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Meetings

USGS Participates in India-U.S. Coastal Water-Quality Workshop


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Debashis Acharya, S.C. Gupta, Cheryl Hapke, Buvana Ramaswamy, Veerabaswant Reddy, Sunderrajan Krishnan, William Blanford, Thomas Boving, B.S. Choudri, Kavita Hawaldar, A.L. Ramanathan
Above: Some workshop participants: (front row) Debashis Acharya, S.C. Gupta, Cheryl Hapke, Buvana Ramaswamy, Veerabaswant Reddy, Sunderrajan Krishnan, William Blanford; (back row) Thomas Boving, B.S. Choudri, Kavita Hawaldar, A.L. Ramanathan. The meeting was held in the TERI conference facility. [larger version]

Rapid population growth and development are occurring in many coastal areas of Goa—India's smallest state, situated on the central west coast of the subcontinent. As sea levels rise over the next half-century and beyond, coastal regions will become more vulnerable to shoreline erosion, saltwater intrusion into coastal aquifers, increased incursion of tides in coastal rivers, microbiological and chemical contamination, and more frequent coastal flooding. India is currently undergoing tremendous economic growth, the extent and sustainability of which will be limited if safe and reliable drinking-water resources are unavailable. Both natural increases in the rates of coastal change and development pressures in the coastal zone are resulting in an urgency to formulate an adequate response strategy for the sustainable development of coastal areas.

To address these issues, 10 scientists from India and the United States met in Goa, India, March 17-21, 2008, to discuss the establishment of an International Partnership for Coastal Water Resources (IPCWR). The workshop, which was hosted by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), included researchers from government, academia, and the private sector. The primary goal of this workshop was to strengthen existing multi-institutional links between Indian and U.S. researchers and to formalize the design of a new interdisciplinary center focused on research related to water quality and remediation technology in coastal areas. The workshop was organized by Thomas Boving (Department of Geosciences, University of Rhode Island) and B.S. Choudri (TERI) and was funded in part by the Indo-US Science & Technology Forum. U.S. workshop participants included U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientist Cheryl Hapke (USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center's Coastal Research Field Station at the University of Rhode Island), William Blanford (Department of Geology and Geophysics, Louisiana State University), and Buvana Ramaswamy (CDM [Camp, Dresser and McKee, Inc.]). In addition to Choudri, four Indian researchers with expertise ranging from hydrogeochemistry to human health participated in the workshop. During the workshop, each participant gave a presentation in his or her area of expertise, and discussions took place regarding the vision, mission, and focus of the proposed center.

map of India
Above: India, showing the states of Goa (red), where the workshop was held, and neighboring Karnataka (light green), where the workshop team took a field trip.

A field trip was organized to provide all participants with a better understanding of the water-quality issues in Goa and the neighboring state of Karnataka. The team visited the town of Dandeli in northwestern Karnataka to experience firsthand the polluted Kali River. Upon arrival in Dandeli, Boving and Choudri gave presentations at the Bangurnagar Degree College, outlining the purpose of the new center and exploring possible future collaborative efforts between the center and the college. Students then gave presentations on a water-quality survey carried out around the Kali River and shared their experiences on water quality, the local community's perception of issues related to water management, and the need for remediation of Kali River water. After the presentations, the team visited a few sites along the Kali River, including the source of pollution and the site of a planned riverbank-filtration system.

Thomas Boving discusses a water-quality-remediation project with students at the Bangurnagar Degree College Proposed location of a riverbank-filtration system along the Kali Rive
Above left: Thomas Boving (back left) discusses a water-quality-remediation project with students at the Bangurnagar Degree College in Dandeli, Karnataka. Students from the college conducted a recent survey in local villages to identify water-quality issues. [larger version]

Above right: Proposed location of a riverbank-filtration system along the Kali River near Dandeli, Karnataka. At this site, effluent from a large paper mill discharges into the river (note line of color change just beyond small island). In May 2008, Tom Boving, Bill Blanford, and B.S. Choudri plan to begin the installation of the filtration system, which will help to provide clean, effluent-free water to the local village. [larger version]

Before and immediately after the 5-day workshop, Hapke, Boving, and Blanford visited several sites to characterize the varied geomorphology of the Goa coastline and to explore future research sites and opportunities. The 105-km-long Goa coast is ideal for a pilot study for developing methods of measuring and predicting coastal change in India because it has sandy beaches, rocky headlands, and soft, eroding bluffs. In addition to conducting site visits along the coast, Hapke met with Pravin Kunte of the National Institute of Oceanography in Dona Paula, Goa, to discuss future research collaborations.

wide expanse of sandy beach at Palolem, South Goa bluff failure of the soft laterite cliffs rocky headlands surrounding a small pocket beach
Above: Varied geomorphology of the Goa coastline: wide expanse of sandy beach at Palolem, South Goa (left, larger version]); bluff failure of the soft laterite cliffs at Anjuna Beach, North Goa, threatening a restaurant built on the bluff top (center, larger version]); rocky headlands surrounding a small pocket beach at Colomb Beach, South Goa (right, larger version]).

Related Web Sites
International Partnership for Coastal Water Research
international partnership
The Energy and Resources Institute
TERI
National Institute of Oceanography
Goa, India
Indo-US Science & Technology Forum
not-for-profit society

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in this issue:

Fieldwork
cover story:
Water Quality in the Salish Sea

Research Striking Variability in Sea-Otter Diets and Feeding Strategies

Meetings U.S. Coastal Water-Quality Workshop

Trans-Atlantic Coral Ecosystem Study

Awards Alaska Bird Conservation Awards

Staff Sea-Otter Expert Joins USGS Staff

New Mendenhall Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Publications May Publications List


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