Salinization: A grave threat to precious freshwater sources on coral islands
When we think of small islands, we think of climate change and rising sea levels that threaten to drown them. But much before it comes to that, there are more immediate problems that threaten to make them unliveable in the short run.
Coral islands such as the Marshall Islands are sustained by their freshwater lenses. These lenses are masses of freshwater floating atop heavier seawater.
With population pressures building fast, freshwater is being pumped out of the lenses in greater volume and faster rate. This shrinks the lens, which is bad enough. Additionally, when the lens shrinks in volume, seawater tends to move in and salinize it. This is not easily reversible.
The Laura Water Lens in Majuro, Marshall Islands, is faced with this very problem. As a result, communities are faced with acute water shortage and high tariffs. The video ‘Laura Water Lens’ (produced by GEF’s Pacific-IWRM project) captures the causes and effects of the problem, and what is being tried out to manage them.
For more videos, stories, research and resources related to salinization, visit TheWaterChannel’s theme page ‘Is the world getting saltier?’