Pine Cay’s Natural Freshwater Lens

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Tropical Imaging Ltd 2007


Pine Cay’s Natural Freshwater Lens provides fresh drinking water for The Meridian Club

One of the greatest challenges of private island vacationing is the availability of clean potable drinking water, water that is affordable and can sustain living on “paradise” island.  Ask any general manager of a property off-and-away from modern civilization, and they will tell you leaving the island for anything they need is both a blessing and a curse.  The greatest challenge is providing services most people take for granted – electricity, water, communication, transport.  Pine Cay is fortunate to have an abundance of easily acquirable drinking water, making at least one of these very easy to accommodate guests.

Pine Cay’s hidden water lens: a delicate balance

The islands most distinctive natural feature, aside from its very private and very beautiful white sand beach, is an underground fresh water “lens.”  The structure and porosity of the limestone that makes up this small private cay just to the east of Providenciales means rainfall is absorbed and held as if by a sponge.

The freshwater lens itself is formed when lighter rainwater floats on top of the heavier, denser salty seawater, creating an underground lens-shaped layer of pure fresh water, varying in depth from a few inches to over 40 feet.

The Pine Cay Homeowners Association has invested heavily to preserve the freshwater supply on the island. Read about how the reef ball project protected our freshwater lens.

An oasis floating on the azure Caribbean Sea

Another reason for the relative abundance of fresh water on Pine Cay is its downwind location from North and Middle Caicos.

Clouds build up over these larger islands and produce showers over Pine Cay.  Records show that Pine Cay enjoys about 50% more rainfall than Grand Turk, South Caicos and Providenciales.  Although there is no rainy season, the “locals” all agree that showers are more frequent in the spring and fall.

Thanks to these rain showers, there are seven freshwater ponds on Pine Cay, and they can be visited via the nature trails that criss-cross the island.  To protect the fresh water supply, almost all occupied buildings on the island have rain water catchment and storage systems.

Between the rainfall and careful stewardship of the water lens means, The Meridian Club (unlike many isolated island resorts), does not need to ship in fresh water from elsewhere.

Saying “no” to bottled water on Pine Cay

Many people are concerned about the safety of drinking water in the Caribbean islands, and most depend on purchasing bottled water throughout their vacation.  Pine Cay’s process to protect natural water means residents and visitors do not need to rely on bottled water at all.

Fresh water is often highly sought after at other luxury destinations around the world, and can often be expensive. Visitors to Pine Cay can drink clear, naturally filtered water – often tasting better than the tap water back home – as part of their stay, thanks to the water lens.

And there is a very practical reason for making use of the sustainable water lens: purchasing bottled water can cost quite a bit when on vacation. A regular bottle of water typically cost from $1.50 to $2.00.  If a couple aims to have 8 bottles a day they will spend $170 to $224 for water while on a week-long vacation. For some this cost is not factor, but for many the inconvenience of constantly seeking out drinkable water, taking time out to pay for it, and more time to recycle the plastic impedes on enjoying that day in paradise.  On Pine Cay guests have access to clean drinkable water any time.

The Meridian Club, helping steward Pine Cay’s sustaining resource – water

A hydrological survey determined there is ample fresh water to support both the natural habitat and the amount of residential development on the island.  However, water is a precious resource and the residents of Pine Cay all work together to practice conservation in order to ensure its continued volume and purity.