Ground Water Canada

Features Geothermal
Editorial – Fall 2011

Change can be good


September 12, 2011
By Laura Aiken


Topics

What will your future as a water well driller look like?

What will your future as a water well driller look like?

Change is one of the most powerful words in existence. Just roll it off the tip of your tongue and see how quickly angst and excitement can co-exist. Change is also something we can count on. Whether times are good or bad, things are inevitably going to be different one of these tomorrows.

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From my newcomer’s perspective, the ground water industry seems to be experiencing a rather competitive state of change. Municipalities choosing to supply water using pipelines, rising costs, the lagging economic recovery . . . these are just some of the things you’ve probably experienced as a water well driller. But ground water remains an important source of drinking water for many people and this is an industry full of the strength and dedication needed to adapt to change and face its challenges.

Geothermal installations have come to represent an important opportunity for the water well drilling industry and this is why we dedicate one issue a year to this growing industry. Geothermal is an infant relative to the water well profession, but it is a hustler that appears poised to boom.

Adding geothermal services to your repertoire may or may not be of interest to you, but it could be a viable way to keep yourself and your staff busy should the need arise. The geothermal industry needs people in order to grow. There is likely something to be gained from learning more about it, perhaps even taking some training, and then deciding whether expanding into the field is right for your drilling business.

The Canadian GeoExchange Coalition (CGC) has a progress meter on the home page of its website (www.geo-exchange.ca) that points to just how excited this industry is in its mandate to grow. The CGC also recently began a national road mapping exercise with the Canadian ground source heat pump industry to effectively chart the progress of the industry and identify areas for future development.

 My general sense is that the uptake of geothermal installations by water well drillers has been relatively small to date. On one hand, there appears to be capital barriers, personal choices and perhaps some resistance to change at play. I have witnessed some friction between different ways of thinking by the two industries. However, I have also seen a great willingness by people in both industries to collaborate, come together and work towards standardizing procedures and systems. The future may very well see more water well drillers expanding into geothermal territory. It is hard to say what the next generation will look like without a crystal ball but we can look to the next generation of people for insight. The youth are highly digital and more expectant of diversions and variations in their chosen profession, as they have been raised in an environment where people change employers and job skills more frequently than they used to. Based on this line of thinking, the next generation of drillers is well positioned to maximize the use of thier skills by applying them across different, but complementary, industries, like ground water and geothermal.

The two industries have one big thing in common: a desire to protect the Earth through a cleaner way of doing things. A natural, economical source of drinking water and a natural, economical source of heating and cooling for the homes and businesses of our country (and beyond, should the calling strike). Seems like good common ground to me.


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