Water resources of the Palau Islands

Water-Resources Investigations Report 83-4140




The Palau Islands are a group of 350 islands, ranging in size from a few hundred square feet to the 153-square-mile island of Babelthuap. Babelthuap is the second largest island in the Western Pacific and comprises more than 80 percent of the total land area of the Palau Islands. Most of the islands are uninhabited limestone ridges covered with dense vegetation. These islands have no freshwater resources and are not included in this report. The island of Koror with an area of 3.6 square miles is the administrative, commercial, and population center of Palau and has an annual average rainfall of 148 inches. Short-term rainfall records at other locations in the islands indicate little variation in annual rainfall throughout the Palau Islands. Runoff-to-rainfall ratios for streams on Babelthuap show that about 70 percent of the rain falling on the island runs off to the ocean. The uniformity of rainfall and basin characteristics is shown by the excellent correlation between mean annual rainfall on Koror and streamflow on Babelthuap and by the close correlations between discharge at gaging stations and partial-record sites. Surface water quality is generally very good as shown by 55 chemical analyses of water from 18 sources. The dissolved solids concentration of water samples did not exceed 66 milligrams per liter. This report summarizes in one volume hydrologic data collection in a 14-year period of study and provides interpretations of the data than can be used by planners and public works officials as a basis for making decisions on the development and management of the islands ' water resources.

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USGS Numbered Series
Water resources of the Palau Islands
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey, WRD,
xv, 223 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.