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ULM faculty member to study freshwater supply in the Eastern Caribbean

Published May 22, 2015

Dr. Sean Chenoweth, associate professor of geosciences at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, will conduct research on fresh water wells and naturally-occurring sinkholes on the island of Barbuda in the Eastern Caribbean this summer.


For three weeks, Chenoweth will measure the levels of salt in both the municipal and secondary wells on the island. The data analysis and collection will continue for two more years.

According to Chenoweth, the Barbuda population depends heavily on the municipal well for drinking water. However, the freshwater aquifer has been stressed and over pumped to the point that it has been contaminated with saltwater.

“I visited Barbuda a few years ago and noticed there was widespread unfamiliarity among the general population about their freshwater supply,” Chenoweth said. “Some of the misconceptions are: the water comes from a desalinization plant; if you boil the water it is safe to drink; or if you add drink mix flavoring it is safe to drink.”

An accompanying education program will include findings from the field studies, water conservation, and the effects of drinking salty water. Chenoweth will work with the Barbuda Education Council to develop teaching materials to implement in local schools. He will also work with the Antigua and Barbuda Government to create a public awareness campaign concerning the environment and freshwater resources.

Chenoweth earned his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2003, specializing in geomorphology, remote sensing, and geographic information systems.

He has taught at ULM since 2003.