Saltwater Intrusion and Freshwater Storage in Sand Sediments along the Coastline: Hydrogeological Investigations and Groundwater Modeling of Nauru Island

Water resources sustainable management is a vital issue for small islands where groundwater is often the only available water resource. Nauru is an isolated and uplifted limestone atoll island located in the Pacific Ocean. Politecnico di Milano performed a feasibility study for the development of sustainable use of groundwater on the island. This paper focuses on the first phase of the study that concerns the conceptual site model development, the hydrogeological characterization and the 2D model implementation. During the project, different activities were performed such as GNSS topographic survey of monitoring wells and groundwater level surveys taking into account
tidal fluctuation. This data collection and the analysis of previous studies made it possible to identify the most suitable areas for groundwater sustainable extraction. The characterization findings suggested, unlike previous studies and surveys, the presence of only few drought resilient thin freshwater lenses, taking place in low conductivity sandy deposits, unexpectedly next to the seashore. Thanks to the 2D modeling results, it has been possible to clarify the mechanism that allows the storage of freshwater so close to the sea.

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timestamp Sat, 01/22/2022 - 06:05