Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014NY209B

The Effect of Climate Change on the Unconfined Aquifers of Long Island, New York

Institute: New York
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-03-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $10,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: Not available

Principal Investigators: Yuri Gorokhovich

Abstract: Long Island sources all potable water from coastal aquifers confined by the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound. Due to their limited recharge areas and disconnect with the mainland, these coastal aquifers are highly susceptible to the impacts of climate change through changing precipitation, evapotranspiration, and sea level rise. The potential for future reduction in groundwater capacity due to climate change and saltwater intrusion would impact the ability of the aquifers to support the water demands of growing populations, which would have social, political, and economic ramifications. This research will result in a working groundwater model of Long Island that will be used to simulate the impact of climate change on groundwater capacity of the coastal aquifers. Modeling the groundwater at the Long Island-wide scale will allow for projections that may better predict future groundwater conditions. The model is MODFLOW, a free United States Geologic Survey (USGS) computer simulation model that will be adjusted for use with scenarios of climate change and potential saltwater intrusion due to the sea level rise. This research will benefit decision and policy makers on Long Island by providing a tool for assessing groundwater conditions. Upon completion, this work will benefit other coastal communities that depend on coastal aquifers with limited recharge ability.