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Term Groundwater

Water which exists under the earth’s surface in a saturation zone, where the pores of the earth or rocks are full of water. In most cases the pores and crevices in the bedrock or sediment act as a sponge, filled with water without consolidating. The only significant exceptions are soluble rocks such as limestone and gypsum. These are susceptible to a process known as karstification, in which water erosion creates caves, caverns and other passageways. Because in the Dominican Republic there are large karstic and limestone areas, these types of groundwaters are common.

The underground area in which the void are filled with water is called the saturation zone, and its upper level is known as the water table. The water table can be found at various depths, and it is not horizontal.

A study conducted by Jasminko Karanjac called “Disponibilidad de agua subterránea en la República Dominicana: Una re-evaluación” (SEMARN, 2002) [Availability of groundwater in the Dominican Republic: A re-evaluation] explains the current state of groundwater in the country, particularly in the eastern coastal plain. It reevaluates the studies on groundwater available in the country and makes some corrections, indicating that one study lists the availability of groundwater in the entire country at 2 billion cubic meters (MCM) in an average year, an acceptable amount. It also indicates that “the intrusion of sea water” (saline intrusion) is a frequent occurrence, especially along the coast in the eastern coastal plain, from Santo Domingo to Punta Cana and Bávaro.

Adherence to the Environmental Standard on Quality of Groundwater and Underground Discharge is mandatory for the use of all types of groundwater, and is managed by the Vice-ministry of Land and Water. It includes provisions for the characteristics of wells, groundwater quality and control of underground discharge. It also establishes five categories of underground waters, depending on their level of resource use, the maximum physical, chemical and biological parameters, and the maximum discharge limits for pollution sources.


Additional Information
Topic  BiodiversityResources coastal / marineSoil and water