This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Effects of Land Cover, Climate, and Urbanization on Groundwater Resources in Dauphin Island




Petty, Katherine

Type of Degree



Civil Engineering


The effects of land cover change, climate change, and population growth on the groundwater resources of a barrier island were explored in this study. The relationship between land cover and groundwater recharge was studied for seven locations in the Southeast. SEAWAT was used to develop a detailed groundwater model for managing water resources in Dauphin Island, Alabama. Various scenarios were simulated to assess the sensitivity of the groundwater aquifer to parameters such as sea level rise, increased pumping rates, and decreases in recharge due to climate change or land cover change. A heuristic approach was used to estimate sustainable pumping levels for the Dauphin Island aquifer as a function of the annual groundwater recharge. Based on the model predictions from the Dauphin Island groundwater model, it is expected that decreasing recharge due to climate change would have the greatest effect on the island’s groundwater resources. Land cover change, sea level rise, as well as increased water demand due to expected population growth did not have as large of an effect on the aquifer. Some of the scenarios simulated indicated a definite risk of lateral saltwater intrusion occurring in the aquifer. This information is useful for introducing water management practices on the island.