Category: Groundwater in the News
|January 11, 2013||Posted by karmadsen under blog, Groundwater and Surface Water, Groundwater in the News|
Saltwater intrusion is an increasing problem in Florida. In 2011, Hector Castro, the Hallandale Beach public works and utilities director, told the Sun Sentinel, “It is still progressing westward. Eventually all coastal communities will deal with this in some way, shape or form.” Saltwater intrusion has been exacerbated by drought and sea-level rise, and 90% of Florida’s drinking water comes from groundwater sources.
Southern Florida has a unique hydrological system that is extremely vulnerable to salt water intrusion. In Southern Florida, both the surficial aquifer systems and the underlying Floridan aquifer systems exhibit high conductivity, and karst formations are present. In the 1960′s the state constructed a canal system that partially drained sections of the Everglades to prevent flooding of urban areas. The construction of these drains not only lowered the water table in the region, but also removed the natural hydrological barrier that was maintained by the Atlantic Coastal Ridge, protecting the Everglades from saltwater intrusion by the Atlantic Ocean (Dausman & Langevin 2004).
The USGS has identified three vectors for saltwater intrusion in Florida: 1) lateral saltwater intrusion, 2) upconing in the interface formed in response to well pumping, and 3) canal leakage (Dausman & Langevin 2004).
Large Scale Maps of Saltwater Intrusion
Tracking saltwater intrusion in Florida on a very large scale is becoming increasingly possible.
In recent years, researchers have begun using electromagnetic geophysical methods to monitor saltwater intrusion. In 2004, researchers from the USGS presented results at the 18th Salt Water Intrusion Meeting regarding using airborne electromagnetic surveys to map saltwater intrusion in Southern Florida and the Everglades. By measuring the water quality in the sparse wells and boreholes, the researchers were able to relate helicopter electromagnetic surveys to salinity in the wells. Using this method, they created a map of conductivity by depth over three counties and the Everglades. The method contains significant uncertainty, because the conductivity of the pore-water must be separated out from the conductivity of the rock matrix. Over large scales, where the rock matrix varies widely, this correction becomes more difficult.
But their results clearly show the saltwater/freshwater interface, which is quite abrupt at shallow depths and more gradual at deeper depths. The survey also shows how man-made features affect the interface. For example, the affect of constructed canals, which release freshwater in the subsurface through infiltration, can be observed on the conductivity map (Fitterman & Deszcz-Pan 2004).
Learn more about salt water intrusion in Florida:
- Listen to this five part audio series by Barclay Shoemaker which has be posted by the USGS (the Florida Environment, July 16, 2007, copyrighted by Kevin Pierce).
- Check out presentations from SWIM: 20th Salt water Intrusion Meeting (July 23-27, 2008).
Dausman, A. & Langevin, C.D. (2004). Movement of Saltwater Interface in the Surficial Aquifer System in Response to Hydrologic Stresses and Water-Management Practices, Broward County, Florida. USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5256. Prepared in cooperation with the South Florida Water Management District. Available at: http://lake.wateratlas.usf.edu/upload/documents/sir20045256.pdf
Fitterman, D.V., & Deszcz-Pan, M. 2004. Characterization of Saltwater Intrusion in South Florida Using Electromagnetic Geophysical Methods. Proceedings of the 18th Salt Water Intrusion Meeting. Available at: http://sofia.usgs.gov/publications/papers/sw_intrusion_sfl/.
|November 17, 2012||Posted by karmadsen under blog, Groundwater in the News, Videos|
Earlier this week, Venice was flooded after sever storms, with 70% of the city underwater. Check out the video from CNN.
|November 10, 2012||Posted by karmadsen under blog, Drinking Water, Environmentalism, Groundwater in the News, Storm Water|
CNN discusses some of the water contamination dangers associated hurricane flooding.
|August 11, 2012||Posted by karmadsen under blog, Groundwater in the News, Visualization|
Follow this link to view the first ever panoramic view of Mars by panoramas.dk. Looking at this picture it’s easy to image human being one day walking on the planet. Really, it doesn’t look much different than Utah! Even the sky, which is a pale reddish hue, looks like something you might see on earth at sunset.
A primary mission of the Curiosity Rover is to specifically look for evidence that Mars could ever have supported life, and an important part of that is the hydrologic system.
|August 9, 2012||Posted by karmadsen under blog, Drought, Groundwater in the News|
July was the hottest month every recorded in the lower 48 states, part of the warmest 12 month period ever recorded. 63% of the country is now experiences drought conditions.
The weather has devastated corn crops cause the price of corn to rise to record highs. Over the last seven weeks corn prices are up 60%. For the first time in history, the corn yield has declined three years in a row.
|August 6, 2012||Posted by karmadsen under blog, Drought, Groundwater and Agriculture, Groundwater in the News, Groundwater Pumping|
When is drought good for business?
|August 4, 2012||Posted by karmadsen under blog, Geology, Groundwater and Bedrock, Groundwater in the News, Videos|
A reporter in China was doing a story about a sink hole in the sidewalk, when suddenly the sink hole expanded behind her. Scary stuff.
|August 1, 2012||Posted by karmadsen under blog, Geology, Groundwater Education, Groundwater in the News, Videos, Visualization|
I’m always interested in finding videos that show interesting groundwater phenomenons. This video shows sinkholes forming below a small retention pond in Florida and draining the pond.
Here’s a video showing an animation of how sinkholes form in Florida.
|July 27, 2012||Posted by karmadsen under blog, Groundwater Cleanup, Groundwater Contamination, Groundwater Education, Groundwater in the News|
|July 22, 2012||Posted by karmadsen under blog, Environmentalism, Fracking, Groundwater in the News|
A recent Associated Press article made the case that fracking opponents are guilty of twisting scientific facts. A specific examples described in the article is a supposed fracking-related breast cancer cluster, that does not in fact exist. The article also mentions that when advocates worry about fracking causing air pollution, they often fail to include in their calculations the fact that natural gas is much cleaner than coal it replaces
Obviously, a lot could go wrong with fracking, if it were poorly managed. This is why transparency, monitoring, and further study are warranted. But good science must always have the last word.
Meanwhile, on Friday, the American Water Works Association, the National Association of Water Companies, and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, issued a joint policy statement calling for fracking to be managed under existing environmental legislation, such as the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act. They also called for best management practices to be applied at all fracking wells.