Challenges in freshwater management in low coral atolls

Country

Population centres in low atoll islands have water supply problems that are amongst the most critical in the world. Fresh groundwater, the major source of water in many atolls, is extremely vulnerable to natural processes and human activities.  Storm surges and over-extractions cause seawater intrusion, while human settlements and agriculture can pollute shallow groundwaters. Limited land areas restrict freshwater quantities, particularly in frequent ENSO-related droughts.