection stations and points of contact for meteorological, surface water, groundwater, tidal, geological, and engineering data. The data availability section on the menu to the right of this page lists many of the links where some of the Guam geologic and hydrologic data can be found. Data can also be attained at the WERI office.

The GHS mission also includes a mandate to conduct research into Guam’s water resources problems, and publish regular, concise reports to provide Guam’s policy-makers, regulators, water resource managers, educators, and citizens with the information needed for sound legislation, effective management, sustainable development, and responsible use of Guam’s fresh water resources. Past projects include an evaluation of chloride contamination in water production wells, identification of geological and infrastructural constraints on groundwater development, an inventory of the karst geology of the aquifer, a groundwater model of the Yigo-Tumon/Finegayen sub-basins of the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer, and an engineering evaluation of selected portions of the water distribution system.

Visit the GHS (Guam Hydrological Survey) Site by clicking here.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has monitored our island’s water resources since 1951. Unfortunately, during the 1990s they were forced to downsize this program because matching support from the Government of Guam was discontinued. This resulted in the abandonment of all deep monitoring wells needed to monitor saltwater intrusion in the north, and most of the stream gages in the south by the mid-1990s. In 1995, the USGS closed its field office at Naval Station, but continued to run a limited monitoring program (out of its Saipan and Honolulu offices).

August, 1998, the Comprehensive Water Monitoring Program (CWMP) for Guam was made a permanent part of WERI’s program when Governor Gutierrez signed PL 24-247. This resulted in the refurbishment of the deep monitoring wells and a renewed program of water resource monitoring on Guam. The intent of PL 24-161 was to restore, and then to expand, as needed, the discontinued monitoring program in order to help Guam manage and safeguard all of its freshwater resources, now and in the future. Under PL 24-161, WERI/UOG and the USGS entered into a memorandum of understanding to administer and fund this program on a 50/50 cost-sharing basis. The CWMP is a permanent investment in Guam’s future.

A well-designed long-term CWMP can save communities millions of dollars, and even human lives, by providing critical information for water-supply, culvert and bridge design, delineating flood-hazard areas, and tracking effects of climate change. The USGS started a water-resource monitoring program in Guam in 1951 with installation of stream gages at Pago, Lonfit, and Tolaeyuus and a rain gage near Fena dam. At the same time, measurements of discharge from Almagosa Springs and water levels in Fena Reservoir started. Since 1951 about 22 continuous streamflow, 8 rain, and 16 groundwater monitoring stations have been operated, providing reliable information on the water resources and hydrologic hazards of Guam.

The current monitoring program consists of 8 continuous-recording streamflow gages, 6 continuous-recording groundwater wells, 6 groundwater wells where the thickness of the freshwater lens is measured, and 5 continuous-recording rain gages. From a broad perspective, the program provides long-term information on the hydrologic cycle of Guam so that its water resources can be understood and sustainably managed. The bulk of the monitoring stations on Guam are funded as part of a Joint Funding Agreement between the USGS and WERI.

Locations of USGS monitoring stations on Guam

 

Stream Gages for Water Availability and Flood Planning in Southern Guam

Most freshwater used in southern Guam comes either from streamflow or wells that withdraw water from near the banks of streams. Data from USGS stream gages provide information needed by managers and engineers to properly manage the long-term sustainability of these water resources. Statistical analysis of long-term streamflow data are needed so the effects of abnormally wet or dry years can be understood and planned for. For example, USGS gages provide information that can be used to assess and manage the sustainability of surface water from the GWA Ugum Treatment Plant. Other gages, funded in cooperation with the U.S. Navy, are used to manage withdrawals from Fena Reservoir.

*Flow in Pago Stream has been measured since 1951.

Long-term streamflow information is needed for flood planning. This information is used to delineate flood zones, estimate the magnitude of floods and frequency with which they could be expected to occur, and design bridges and culverts. For example, information from 11 stream gages and 3 other sites was used to assess the flood peak magnitude and recurrence interval following Typhoon Chata‘an in 2002. FEMA uses information from USGS stream gages to determine the level of financial aid from FEMA after storms. Currently, the WERI-USGS CWMP funds the operation of 5 stream gages at key locations in southern Guam.

 

Well Monitoring of the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer

*WERI field assistant measures water levels in the Northern Guam Aquifer.

Monitoring wells operated as part of the USGS-WERI CWMP provide information to assess the health and sustainability of the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer. This aquifer is the most important source of freshwater on the island. Currently, the program includes 6 wells where water level is continuously measured and 6 wells where the thickness of the freshwater lens is measured quarterly. Collectively, this information allows scientists at WERI, GEPA, GWA, and USGS to understand the flow of water through the aquifer and refine sustainability estimates of this resource.

This information is used to understand how current levels of pumpage are affecting the aquifer and how future changes in climate and groundwater production may affect the sustainability of groundwater resources. Coupled with detailed geologic mapping and modern hydrologic tools such as groundwater flow models, information from this long-term program will be invaluable as additional water is needed to support increasing economic development on Guam.

 

Rainfall Data to Estimate Water Supply Recharge and Flood-Water Distribution

The USGS currently operates 5 rain gages on Guam, 4 of which are funded by the WERI-USGS CWMP. Rainfall data are fundamental to understanding the water supply and threats from flooding. Information from these gages is used to evaluate the extent of drought during El Nino events and the severity of flooding during typhoons. Information from rain gages is also essential in determining how much freshwater infiltrates past the ground surface to reach the water table. This water, known as recharge, is the source of freshwater in the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer and only by measuring rainfall can its abundance be accurately estimated.

 

Sediment Measurements for Watershed Management

*Ugum River after heavy rains transports large amounts of sediment to the coast and severely impact coral reefs. Knowing the sediment sources and amounts discharged can assist managers in the design and implementation of mitigation strategies.

Coral reefs on Guam are thought to be damaged by sediment carried in runoff from watersheds. Managers are trying to understand the sources and amounts of sediment moving from watersheds to coral reefs so that this problem can be addressed. Successful watershed restoration may result in reduced soil erosion and sediment transport to coastal waters, thereby increasing compliance with the Clean Water Act. Streams may also become better habitats for native stream organisms if sediment load is reduced. As part of the WERI-USGS CWMP, two stream gages in southern Guam have been upgraded with specialized equipment that automatically collects water samples so that the amount of sediment flowing to the ocean can be measured.

 

What does it cost to operate a stream flow and other gages?

In 2010, the cost to operate a continuous-record streamflow gage will be $22,400. This includes all operation and maintenance, site visits, field data collection, data analysis, and computation of the flow record. Gage operations are frequently reviewed and upgraded as improvements become available. Determining the suspended-sediment load at a gage increases the annual cost an additional $26,880. Other gages, such as rainfall ($10,750) and groundwater ($6,720), require less funding. With over 100 years of experience, USGS procedures ensure that data are reliably collected, analyzed, and publicly available.

How can one get USGS water resource information?

Most data from USGS gages are readily available on the internet. As part of CWMP between WERI and the USGS, historic data and other hydrologic information for Guam are consolidated and made publicly available at: http://hi.water.usgs.gov/studies/guamlen

Other Sponsored Research

GWUDI Study

WERI is currently engaged in an ongoing collaborative study with representatives from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Guam Environmental Protection Agency, (GEPA), Guam Waterworks Authority (GWA), the military and the private sector; to determine whether Guam’s aquifer should be designated as groundwater under the direct influence (GWUDI) of surface water and, as such, fall under the USEPA Surface Water Treatment Rule (SWTR) of 1989 and subsequent amendments.

Background

The SWTR requires all raw water sources be evaluated to determine if they are surface water or groundwater. The definition of surface water includes groundwater under the direct influence (GWUDI) of surface water (i.e., groundwater in aquifers that rapidly recharge). The purpose of the rule is to remove waterborne, disease-causing microbes from drinking water, specifically the viruses, Legionella (a bacterium), Giardia and Cryptosporidium (microscopic parasites). These organisms, while not normally found in groundwater, may occur under GWUDI conditions.

The aquifer encompassing the northern half of Guam consists primarily of uplifted fractured limestone. Such aquifers are highly porous and recharge rapidly during storm events. They are also generally regarded as sensitive to surface water contamination and there are many sources of such contamination in northern Guam. Raw sewage overflows from inadequate wastewater facilities, particularly during wet weather conditions, can run directly into recharge basins, as can urban runoff and animal wastes from the many small-scale animal husbandry operations that currently exist. In fact, there is a long history of microbial contamination in Guam’s groundwater. As a result, mandatory chlorination is currently required for all the islands drinking water production wells.

It has been suggested that the entire aquifer be designated as groundwater under the direct influence of surface water (GWUDI), because of this contamination, and because groundwater contamination can rapidly follow major rain events. However, current USEPA guidance for the determination of GWUDI does not adequately address this hydrogeological setting. This guidance was developed primarily for aquifers in unconsolidated soils and for water flowing from surface water bodies such as lakes and rivers. The purpose was to identify situations where inadequate barriers, natural filtration, or time for pathogen inactivation existed between these surface waters and the groundwater reaching a well. In these cases, additional treatment in the form of filtration and enhanced disinfection might be required. The guidance was not designed for rainfall-induced transport of contaminants, nor for deep aquifers.

In addition, specific data normally used for this determination are limited or lacking. These include water quality information to quantitatively demonstrate relatedness, and microscopic particulate analysis results that can indicate the presence of materials not normally associated with true groundwater. Additionally, while some wells show frequent and/or persistent contamination, many have no history of contamination. The depth to groundwater is generally large (300′ is common), allowing for some physical and temporal barriers in some cases. This means that, while concern for direct influence is warranted, whether all or the majority of the ~150 public water supply wells should be so designated is unclear. Because of these reasons, classification of the wells and/or aquifer remains controversial.

The ongoing study was designed to provide the necessary information to make the GWUDI determination and to help select appropriate water treatment. It essentially involves correlating measurable changes in aquifer turbidity, temperature, conductivity, hardness, microscopic particle characteristics, and coliform bacteria detections with significant storm events. To this end, automated water quality monitoring devices and data loggers have been fitted to 25 drinking water production wells selected in high and low-risk areas. Rainfall data is also being recorded from a network of rain gauges set up across the northern half of the island. WERI’s primary roles in the study are to gather the precipitation data, coordinate the sampling activities of all other collaborative entities, and evaluate and statistically examine the overall data. Further details are available from WERI Meteorologist, Dr. Mark Lander, at mlander@uguam.uog.edu.

Guam Septic Tank Survey

The Guam Septic Tank Survey project was assigned to WERI under the USEPA Revolving Fund in 2001. Guam law requires that unconnected buildings within 200 feet of existing sewer mains, or sewered buildings, be connected to the sewer system. The objective of this project was to identify buildings that were not connected to the existing sewer mains in order to implement the law. Over 13,000 buildings were manually surveyed over the entire island.

Background

The Northern Guam Lens Aquifer (NGLA) supplies about 80% of Guam’s population with potable water. Protecting this vital resource from contaminants associated with domestic wastewater (e.g., nitrates and fecal coliform) is crucially important both from a public health and sustainable development perspective. Septic tanks and pit toilets are major sources of these contaminants, and several thousands of these are located right above the NGLA. It is estimated that septic tanks alone discharge around 5 million gallons of wastewater into the Guam environment each day. To what extent these facilities have impacted the chemical and biological integrity of the NGLA is currently unknown.

In completing this work, we gratefully acknowledge access to the Bureau of Statistics and Plans GIS data of Guam buildings with house tags, and GWA’s customer database. We are also indebted to GWA’s field personnel for technical assistance during the gathering of crucial GPS data that allowed us to join the data-bases.

Natural Resources of Southern Guam

A common problem in Guam, as well as every other place in the Western Pacific is the lack of accessibility to local natural resources data. This includes vegetation, soil types, river miles, badlands, roads, location of stream gage, and maps. In Guam, this information is scattered among government agencies.

In 2005, WERI researchers, Drs. Shahram Khosrowpanah and Yuming Wen, and their collaborator, Dr. Danko Taborosi of Island Research & Education Initiative, Pohnpei, began constructing a digital atlas of the natural resources of southern Guam’s watersheds using GIS technology to centralize these scattered data sets. The project was partially funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through the Guam Bureau of Statistics and Plans Office.

The finished product, aptly named the ‘Natural Resources Atlas of Southern Guam’ was designed as a reference and educational tool that provides a comprehensive picture of the natural resources found within the fourteen watersheds of southern Guam. It was designed as a comprehensive and user-friendly web-based information server and is freely accessible on the Internet at http://www.hydroguam.net.

The website offers a wide range of textual, graphical, statistical, and geographic information to any interested user, and allows advanced operations, such as viewing and manipulation of GIS data using standard web browsing software. It is the foundation of a planned series of products dedicated to disseminating information and raising public awareness of the diversity, current state, sustainable use, and critical threats to natural features of southern Guam, and is being widely used by Guam’s agencies, researchers, developers, students, and the community at large. For further information about the website or the natural resources of southern Guam watersheds, contact D. Shahram Khosrowpanah at khosrow@uguam.uog.edu

Constitutive Modeling of Glacial Till

Interdisciplinary study of the potential role of subglacial sediment in ice sheet movement.

  • J.W. Jenson
    Water & Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific, University of Guam
  • C.S. Desai
    Department of Civil Engineering & Engineering & Engineering Mechanics, University of Arizona
  • A.E. Carlson
    Department of Geosciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • P.U. Clark
    Department of Geosciences, Oregon State University
 

Background

Exposure of glacial till layers in bluffs above the Nelson River, northern Manitoba, from which specimens of the Sky Pilot Till, deposited by the Laurentide Ice Sheet, were obtained.

We have recently completed a set of geotechnical experiments (Sane et al., 2008) using the Disturbed State Concept (DSC) model (Desai, 2001) to evaluate the rheology of two regionally significant North American Pleistocene tills (Carlson et al., 2004). The results suggest that soft beds could, at certain stages of deformation–assuming sufficiently strong coupling at the ice-till interface–support shear stresses of about 20 kPa, substantially greater than the residual strengths measured in other tills by Kamb (1991) and Iverson et al (1997; Iverson et al., 1998) (<3 kPa). Having thus developed the DSC model for the fully-coupled case (in which there is assumed to be no “sliding” or “slippage” between the basal ice and the underlying bed of “soft” (i.e., water-saturated) till, the research team proposes now to extend the application of the DSC model to the mechanics of relative motion at the interface between the basal ice and underlying till. The proposed work will utilize the specialized Cyclic Multi-Degree-of-Freedom (CYMDOF) shear device at the University of Arizona´s Constitutive Modeling Laboratory, which has been developed and proven in previous advanced geotechnical research applications. The CYMDOF test box will be modified to accommodate ice-till interface specimens with controlled configurations guided by insights gained from continued field study by the research team and from previous observations published by others. The model will be validated by independent tests and then implemented in numerical simulations to predict the motion resulting from the combined effects of interface motion and deformation in the till and ice. The proposed work will take advantage of previously proven methodology and the mathematical and numerical models developed and tested in the previous project.

 

Applications of the research

Ice sheet modelers have long sought a reliable model for soft-bedded ice sheet movement. Despite the important role of slip in ice movement,however, no truly predictive models have yet been developed for slip of ice over a till surface. The results of this project will be an important contribution toward the ultimate development of sophisticated ice sheet models that could provide reliable predictions of growth, decay, and stability of glaciers and ice sheets–both Pleistocene and modern–and their interaction with climate. Such models may also yield new insights into landscape evolution in glacial terrains, such as whether soft-bed deformation could have mobilized sufficient sediment flux to account for the large volumes of till in the Midwestern United States or the large deposits of glacigenic material in the Barents Sea. Answers to such questions have applications to important economic activities in glaciated regions, including water resource management and mineral prospecting and mining.

 

References

  • Carlson, A. E., J. W. Jenson, and P. U. Clark, 2004, Field observations from the Tiskilwa Till, IL, and Sky Pilot Till, MB of the Laurentide Ice Sheet: Geographie Physique et Quaternaire, v. 58, p. 229-239.
  • Desai, C. S., 2001, Mechanics of Materials and Interfaces: The Disturbed State Concept: Boca Raton, Florida, CRC Press.
  • Iverson, N. R., R. W. Baker, and T.S. Hooyer, 1997, A ring shear device for the study of till deformation: Tests on tills with contrasting clay contents: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 16, p. 1057-1066.
  • Iverson, N. R., T. S. Hooyer, and R. W. Baker, 1998, Ring-shear studies of till deformation: Coulomb-plastic behavior and distributed strain in glacier beds: Journal of Glaciology, v. 44, p. 634-642.
  • Kamb, B., 1991, Rheological nonlinearity and flow instability in the deforming bed mechanism of ice stream motion: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 96, p. 585-16,595.
  • Sane, S. M., C. S. Desai, J. W. Jenson, D. S. Contractor, A. E. Carlson, and P. U. Clark, 2008, Disturbed state constitutive modeling of two Pleistocene tills: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 27, p. 267-283

Climate History of Guam Study

A stalagmite collected by WERI researcher, Dr. Jenson and his students, in April 2005 from a cave on northern Guam is providing clues as to how the climate of Guam and the surrounding region evolved over the past 28,000 years. Stable isotope (18O and 13C) and trace element (Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca) analysis on the stalagmite layers are being conducted by collaborators at the University of Texas-Austin School of Geosciences and provide chemical clues about climate history. The initial results from the stalagmite are consistent with results from other islands in the Pacific and suggest, among other things, that the regional climate was much drier some 5000-6000 years ago. The western Pacific Ocean plays an important, but still poorly understood, role in global climate.

Associated Academic Programs

Guam is a United States island territory located in the tropical western Pacific. Guam is a high island built from a succession of volcanic eruptions followed by coral reef buildups. As such it hosts a diversity of interrelated ecosystems and environments ranging from sweeping upland savannas, deep valleys with spectacular waterfalls, limestone forests, and karst terrains seaward to alluvial plains, mangrove forests, and world class beaches, seacliffs, and coral reefs systems.

The Universiy of Guam is the western Pacific´s only Land Grant University. It is mandated to assist in safeguarding the region´s environmental, social, and economic resources. The interdisciplinary Environmental Science Graduate Program provides an integrated research-teaching regime and addresses technical aspects of complex environmental problems and seeks to make informed contributions to their solutions.

Research in the Environmental Science Program is individually tailored. It unifies other graduate curricula, concentrations, and courses at UOG in Biology, Agricultural Sciences, Geology, Marine Sciences and Business and Public Administration. Students receive a Masters of Science in Environmental Science after finishing 33 credit hours of course work and successfully completing their research thesis.

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