2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 8:50 AM


HALIHAN, Todd, School of Geology, Oklahoma State University, 105 Noble Research Center, Stillwater, OK 74078, halihan@okstate.edu

One of the challenges society faces is providing fresh water to humans and the environment without controlling human population. The primary difficulties in providing sustainable water source are the cost of developing storage capacity in basins and finding water to fill the available space. The majority of solutions are based on a common theme, making water or saving water where it can be seen by human eyes. These storage solutions include storage as snow pack and dam construction. For filling these storage locations, the solutions are cloud seeding, desalinization, damming rivers and pumping ground water into surface water storage. Assuming the controlling variables on the problem of water supply are cost of storage per unit volume and volume of water generated, a clear alternative emerges. Water storage could be provided by ground water systems and the water to fill them would be provided by reducing evapotranspiration by less than 5%. This could be achieved by making water use important for crop economics, managing basin vegetation, or storing water underground to limit evaporation. Karst aquifers make unique locations to experiment with the solution because of the discrete input and output that commonly characterize these aquifers. As management models of many karst systems are improved, the systems can be used to test basin wide policy changes for generating sustainable water.