Water Everywhere

Water Resource Management

The Earth is a water planet.  Seen from space, the earth appears as a blue oasis covered by swirling white clouds.  Life on Earth is dependent upon a safe water supply, and protecting this most vital resource is key to humanity’s ability to sustain itself.

Water resource management covers a wide range of topics, generally broken down into the broad categories of resource evaluation, resource protection, and quantitative hydrology.  Water resource evaluation includes identifying and quantifying surface and groundwater supplies, which is critical to private individuals, small communities and large municipalities where a continuous supply of clean, safe drinking water is imperative.  Many industrial end users also need a reliable source of water for use in their manufacturing processes. 

Resource protection is fundamental to the health of environments as a result of the activities of humans.  The improper management of solid and hazardous materials often leads to adverse impacts to surface and groundwater resources and the organisms that inhabit them.  Some sources of hazardous materials releases include accidental spills, leaks in containment vessels or process equipment, and faulty disposal practices. These releases have the ability to impact a variety of media, including soils, water and air. The starting point in evaluating environmental damage to water supplies starts with a thorough investigation into the source of the release, followed by careful, comprehensive assessment of the vertical and horizontal extent of the damage.  Only after a more complete picture is understood can development of a cleanup plan proceed.  Northwest Geoscience has a long history of experience in successfully assessing and developing cleanup strategies for water bodies affected by releases of hazardous materials.

Quantitative hydrology means applying a set of analytical tools to evaluate the impact of water in motion.  Managing water as it flows over the Earth’s surface poses its own set of challenges.  Construction activities, for example, produce localized environments in which unmanaged surface flow can result in excessive sediment runoff.  This can cause algal blooms, turbidity (clouding of the water) and odor problems.  Because more ponds are being utilized for water quality purposes, the long term health of aquatic ecosystems decline when not properly monitored.  Continued degradation of water quality can result in fish kills, infestation by nuisance weeds, clogging of pipes and the ultimate death of the aquasystem.  The first step in restoring the health of a surface water body, be it a stream, lake or farm pond, is to identify the type and source of the pollutants.  Means to minimize further discharge of sediment or other nutrients to the hydrologic system are then introduced.  In some cases, the lake or pond may be treated with chemicals to restore clarity and reduce the nutrient load so that the aquatic ecosystem can return to normal.  Northwest Geoscience hydrologists work with property and lake owners to restore these valuable water bodies to their intended purpose.

Improperly sited structures, such as houses, can result in poor drainage, causing such problems as wet basements and related problems like mold, erosion of lawns, and standing water than can attract pests such as mosquitoes.  Northwest Geoscience is expert at identifying problems related to the movement of water, and can produce 3D models that clearly indicate what factors are contributing to the problem and what measures can be instituted to rectify them.