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NEWS - September 2015 – International Association of Hydrogeologists Congress, Rome, Italy

American Ground Water Trust Executive Director Andrew Stone made a presentaion during the technical sessions at the Rome Congress.  He addtessed the topic of  ”Oil & Gas and Groundwater Policy: The Role  of Hydrogeologists in the Fracking Issue.”

The International Association of Hydrogeologists is a scientific and educational charitable organization for scientists, engineers, water managers and other professionals working in the fields of groundwater resource planning, management and protection.  Founded in 1956, it has a world-wide membership of more than 4000 individuals

NEWS - September 2015 - Ground Source Heating & Cooling for Business, Commercial and Multiple Occupancy Properties, NYC, NY

The AGWT Manhattan geothermal workshop covered the latest technologies and economic advantages of using the earth’s renewable energy for heating and cooling in densely built up areas. In New York, the Statue of Liberty Visitor Center and St Patrick’s Cathedral are two iconic sites where geothermal has been implemented.  Yes! – you can find places to drill geothermal bores in pavements or even drilling in basements.  One subject discussed at the program was how to make use of the near-constant temperature of the tens of thousands of gallons of water pumped to keep the New York transit Authority train tunnels from flooding.

The workshop was held at the Battery Park location of the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority.

The program was organized in cooperation with the Long Island Geothermal Association.  

Presenters included:
Thomas Abdallah, Chief, Environmental Engineering, MTA New York City Transit, NY
Jack DiEnna, Executive Director, Geothermal National & International Initiative, Washington, DC
Samara Swanston, Legislative Attorney, NYC Council Infrastructure Division, Committee on Environmental Protection, New York, NY
Donovan Gordon, Executive Director, Long Island Long Island Geothermal Energy Organization, Bohemia, NY
John Rhyner, Director of Sustainable Energy, P.W. Grosser Consulting, Bohemia, NY
Jeff Urlab, President, MEP Associates, Eau Claire, WI
Tim Kreukniet, Energy Transition New York, New York, NY
Jay Egg, President, Egg Geothermal, Orlando, FL
Steve Beyers, Energy & Environmental Engineering Section Leader and Olaf Gustafson, Geologist, Cornell Facilities Engineering, Ithaca, NY
Jeff Quinn, Field Representative, Baroid IDP, Houston, TX
Bob Wyman, Geothermal Consultant, New York, NY


The Chile Government has announced restrictions on mining company access to groundwater. 


The measure, approved last week as part of a wider revision of Chile’s water code, requires all but the smallest mining companies to seek government authorization before using these resources. Water administrators are empowered to refuse permission “if it would compromise the sustainability of the aquifer or the rights of third parties.”

This announcement serves to remind us that many of the world’s aquifers are in overdraft. Solving acute groundwater depletions requires tough science-based water-allocation and difficult water-management decisions by political authorities.  Our “groundwater inheritance” is rapidly dwindling. Our sustainable levels of groundwater use are exceeded in many places in many countries.

With world population increasing at 150 people a minute, and with the uncertainties of climate change impacts, many regions will suffer (some are already suffering) severe social and economic consequences. Groundwater pumping has to be managed to take account of the reality of rates of aquifer recharge.  Managed aquifer recharge (aka) artificial recharge, may be a solution, but it is dependent on there being a source of water to use for recharging aquifers. 

Objective (not over-optimistic) scientific assessment of available volumes of usable water in aquifers and the dependability of potential recharge resources is the first step.  The politics and legal aspects of allocation and management decisions are much more complex; although once the resources are gone then allocation policy may become totally theoretical!

The banking metaphor is a good way to describe the situation.  We are reducing the amount of water stored in our aquifer savings account because we continue to use more water than we have coming into our checking account.  In some places the groundwater savings account has allowed profligate water use for many decades.  Changing weather patterns and ongoing drought are revealing those places where the savings account is almost down to zero at the same time that there is a reduction of surface water availability and/or natural recharge to the aquifers.

Dependable data are a prerequisite to solving water conflicts such as jurisdictional authority, resolving legal issues of water rights from over-appropriated systems and dealing with employment, social issues and consequences of a reduced tax base in areas with predominantly water based economies. With ongoing overdraft of aquifers, the work of hydrologists and geologists is increasingly important to provide elected officials and decision-makers with accurate data and informed opinion and projections about the status of our water resources.



NEWS – June 2015 – Texas Aquifers, Austin, Texas


The AGWT’s Annual “Texas Groundwater and Aquifers Conference” in Austin included several presentations on Aquifer Recharge Recovery (ASR) and the issue of making increased use of water from brackish aquifers. Included in the mix of expert presenters were four attorneys who addressed issues relating to water rights and jurisdictional authority over pumping. As has been the case with previous AGWT Texas groundwater conferences the event was co-sponsored by the Texas Water Development Board.

            The ASR session presenters included Matt Webb, TX Water Development Board, Austin, TX; Bill Mullican, CDM Smith, Pflugerville, TX; Jerry James, City of Victoria Director of Intergovernmental Relations, Victoria, TX; Fred M. Blumberg, Project Manager, ARCADIS-U.S. Inc., Austin, TX and keynote presenter David Pyne, ASR Systems, Gainesville, FL.  David’s presentation was titled New Technologies and International ASR—Where We Are and Where We Are Headed.

            The brackish groundwater session was presented by Leonard Dougal, Partner, Environmental & Legislative Practice Group, Jackson Walker L.L.P. Austin, TX; Hughbert Collier, President, Collier Consulting, Stephenville, TX; Rhett Moore, Senior Hydrogeologist, Layne Christensen Company, Bloomington, IN and Stefan Schuster, Texas Water Resources Strategy Leader, MWH Global, Austin, TX


The conference was opened by Kathleen Jackson, Texas Water Development Board member who outlined priorities for state funded water projects.  Presentations at the event in addition to the ASR and Brackish water sessions included: Update On TWDB Groundwater Issues And Priorities, Larry French, Director of Groundwater Resources, TX Water Development Board, Austin, TX; Oil and Gas Law ss It Relates To Groundwater Law, Edmond McCarthy Jr., Attorney, Partner, Jackson, Sjoberg, McCarthy & Townsend, L.L.P., Austin, TX; Groundwater: Property Rights Vs. Water Management Authority, Shauna Fitzsimmons, Attorney, Sledge Law & Public Strategies, PLLC, Austin, TX; Texas’ Billion Dollar Desired Future Conditions (DFC) Balance – Conservation Versus Highest Practicable Production, James Beach, Senior Vice President and Principal, LBG-Guyton, Austin, TX; Desired Future Conditions: Texas Water Planning Challenges, Mark Taylor Attorney-at-Law, San Marcos, TX and Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage: Dominant In Europe, When Will It Reach Texas? - Chuck Hammock, Principal, Andrews, Hammock & Powell, Inc, Macon, GA.

NEWS – June 2015 – Oil & Gas Development & Water, Deer Valley, Utah


AGWT Executive Director Andrew Stone was an invited presenter at the SIPES Annual Conference held in Deer Valley, Utah. The Society of Independent Professional Earth Scientists (SIPES) is a national organization designed for the independent or consulting professional earth scientist. Members include geologists, engineers, geophysicists, geochemists, and other earth scientists.

The AGWT presentation was titled Public Perception of Environmental Issues Related to Oil & Gas. When it comes to public opinion, perception is reality.  The public’s perception of the oil & gas industry is not always positive. The presentation, given from the perspective of an organization dedicated to aquifer protection, addressed issues such as:

  • What have been the principal influences on public opinion about “fracking” and the environment? 
  • What have been the triggers for the generally negative public attitude about the technology?
  • What is the long-term role for fossil fuels within the mix of energy sources? 
  • How can the public be informed about well-pad water treatment and management strategies?
  • What is the industry’s view on making the case for “social license to operate?

            Over the last five years the AGWT has been involved with the debate over the environmental impacts related to the development of oil & gas from shales by using a combination of directional drilling technology and hydraulic fracturing. The AGWT has organized information-exchange conferences about water, oil & gas in Texas, California, North Carolina, and Massachusetts and has made invited presentations in Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Nevada, South Dakota, Colorado and Wisconsin.

             There is a plethora of information and misinformation about the environmental and economic impacts of “fracking” technology and the related issue of waste-water disposal.  The AGWT has taken on the role of being an objective broker of information about the issues.  While “renewables” are growing in importance for energy generation, fossil fuels are likely to continue to supply the majority of transport fuel and electrical generation needs for several decades.  Given that reality, it makes sense to keep pressure on the oil & gas industry to follow protocols and best practices to minimize environmental risks.  To that end, hydrogeologists need to be involved working with petroleum geologists on pre-drilling risk assessments and the identification of “no-go” areas.

NEWS – June 2015 – Teacher Program, Greeley, Colorado


The American Ground Water Trust’s training program Ground Water Institute for Teachers™ has trained total of 2,000 teachers and educators in 17 states. The latest program held in Weld County, Colorado had a focus on local water issues. The two-day program was co-sponsored by the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District and the Poudre Learning Center.  The objective of the program is to help teachers understand the basic cause-and effect in groundwater and surface water so they can better understand the science that should be guiding water management decisions.  The program emphasized the ways in which water topics can be integrated with existing school curriculum and included some hands-on activities that could be applied at different grade levels.  The program detail below shows the variety of topics covered at the program..

Building blocks to hydrologic literacy
The geology and hydrologic characteristics of Colorado aquifers
Routes to sustainability for natural gas development in Colorado
19th century and 20th century changes in the South Platte River
Water supply challenges and solutions for an irrigation farmer
Protecting resources for sustainability
Education resources available for Colorado teachers

The presentation team included:
Chuck Call, Well Watch Coordinator, Greeley (pictured next to monitoring well on the grounds of Greeley HS)
Glen Fritzler, Weld County Grower, LaSalle
Robert Longenbaugh, Consultant Engineer, Fort Collins
Peter Barkmann, Hydrogeologist, Colorado Geological Survey, Golden
Kathy Parker, Public Information/Education Coordinator, CCWCD, Greeley
Greeley Laura Belanger, Environmental Engineer, Western Resource Advocates, Boulder
Joe Ryan, Faculty Director, Sustainability Research Network, University of Colorado, Boulder
Caitlin Coleman, Communications Specialist, Colorado Foundation for Water Education, Denver

The program was sponsored by generous support from:

NEWS – May 2015 – Drought and Water Law, San Francisco, California


California is enduring drought conditions that have persisted for the last four years. With groundwater a critical supply source, and with aquifer levels declining to record lows, new rules and legislation have been put in place to provide additional water management authority.

            The American Ground Water Trust Groundwater Law conference in San Francisco was designed to provide insight and clarity about how the new” and existing regulatory framework can be most effectively implemented at state and local level.  In organizing the event, the AGWT had the cooperation of the Bar Association of San Francisco and the program was sponsored by Aquilogic, American Pistachio Growers and the law firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

            The participants at the conference included attorneys, water utility and water district staff, county staff and commissioners, state regulators, water engineers and consultants, academics, and environmental NGOs. The opening keynote presentation was given by Gordon Burns, Undersecretary, California Environmental Protection Agency, who addressed the Implementation Challenges of Statewide Mandatory Water Restrictions:

The presentation team at the conference included:
Brad Herrema, Attorney, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Santa Barbara, CA
Christian Marsh, Partner, Downey Brand, San Francisco, CA
Sarge Green, Project Director, California Water Institute, Fresno, CA
Sarah Foley, Best Best & Krieger LLP, Los Angeles, CA
Anthony Brown, Principal Hydrologist, Aquilogic, Costa Mesa, CA
Greg Patterson, Partner, Burke, Williams & Sorensen, Los Angeles, CA
Jeremy Jungreis, Senior Counsel, Rutan and Tucker, Costa Mesa, CA
Russell M. McGlothlin, Shareholder, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Santa Barbara, CA
Ryan Bazerra, Partner, Bartkiewicz, Kronick & Shanahan, Sacramento, CA
Maurice Hall, Water Program Lead, Water Funders Initiative, Sacramento, CA
Jack Rice, Associate Counsel, California Farm Bureau Federation, Sacramento, CA
Todd E. Robins, Partner, Robins Borghei LLP, San Francisco, CA
Doug Nunneley, General Manager, Oildale Mutual Water Company, Bakersfield, CA
Chad Seidel, Corona Environmental Consultants, Denver, CO
Laurel Firestone, Co-Executive Director & Attorney, Community Water Center, Sacramento, CA
John R. Till, Managing Partner, Paladin Law, Walnut Creek, CA
Dave O’Neill, Director of Investigations, PolicyFind, San Francisco, CA
Canaan Crouch, Vice President, Legacy Risk Solutions, LLC, Irvine, CA
Roger Dickinson, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, Sacramento, CA
Scott Slater, Co-Chair Natural Resources Department, BHFS, Santa Barbara, CA

NEWS – May 2015 – Source Water Protection, Concord, New Hampshire


Each year in the spring, the American Ground Water Trust teams up with the State of New Hampshire, Department of Environmental Services to organize the Source Water Protection Conference.  Year after year more than 200 end-users, town officials, utility operators, regulators, legislators and water professionals gather in Concord, NH to share information and experiences that can help individuals and communities protect the integrity of their water supply sources.  The state has over 200,000 homes supplied from individual on-site wells and for them; education is the most important weapon to keep the supply safe.

            Particular concerns for New Hampshire are the potential for arsenic and radon to be present in water from bedrock wells. Testing is the most important first step and if present, both arsenic and radon can be treated so drinking water can be safe. The format of the one-day program is for a morning of plenary sessions and then a series of afternoon workshops. Typically the workshops are organized in four tracks: Surface water, Groundwater, Community based Source Water Protection and Best Management Practices.  The workshop sessions are usually presented by local people whose professional work involves land-use zoning, treatment technologies, preparation of local ordinances and the design and operation of water supply systems. 


Sponsoring and Exhibiting Companies and Organizations:
Capital Well Co, Inc., Dumbarton, NH
DuBois & King, Inc., Laconia, NH
Eastern Analytical Lab, Inc., Concord, NH
GEOINSIGHT, Inc., Manchester, NH
Granite State Rural Water Association, Keene, NH
GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., Bedford, NH
Hydroterra Environmental Services, LLC, Dover, NH
Loureiro Engineering Associates, Inc., Manchester, NH
Nobis Engineering, Inc., Concord, NH  03301
Normandeau Associates, Inc., Bedford, NH
Sanborn, Head & Associates, Inc., Concord, NH
TRC Environmental Corporation, Manchester, NH
Truslow Resource Consulting, LLC, Portsmouth, NH
US Departmet of Agriculture – NRCS, Durham, NH
Utility Service Co, Inc., Perry, GA

NEWS – March 2015 – Well & Pump Workshop, Valdosta, Georgia


Valdosta in Southern Georgia was the venue for a one-day program for well owners, water operators and groundwater professionals.  As with all the AGWT’s workshops, the focus was on practical, cost-effective solutions that work.  The presenters shared their expertise and used case study examples to show how to maximize yields and minimize pumping costs on existing wells.  For new wells, the workshop emphasis was on ensuring correct design, construction, pump selection and maintenance.  The lessons learned from the workshop should enable groundwater users and operators to increase yield, reduce energy costs and prolong well life.

The workshop content, delivered by a team of volunteer water well and pump experts included:

~ Hydraulics of water flow through rock fractures, screens, well bores and pumps
~ Well design: selection of screens, gravel pack, optimum pumping rates
~ Drilling methods to obtain maximum yield from aquifers
~ Chemical, microbiological and physical reasons for well problems
~ How to diagnose well yield declines - redevelopment / rehabilitation techniques
~ Practical approaches to managing wells as an asset
~ Cost savings for rapid “pump-in, pump-out” during maintenance or rehabilitation
~ Water industry and agricultural applications of VFD controlled pumps
~ Adding “intelligence” to pump system VFD controls to improve efficiency
~ Pump efficiency principles, O & M costs for different types of pump
~ Merits of submersible vs. line-shaft for high yield wells
~ Pump replacement criteria, $ return on upgrading motor or bowls

The presentation team for the program was:
David Kill, P.E. Training Consultant, Xylem Goulds Water Technology, St. Paul, MN
Neil Mansuy, VP, Subsurface Technologies, Kansas City, MO
Bob Baker, Account Manager, Layne, Pensacola, FL
Tanner Tryon, General Manager, Hose Solutions, Inc., Scottsdale, AZ
Kevin McGinnis, President, Cotey Chemicals, Lubbock, TX
Dan Peters, Applications Engineer, Yaskawa America, Inc., Cypress CA

NEWS – February 2015 – Aquifer Management, Ontario, California


The annual groundwater conference in Ontario, California is held in partnership with the Association of Ground Water Agencies and with the cooperation of the Groundwater Resources Association and the California Groundwater Coalition. The 2015 program featured three of Sacramento’s top water administrators: Felicia Marcus, Chair, State Water Resources Control Board who spoke on The Drought and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act; Gordon Burns, Undersecretary, California Environmental Protection Agency whose topic was The Perspective of California EPA and the Agency's Role In Implementation of The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and Gary B. Bardini, Deputy Director, Integrated Water Management, Department of Water Resources, who explained How The Bay Delta Conservation Plan May Impact Water Deliveries to Southern California.

            The two day conference was organized around five panel sessions: Groundwater Models And Technology For Southern California, moderated by  Tim Parker, Principal, Parker Ground Water, Sacramento, CA; Drought Response: Management Strategies For The Decades Ahead, Moderator: Adam Hutchinson, Orange County Water District, Fountain Valley, CA; Groundwater Contamination Issues In Southern California, Moderator – Anthony Brown, CEO and Principal Hydrologist, Aquilogic Inc., Costa Mesa, CA and Water Supply Options And Sustainability Management Challenges, moderated by  Tony Morgan, Deputy General Manager / Groundwater & Water Resources, United Water Conservation District, Santa Paula, CA.

Sponsors of the 2015 conference were: