Understanding water pathways and connections will allow decisions about land development or waste disposal to be evaluated for impact on water supplies in karst regions.
Surface and groundwater flow systems may rapidly recharge the aquifer, and groundwater may return to surface streams at springs miles from the sink points. Karst aquifers can provide tremendous quantities of fresh water, but the water is not uniformly distributed through the aquifer. Much groundwater movement is through caves and conduits below the ground, and flow rates can be as rapid as hundreds of feet per hour.
The KWI is working toward raising awareness of these valuable water resources and keeping them clean. For instance, research that some scientists at KWI conduct is mapping of springs and karst drainage basins.