Quantifying the effects of water withdrawal on streams draining the Caribbean National Forest, Puerto Rico
Crook, Kelly Elaine
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The ecological integrity of streams draining the Caribbean National Forest (CNF) is threatened by increasing water demand adjacent to the forest. This study quantifies the amount of water withdrawn from the CNF for municipal use throughout the year, and relates water withdrawal to biota through an index of bi-directional riverine connectivity (IBRC). Shrimps are used as indicator species of connectivity because their migratory range encompasses watersheds draining the CNF; they dominate in-stream faunal biomass, and drive ecosystem-level processes. The movement and transport of shrimps reflects potential movement and transport of other matter and energy. Results suggest that there is great variation in the relative impacts of water withdrawal on in-stream flow and riverine connectivity in streams draining the CNF. Therefore, water planners should consider the cumulative effects of multiple water withdrawals within a watershed, and the limited ability of a stream to support both ecological function and municipal water supplies.