Good Geoscience in Dire Places: Searching for Water in Humanitarian Crises

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Date: December 18, 2020
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Location: Virtual - Zoom
Category: Seminar

Transformative Change in Environmental Sustainability is a collaborative, student-led seminar series hosted by T-RUST (Transformative Research in Urban Sustainability Training) at WSU and GLIER (Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research) at the University of Windsor. Seminars are biweekly during the 2020-2021 academic year.

Please RSVP to this event and the Zoom link will be sent to the email used for registration two days before the seminar.

In this talk, I lead you on the geophysical search and then the discovery of water in a few of the refugee camps and conflict zones in East Africa. In each of these settings, the cause of human displacement is distinct, the geology and hydrogeology vary, the landscapes are strikingly different, but the need for water is equally desperate.

In one of the largest refugee camps in the world, in the Turkana desert of Kenya, seismic and resistivity surveys helped to increase the water supply to the camp and, simultaneously, a previously unrecognized public health crisis was addressed. In Northern Uganda, in the devastation left behind by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army, village water supplies were restored following geophysical surveys and hydrochemical testing. More importantly, the local Ugandan crews were trained to carry on with this technical work. Finally, in the midst of a civil war in the world’s newest country, South Sudan, an emergency mission relying on resistivity surveys took advantage of a cessation of hostilities to find water in villages stranded by the conflict.

Paul Bauman has a BScE in Geological Engineering from Princeton (1981), and an MSc in Earth Sciences from the University of Waterloo (1990). For 31 years he has been the founding director of the Near Surface Geophysics Group at Advisian in Calgary. He and his group have carried out projects in water exploration, contaminant mapping, archaeology, and engineering geophysics on all seven continents. Some of their project work has appeared in documentaries and network series on NOVA, National Geographic, the History Channel, and the Discovery Network.

You can learn more about Mr. Bauman's work on his website, on Facebook, and on LinkedIn.

December 2020