Guam Water Institute and USGS work to improve drinking water resources

by Water and Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific

A picture of Cetti Bay in Guam.

The University of Guam Water and Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific (WERI) and the USGS Pacific Islands Water Science Center are collaborating to expand groundwater monitoring, data management, and modeling needed for effective management of Guam’s drinking-water resources. WERI and USGS have a long-standing collaborative relationship that was established in 1998 by Guam Public Law 24-161, which provided the first dedicated public funding to support hydrologic permanent data collection on Guam. This collaborative relationship leverages local expertise at WERI with nation-wide scientific resources available from the USGS to study water-resource issues critical to managing water resources in Guam.

In 2016, the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Economic Adjustment granted $3.7M to the Guam Waterworks Authority (GWA) for rehabilitation of 12 existing monitor wells and installation of seven new monitor wells needed for expanded groundwater monitoring, in support of plans for buildup of military activities on Guam over the next decade. WERI and USGS will be providing technical support for these critical infrastructure improvements including geophysical logging to characterize water-bearing zones, the extent of vertical flow in boreholes, and salinity distribution in the boreholes and aquifer. As part of a proposed 10-year One-Guam Aquifer Monitoring Program, WERI and USGS will expand and deepen their collaborative work to analyze and interpret new data from the expanded monitoring system and thus provide GWA, DoD, and other stakeholders—through an interagency framework—with independent, objective scientific information needed to make informed water-resource management decisions.