SSIFWC - Concept to project, why bother?
A nagging doubt remained but I have convinced myself it is worthwhile pursuing a SSIFWC (“FWC” not “WC” as that has other, though related, connotations). Putting myself in the comfort zone to proceed was based on the following “Project Premises”:
> That there are water availability, water quality and ecosystem linkages between the surface and subsurface (ground)water.
> Gaining more data on seasonal vs year round flow, spring lines, lake levels, water quality, precipitation...etc is key to improving our understanding of the islands water resources and their impact on the island…
> There is interest in the community in being involved.
I hope I am right!
SSIFWC - Is there a technical backdrop?
Water on an (our) island is finite, lots of prior work on water resources has been done but there are still significant uncertainties in the total water resources available (and for the subsurface where), and groundwater recharge rates.
Much of the prior freshwater work has focused on the main surface water bodies (> 50% of the islands supply) but there is more... walking around the islands many reserves and hills suggests there is quite a bit about the water plumbing we do not fully understand (surface, subsurface - groundwater and the interaction between the two). Knowing our surface water systems better will help with our understanding of the island’s subsurface recharge, and the sensitivities between this groundwater recharge and the surface water (and ecosystems). Sounds like some scope for some field work...
The subsurface is supposed to be stored in fracture only... really? Experience in other resource industries indicates that (connected) fractures make great “permeability highways”for fluids, but do need to tap into a large storage system to sustain longer term production (good analogies here being shale gas, or tight oil...). Or we need a very regular (and substantial) recharge.
On our island annual precipitation (rain) provides the (groundwater) storage recharge, but are we really entirely reliant on seasonal heavy down pours needed, on a yearly basis, without fail. Is our island's ca 1m annual rainfall enough, time will tell...
Island living is a little “eutopic”, with the rose tinted glasses firmly "on"; all the freshwater is perfectly pure (AKA very high quality), and there are no issues with anthropomorphic interventions (human interference). We assume that our water is in good shape, are we sure? How about establishing some water baselines, where we can demonstrate (or not) the high quality, and track it to see if anything is changing. Sounds like an opportunity to do some citizen science...
Water is important so that anything we do has a built in add-on benefits - education and ownership (stewardship)
SSIFWC - Some brain storming thoughts on moving a Catalogue forward (launch?):
> It has to be worth doing the project. Timeline? Dependant on (volunteer) interest but probably 5 years(?) to establish a baseline and have data to improve our understanding of the questions posed above.
> We will need to make the project visibile. Media and FWC rollout meetings to build support and a volunteer network interesting. Folks have good suggestions (many!) for what to do and who to contact.
I have finally landed a good (pithy) (though not short…) punchline for the project:
“The SSIFWC is an island based (WPS) freshwater watchdog project - with the help of volunteers we can establish island watershed freshwater baselines, see if/where there are watershed scale freshwater issues and leverage the data collected and science learnings in these as and where practical. Significant spin-offs? - build our water communities via a watershed stewardship programme, further educate these communities, and (if we are really successful) export our learnings to other places!” quote from that geosciences guru guy (that’s me, and that's another story, or blog...).
Realising that this FWC project could be come all consuming… how long have a I got…?
SSIFWC - PROJECT UPDATES
From the WPS AGM and SSI Film Festival we have 14 potential volunteers for the project. The next steps are to send out an advisory( information on the project) and a short questionnaire to determine folks availability, areas, and possible roles.
The first “media” article (Driftwood) asking for the volunteers went live (three folks interested in the first three days), not a bad start though a little disappointed. Total potential volunteers tally now at 17
Folks who have responded to the questionnaire have some useful knowledge and insights, but how to get more people involved?