Ground Water Canada

Editorial: Groovy collaborating

When you learn something new or have an idea, share it with your association and ground water network.

April 25, 2017  By Colleen Cross

Let’s face it: nothing gets done on a job until the driller arrives.

But before drilling can begin, questions must be answered, approvals will be needed and unexpected delays will happen.

Everyone knows the scientists need the drillers and the drillers need the scientists. There’s no mystery to it, but it can be frustrating when a job gets held up by unavoidable issues. It’s frustrating for consulting hydrogeologists and engineers, who want to drill right the first time, and frustrating for water-well drillers, who want the same thing but also have crew and machine ready to go and an eye on the day’s other
drilling jobs.


In my short time as editor, I have seen a growing awareness and respect between drillers and scientists. This happens when everyone gets together in the same room for some candid face-to-face talk about what’s happening out there on drilling jobs. Events like conventions, annual general meetings and informal discussion groups are perfect places for members to let down their guard and let in different perspectives. In March, the British Columbia Ground Water Association convention hosted one such discussion on how to build good working relationships among tradespeople, consultants, well drillers and well owners, and in April the Ontario Ground Water Association made a collaborative meeting on best practices on the job site a cornerstone of its convention.

“That was the most productive meeting I’ve seen in a few years. It was really good,” said John Wilson, a longtime driller and past president of the Ontario association.

It also happens when you get into a classroom, where guards are down, attitudes are left at the door and learning can begin. I recently spent two days in one such classroom during Fleming College’s Well Constructed course where some 40 students gathered to learn about hydrogeology, drilling systems, well construction, abandonment, safety and well records before trying for their respective licences.

During the hydrogeology session, students were attentive and quick to share jobsite experiences with an eye toward solving drilling mysteries: a roomful of well detectives! It was encouraging to see people with different experiences understand they had something to contribute and that communication with their instructor was a two-way street.

There is also collaboration going on among the provinces. Representatives from New Brunswick, Manitoba and B.C. attended the Canadian conference hosted by the OGWA in Niagara Falls last June and drillers from several provinces had a powwow at the U.S. National Ground Water Association expo in December. The Saskatchewan association had BCGWA director Jim Clark in as a speaker to share his recommendations for protecting water wells throughout their life cycles.

It brings to mind lyrics from an old ’60s song: “I think it’s so groovy now that people are finally getting together.”

But there could be more collaborating – lots more! Communication is the name of the game. When you learn something new or have an idea, share it with your association and with friends in your informal ground water network.

And be sure to keep in touch with Craig Stainton, Blaine Matuga and Peter Gay – your hardworking point persons who are looking to make that network formal and productive.

Speaking of productive, we hope your busy season is off to a good start!

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