GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 310-8
Presentation Time: 3:45 PM


MANDAL, Arpita, Department of Geography and Geology, University of the West Indies,, Dept of Geography and Geology, UWI MONA, KINGSTON, 1111, Jamaica and MITCHELL, Simon F., Geography and Geology, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica,

Jamaica, the third largest island of the Caribbean is significantly affected by variability in the climate pattern which has impacted the island’s water resources in the past few years. The water resources of the island (surface and groundwater) were severely affected in the years 2010, 2013-2015 following less than normal rainfall and passage of the El Nino circulation in 2015, leading to severe droughts in the eastern and southern sections of the island (parishes of St Catherine, Kingston and St Andrew, the two heavily populated parishes of the island). Additionally the groundwater resources of these parishes have also been affected by contamination from sewage and salt water intrusion which has led to closure of some of the operational wells, thus leading to additional water stresses for the parishes. Water levels in the two primary reservoirs for the capital city Kingston fell to <30% of its maximum capacity thus leading to severe water lock offs which affected all sectors in the city. This thus necessitated the need for research into finding newer sources of water to combat the issues of recurrent drought due to variability of the weather patterns as well as climate model projections which show a trend of increase in temperature and decrease in daily rainfall for the Caribbean.

Geological mapping along with geomorphological study have aided in delineation of hydrological basins, depth to water table as well as aquifer thicknesses. In the present study , a new and revised 1:50000 Geological Map was created for the parish of St Catherine, in the Rio Cobre basin which is third largest watershed management unit and has been tapped for supplying water to the capital city of Kingston. The new geological map outlines the different types of limestones, the structural features as well as extent of aquifers. This along with the study on the porosity and permeability of the limestones, the different structural controls on the variation in the spatial extent and depth to the water table will aid in redefining the extent of the hydrostratigraphic units and possible identification of newer water resources. This thus aids in a better understanding of the water resources of the parish which will aid water managers for better allocation facilities.