Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Navy eyes Lost River for additional water supply

Navy eyes Lost River for additional water supply

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 00:30
by Jude Lizama | Variety News Staff

THE military is considering the possible development of Tolaeyuus River in Santa Rita—also known as the “Lost River” – to provide additional supply to the Navy’s water system during the dry season, according to the draft environmental impact statement.

A U.S. Geological Survey estimated the river could supply 1.7 to 5.6 millions gallons per day during the dry season, but may be “limited by downstream habitat considerations.”

The draft impact study provides a blueprint for the military’s realignment strategy on Guam, outlining all options to address the island’s water infrastructure and near-capacity levels that require alternative approaches for the future.

If the military decides to undertake this river project, the initiative would result in the rehabilitation of the existing cofferdam, dredging of its reservoir area, and installation of a pump station and discharge pipeline to distribute water supply to the existing Fena Reservoir pump station.

In addition to $200 million in upgrades planned for the Guam Waterworks Authority islandwide system for potable water and wastewater, the impact study lists desalination, Fena dredging and the undeveloped river resource as options under consideration.

Desalinization, or desalination, is comprised of several processes that remove excess salt and other minerals from water. It is another longterm alternative defense department planners are strongly considering to meet their projected water needs.

“In the event that the supply from freshwater wells is insufficient,” the impact study states, the desalination process could replace the development of as many as 31 new water wells at the air force base and in Barrigada.

A third option proposed by the study is more comprehensive dredging of Fena lake to increase capacity at the reservoir.

However, the impact statement states additional assessment is required to “address potential obstacles related to mobilizing a dredge over long distances to the project site, which is in a remote location, as well as logistical difficulties in managing dredged material on Guam.”

The military planners’ preferred alternative is the construction of 22 potable water supply wells at Andersen Air Force Base, rehabilitation of existing wells, more comprehensive integration with GWA and the construction of a 5 million gallon water storage tank at Finegayan.

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