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Name: Tirthankar
Status: Other
Age: 20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: September 12, 2002

The sea is full of water. Why is it that this water does not percolate down to the aquifer and recharge it? Why the ground water is sweet even in coastal areas?

Actually, seawater can enter an aquifer and recharge it. Ultimately it is the balance of freshwater entering the land (as rain) versus the height of sea level that determines which way the water flows. Water will flow from the side with greater pressure, so if you draw down the groundwater table sufficiently in a coastal zone (either by removal by excess water use, or preventing freshwater recharge by paving the surface and channeling rainfall directly to the sea), flow will come from the sea rather than freshwater falling on the land. This has happened in some coastal areas as a result of poorly planned development, which both increases water demands on the aquifer (more people) and decreases recharge by rainfall (more area paved over and rain runoff directed straight to the sea).

Donald Yee Ph.D.

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