Ground-Water Use from the Principal Aquifers in Puerto Rico During Calendar Year 1990
Puerto Rico has an area of 3,460 square miles (mi2) including
the offshore municipalities of Vieques and Culebra. Approximately 30
percent of the area (1,067 mi2)
is underlain by alluvial and limestone deposits, which make up the principal
aquifers of the islands. These aquifers extend mostly along the islands’ coastal
areas. Volcanic rock aquifers of limited extent also may be present locally
throughout the east/west trending Cordillera Central mountain range of
Puerto Rico and the interior mountainous areas of Isla de Vieques and
Isla de Culebra (Gómez- Gómez, 1987). A significant amount
of the water used in Puerto Rico during 1990 was withdrawn from aquifers
at a rate of 158 million gallons per day (Mgal/d).
the purposes of this report the principal aquifers of Puerto Rico have
into four major aquifer areas, the: (1) North Coast Province;
(2) South Coast Province; (3) West and East Coast Provinces, Lajas
valley, and the Esperanza and Resolución valleys; and, (4) Interior
Province (Caguas-Juncos valley and Cayey valley) (fig. 1). The major
and the area of coverage in Puerto Rico are shown in table 1.
Rico has a complex rainfall pattern which is mainly controlled by the
orographic effects of the Cordillera Central mountain range, with an
altitude of 2,800 feet (ft) at most peaks and a maximum altitude of 4,400 ft.
The Cordillera Central forms a barrier to the Northeast Trade Winds and affects
the distribution of rainfall throughout Puerto Rico. Much of the south coast
lies in a rain shadow averaging less than 45 inches per year (in/yr) of rainfall,
whereas the northern part of the island averages about 80 in/yr.
a yearly basis, Puerto Rico receives an average of 72 inches of rainfall,
of which about
46 inches is lost to evapotranspiration, 23 inches is accounted as surface-water
1 inch is stored as surface water in reservoirs, 1 inch is withdrawn from
coastal aquifers, and 1 inch is ground-water discharge from coastal aquifers
estuaries, and the seabed (F. Gómez-Gómez, USGS, written commun.,
1996). The offshore islands of Isla de Vieques and Isla de Culebra have a
similar rainfall pattern as the south coast of Puerto Rico. A generalized
for the island of Puerto Rico is shown in figure 2.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
North Coast Province
South Coast Province
West and East Coast Provinces, Lajas Valley, and Esperanza-Resolución Valley
Self-Supplied Domestic and Industrial
Irrigation and Livestock
Mining and Thermoelectric
The citation for this report, in USGS format, is as
Molina-Rivera, W.L., 1996, Ground-water
use from the principal aquifers in Puerto Rico during calendar year
1990: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 188-96, 3 p.