The principal islands of American Samoa are Tutuila, Aunuu, Ofu, Olosega, and Ta'u, which have a total area of about 72 square miles and a population of about 20,000. The mean annual rainfall is 150 to 200 inches.
The islands are volcanic in origin and are composed of lava flows, dikes, tuff. and breccia, and minor amounts of talus, alluvium, and calcareous sand and gravel. Tutuila is a complex island formed of rocks erupted from five volcanoes. Aunuu is a tuff cone. Ofu, Olosega, and Ta'u are composed largely of thin-bedded lava flows.
Much of the rock of Tutuila has low permeability, and most of the ground water is in high-level reservoirs that discharge at numerous small springs and seeps. The flow from a few springs and seeps is collected in short tunnels or in basins for village supply, but most villages obtain their water from streams. A large supply of basal ground water may underlie the Tafuna-Leone plain at about sea level in permeable lava flows. Small basal supplies may be in alluvial fill at the mouths of large valleys.
Aunuu has small quantities of basal water in beach deposits of calcareous sand and gravel. Minor amounts of high-level ground-water flow from springs and seeps on Ofu, Olosega, and Ta'u. The generally permeable lava flows in the three islands contain substantial amounts of basal ground water that can be developed in coastal areas in wells dug to about sea level.