Upcoming Division Talk
Groundwater Exploration in Humanitarian Crises
Speaker: Paul Bauman | Advisian
Date: January 22, 2020, 12:00-1:00pm
Location: geoLOGIC room, 2nd Floor Aquitaine Tower, 540-5th avenue SW, Calgary AB
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The number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), worldwide, has now exceeded 70 million. Most refugees are fleeing water stressed and conflict torn countries such as Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen, and Afghanistan. Large internally displaced populations are found in many of the same countries. Generally, the host countries for refugee populations are also arid or semi-arid, such as Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Kenya, Iran, Turkey, and Chad. In the marginal landscapes where refugee camps are usually sited, groundwater is often the only practical medium long-term water source.
This talk will describe geophysical water exploration programs in three very different circumstances. In 2016, we carried out a Geoscientists Without Borders (GWB) sponsored groundwater exploration program in what was then the second largest refugee camp in the world, Kakuma, located in northwest Kenya in the Turkana desert. Not only did this program significantly increase the availability of water to the Camp, but it greatly improved the water quality for the 192,000 refugees.
From 1996 to 2012, the government of Uganda interned up to a peak of 1.84 million IDPs in 251 camps in the Acholi speaking region of Northern Uganda. In 2018, we carried out another GWB sponsored program which included water exploration, hand pump repair, manual drilling, and well installation in villages where IDPs were returning to rebuild their homes and water supplies. As in Kakuma, training was an important part of this program.
Most recently, in November 2019, during a cessation of hostilities in the South Sudan conflict, the International Committee of the Red Cross wanted to carry out a water exploration program in remote villages cut off during the civil war. The cost of drilling water wells in Jonglei State is exorbitant since everything, including sand and gravel, must be flown into not yet existing air strips. As such, geophysical water exploration was first carried out to identify if aquifers exist, to pinpoint drilling locations, and to estimate the maximum vertical depth of drilling.
If you are looking for water for Rohingya refugees, an escape tunnel from a death camp, where Pablo Escobar buried 50 billion dollars of drug money, or Holocaust mass burials, Paul has searched for all of these and much, much more. Paul created and continues to be the Technical Director of the Near Surface Geophysics group of Advisian. He is based in Calgary, but he and his group have worked on all seven continents. Paul is a Professional Geophysicist and Professional Engineer with over 30 years of geophysical exploration experience in the water resources, environmental, engineering, oil and gas, mining, and humanitarian and archaeology sectors. Paul has a B.Sc.E. in Geological Engineering from Princeton University, and an M.Sc. in Earth Sciences from the University of Waterloo. Since the early 1990’s, Paul has directed water exploration programs in some of the most water stressed locations on the planet including Yemen, post-tsunami Aceh, and refugee camps and conflict affected areas in East Africa and Bangladesh. Some of these geophysical projects have been featured in movies and television documentaries including the National Geographic Television special Finding Atlantis, two NOVA documentaries (Ancient Refuge in the Holy Land and Holocaust Escape Tunnel), Discovery Network’s Finding Escobar’s Millions, Finding Water, and the recently released The Good Nazi.