Date of Award

Fall 12-13-2019

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Christina H. Fuller

Second Advisor

Dr. Christa Watson-Wright

Third Advisor

Dr. Christine Stauber

Abstract

Fresh water is not a guaranteed resource. Most of Georgia’s fresh-water sources are refilled by rainwater, and any form of drought or decrease in rainfall levels would result in Georgia’s fresh-water supply becoming vulnerable to over-extraction. This would potentially lead to serious issues including monetary losses in industries which require the use of water in their operations. However, another issue with fresh-water loss is that when fresh water does not flow at expected levels towards the Georgia coast, salt-water begins to intrude into the major available fresh-water reservoirs of the coastal region, particularly the Upper Floridian aquifer. This salt-water intrusion is already contaminating the fresh-water supply in the aquifer that the cities of Savannah and Brunswick depend on for fresh-water. While progressive water conservation and reuse methods are already being planned and implemented, production of freshwater, particularly from desalinated seawater and brackish water, should be reconsidered. If the state waits any longer to install such infrastructure, the process could become more difficult and costlier. This capstone project will discuss the need for new freshwater sources, the dangers of saltwater intrusion, and how seawater and brackish water desalination could potentially fulfill this need.

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