GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 91-9
Presentation Time: 10:25 AM


BELCHER, Wayne R. and AMER, Saud, Nevada Water Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, 160 North Stephanie Street, Henderson, NV 89074

Humanitarian hydrogeology is based on the concept of geologic stewardship for the good of humanity and is focused on defining and developing water resources for economic and humanitarian aid. Communities in the developing world are often restricted in their access to water resources. Applied science and technology is used to promote the well-being of these communities that face humanitarian crises such as rapidly increasing population, economic distress, natural disasters, and effects from climate change.

Scientists for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have used their expertise for decades for humanitarian and economic purposes in the developing world. The original 1879 domain for the USGS’s efforts within the United States (20 Stat. 394; 43 U.S.C. 31) was expanded to include the international sphere in 1962 (76 Stat. 427; 43 U.S.C. 31 (b)).

Sustainable groundwater management requires an understanding of the water resources available, the processes controlling their movement and quality, and the rate of change imposed on them by human activity and climate change. Current understanding of groundwater resources and the methods to assess them are in many developing countries incomplete, fragmented, and outdated.

This approach uses radar imagery to map shallow soil moisture to define recharge and discharge areas and relate them to potential geologic structures identified on deep hydrogeologic cross sections. These interpretations are integrated into a holistic hydrogeologic conceptualization using 3D hydrogeologic framework models, potentiometric maps, and water budgets. These analyses give local resource managers areas to target for development of water supplies.

  • HumanHydrogeo_GSA_WRB.pptx (16.3 MB)