Editorial: A conversation about groundwater
The rewards of working in groundwater are many: tell others what you do and why you do it
By Colleen Cross
Results of Ground Water Canada’s first Ground Water Professionals Survey are in. To everyone who responded openly and constructively, thank you for your feedback. As you’ll see in our featured article “Drilling down” your willingness to share information, anonymously, is giving us all a bird’s eye view of your work, helping us understand your daily challenges and pointing the way forward for the industry.
In short, the survey results give us a snapshot of the groundwater industry, largely from the contractor point of view.
It is a unique industry that brings together the skilled trades, science and manufacturing. What motivates people to do the work involved in accessing and protecting groundwater?
In the survey contractors, drillers and installers pointed out some of the rewards of working in this industry. You liked the variety and challenge of the role, the independence it gives you, your co-workers, the well owners you serve, the ability to work outdoors, the continuation of a tradition and, of course, financial compensation.
The work seems to attract people who like getting their hands dirty, solving problems, helping people in their local area and communing with nature. Communing with nature includes protecting natural resources and that is, if not in your DNA, then quickly learned in the field. When you think about it, it is shocking how many otherwise well-informed people are unaware of the differences between surface and groundwater, but maybe not so shocking when you consider it is hidden from view.
In the survey several people mentioned this need to raise awareness. These two things – the rewards of your work and letting people know about them – go hand in hand. We must communicate to the public why we do what we do, why it’s an excellent career choice and why this industry needs to be renewed to carry on with its important work.
Spreading the word starts with pride in your work and a willingness to talk about what you do and why it’s important.
I’ve had a number of conversations with people outside the industry and found they are usually very interested to learn there is a whole industry out there dedicated to accessing and protecting groundwater. Talking to people outside of the industry can be eye opening. A comment I often hear is, “I never thought about where my water comes from.”
I challenge everyone to have one conversation about what you do with someone who doesn’t know much about groundwater.
Another key step in promoting this industry is to become a voting member of the Canadian National Ground Water Association. The CNGWA’s mission statement appears on page 11 with a membership form on the back. Tear out the page, fill out the form and mail it in with the $100 fee. Your financial support is absolutely vital to the association continuing its work – and raising awareness is a key part of that work.
As ambassadors of groundwater we need to shine a bright light on this hidden resource. It’s for the good of the public and the good of our industry.