The Cul-de-Sac Plain is perhaps the most important agricultural area in Haiti because of its nearness and accessibility to Port-au-Prince, the nation‘s capital, metropolis, and principal seaport. Most of the agricultural produce consumed in Port-au-Prince as well as a considerable part of that exported from Haiti is grown in the plain.
Because of variable and poorly distributed rainfall, high temperature, and high evaporation, semiarid climatic conditions prevail in the plain. Irrigation is, therefore, necessary for successful farming. There are no regulatory or storage facilities on the streams that enter the plain, but the mean and low-water stream flow and the discharge of springs are almost entirely appropriated for irrigation. Ground water has been utilized for irrigation to an increasing extent by the Haitian American Sugar Company, which has put down about 100 wells in the plain since 1919.
Outside the existing irrigated areas of the plain are large tracts of potentially irrigable land that are uncultivated and agriculturally unproductive for lack of water. The object of the present study was to determine the possibilities of bringing these lands into cultivation by irrigation from wells. This study was part of a larger program of the Food Supply Division, Institute of Inter-American Affairs, to increase the production of food in Haiti.
From September through November 1948 the senior author, a member of the U. S. Geological Survey, spent three months in the field in an investigation of the geology and ground-water resources of the Cul-de-Sac Plain. He was ably assisted by Mr. Rémy C. Lemoine, Haitian engineer-geologist, employed by the Food Supply Division. The field work included principally the geologic mapping of‘ the plain and the adjacent mountain borders, a ground-water inventory of existing wells and springs, and a general evaluation of significant geologic and hydrologic features.