Create a regional-scale database of groundwater quality and geologic information for the Yucatan Peninsula, based on existing data from a range of sources and potential collaborators to obtain an improved knowledge of the hydrogeological system of the Yucatan Peninsula. This acquired knowledge will serve as a base for flow assessment developments, availability, connectivity with the biological diversity and the impact its quality can represent in the health of the population of the Yucatan Peninsula.
a) Scientific Merit
- Objective: Create a regional-scale database of groundwater quality and geologic information for the Yucatan Peninsula, based on existing data from a range of sources and potential collaborators.
- Scientific Significance: Characterization of the aquifer is a necessary first step in any future projects related to groundwater quantity and quality management. Currently, data regarding the large-scale aquifer is scattered amongst agencies and individual PIs, and this project will bring it together to serve as a common resource.
- Broader Impacts: There is a pressing need to preserve the freshwater resources of Yucatan, in order to continue its economic development across the agricultural, tourism, and industrial sectors. This project will ultimately aid in the distribution of quality water to the inhabitants and visitors of the Yucatan, without which a healthy economy and population cannot be supported.
b) Binational problems
Long term sustainability of fresh groundwater supplies is essential for continued well-being of the populations of both the US and Mexico, but is a tremendous management challenge, particularly under a changing and uncertain climate. Safe drinking water is a growing issue in all parts of the world, particularly developing nations and water-stressed regions. Moreover, the karst aquifer in the Yucatan is similar to that found in other areas (e.g., Texas, Florida, Qatar and the Middle East, Spain) and scientific insights gained can be applied in these regions.
c) Anticipated Results/Products
- Determine if sufficient data is currently available to assess the changes in water quality and quantity over time and space.
- Identify hotspots where humans are potentially being exposed to extremely high levels of pollutants.
- Design a website to host the data (control to be transmitted to future research center or governmental agency).
- Outline a conceptual model for large scale aquifer behavior (e.g., recharge characteristics, influences on quality, thickness of freshwater lens).
- Develop plan of collaboration for large scale geophysical survey (w/Fugro).