…and why the world will turn to geoscientists and engineers to solve one of the biggest problems facing mankind.

Water is a fundamental, life sustaining resource – one for which no substitute exists. Climate change, expanding populations and shifting lifestyles are putting ever-mounting pressure upon it, and water security has become a topic of pressing concern to governments, NGOs and academics across the globe.

Geoscientists and civil engineers have a critical role to play in this complex equation, which is why Seequent has dedicated the latest edition of our Unearthed report to water security, perhaps one of the most important challenges facing the world and humanity in the coming decades.

It’s a challenge that will soon call on geoscience to deliver some of the most creative and technologically innovative solutions in its history. At Seequent we think it’s a subject engineers, industry and environmental science will become increasingly involved in. Supporting our customers in understanding and managing this vital resource is a major part of the contribution we can make to ensure water security for all.

In this issue of Unearthed (you can see the full report here) we explore water security from a number of angles that span the impact of mining on water quality to the potential of geophysics to mitigate major humanitarian crises.

How geoscience can make a difference

Our experts look at five key industry perspectives on water security. They are areas where we think geoscience and civil engineering can make a difference, in exciting ways that are at the forefront of the technology, software and solutions we work with.

  • Why are the failures of Tailings Dams so significant to water security and what can be done to address the particular set of problems they encounter? What could a better understanding of the geology involved bring to this problem?
Tailings Dam
  • Emerging Contaminants have a special place in the battle for water quality, because the danger they pose to human health is not yet fully understood. Legislation is lagging behind, and some estimates say that half of America’s rivers and streams could be in violation of water quality standards. Yet 3D modelling from airborne geophysical surveys is starting to prove effective in managing contamination.
  • Agriculture’s year-round hunt for groundwater is ramping up levels of Saltwater Intrusion, with California as a prime example. Earth imaging is providing a more accurate view of how far the saltwater boundary has encroached inland, and could deliver a revolution in how groundwater systems are managed.
  • Jakarta is the world’s fastest sinking city. A shortage of piped water has prompted a thirsty population to plumb aquifers too deeply, with almost no regulatory control. The results have been disastrous, but Jakarta is not alone, and the issue of Subsidence as a result of poor groundwater management is being felt by cities across the world.
Image of flooding in India
  • Humanitarian Crises can frequently involve huge numbers of fleeing refugees placing enormous demands on water supplies. An accurate understanding of the surrounding geology can make the difference between a plentiful source of clean drinking water and overstretched boreholes contaminated with life threatening disease.

Finally, we take a closer look at the new approaches and technologies that help reveal the Earth’s groundwater secrets.

When drilling is difficult, slow and expensive, what can electromagnetic surveys do to speed up and improve the process? And just as importantly, how can the 3D models that result make it crystal clear – to farmers, geologists, residents and government officials – the risk that’s posed, in a language each of them can understand?

Advancing the debate

The future of our water security can only benefit from greater debate and a deeper understanding among geologists, civil engineers and geoscientists, of the problems involved.

We hope this issue of Unearthed proves a valuable way of introducing the questions around water security to a wider audience, and draws those geoscientists already involved in it towards better and smarter solutions for the challenges we will all face.

You can read the full report here, for free, and we hope you enjoy it.