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Water-resources reconnaissance of Ile de la Gonave, Haiti

January 1, 2004

Île de la Gonâve is a 750-km2  island off the coast of Haiti. The depth to the water table ranges from less than 30 m in the Eocene and Upper Miocene limestones to over 60 m in the 300-m-thick Quaternary limestone. Annual precipitation ranges from 800-1,400 mm. Most precipitation is lost through evapotranspiration and there is virtually no surface water. Roughly estimated from chloride mass balance, about 4% of the precipitation recharges the karst aquifer. Cave pools and springs are a common source for water. Hand-dug wells provide water in coastal areas. Few productive wells have been drilled deeper than 60 m. Reconnaissance field analyses indicate that groundwater in the interior is a calcium-bicarbonate type, whereas water at the coast is a sodium-chloride type that exceeds World Health Organization recommended values for sodium and chloride. Tests for the presence of hydrogen sulfide-producing bacteria were negative in most drilled wells, but positive in cave pools, hand-dug wells, and most springs, indicating bacterial contamination of most water sources. Because of the difficulties in obtaining freshwater, the 110,000 inhabitants use an average of only 7 L per person per day.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2004
Title Water-resources reconnaissance of Ile de la Gonave, Haiti
DOI 10.1007/s10040-003-0309-x
Authors J.W. Troester, M.D. Turvey
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Hydrogeology Journal
Index ID 70026890
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse