ECM Faculty Focus
The Faculty is delighted to announce that Honours student Kai Kinkella of the School of Environmental Systems Engineering has been awarded the MWH Scholarship in Hydrogeology for his project Evaluation of the impact of climate variability on long term trends in groundwater tables in south-western agricultural areas in WA.
This project is being undertaken by Kai under the Supervision of Associate Professor Neil Coles, Projects Director of the Centre of Excellence in Ecohydrology.
The aim of this undergraduate research project is to evaluate surface water and groundwater interactions and determine the impacts of climate variability on groundwater systems in the agricultural areas of the south west of WA. The project will examine long-term groundwater trends utilising, bore, rainfall and runoff data for three catchments in the WA agricultural region.
These catchments will be compared to other sites within the region to determine any correlations between site characteristics, climate variations and trends in surface water and groundwater interactions. In addition, the role of land management practices for these catchments will be examined to identify any causal relationships between groundwater rise, secondary salinity and land management practices.
The primary sites for the project are catchments in Perenjori, Wallitin Creek and Cuballing, located in the Northern, Central and South-Western Agricultural regions, respectively. These sites have been monitored by the Department of Agriculture for twenty years for groundwater levels and continuous rainfall data. This information will be evaluated using hydrological time series analysis through the data archive program Hydstra.
It is expected that the underlying geology at the sites will be identified using geological logs from bores installed at the sites to determine the attributes of the aquifers identified (i.e. semi-confined, confined) and their geology on groundwater trends.
MWH donates $7,500 annually to provide a scholarship to assist and encourage meritorious students to undertake research and studies in the field of hydrogeology, the branch of geology that deals with the study of underground water and the geological aspects of surface water.