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By Daniel Collins

‘Twas the post before Christmas, when all through the ‘sphere
Bloggers reflected on happ’nings this year.
Here at Waiology we’ll do so too.
Two thousand eleven: The year in review.

It started in June with a mission to share
The science of water flows from here and there.
It’s part of our programme, with MSI dough,
To chart and to model the Waterscape’s flow

3000 visits and thirty posts hence
Much have we offered to help you make sense
Of the wonderful watery world that we boast
So gather round all as I recap our posts!

How much freshwater do we get each year?
More than enough to submerge our two ears.
But if you look closely you’ll certainly see
That this amount varies ‘tween windward and lee.

The variability doesn’t stop here
You also will see it between year and year
And if you wait long enough data will show
That even ‘cross decades our streams change in flow.

Looking ahead as temperatures rise
And more or less rainfall descends from the skies
Kaitaia’s river flow’s likely to fall
But how could we know the future at all?

To understand this is to understand science
Building models of nature with healthy reliance
On data you gather, like snow in the alps
Or snow in your yard; really, everything helps.

And how much freshwater may we take and use?
2% overall, eight do some choose.
This we take mainly from land surface sources
From streams and from lakes and from fluvial courses.

Some of this water we save up for later
Storing in dams when rains they are fainter.
But reservoirs don’t give you gains without loss
For somewhere downstream you’ll have shifted a cost.

And under the ground, where aquifers lie,
The much-valued groundwater flows by and by.
The part of the cycle that moves e’er so slow
Sneaking through fractures and pores down below.

But back to the surface, our focus moves higher,
To roots and to leaves and to water transpired.
This water is often embodied in crops
Exported to markets and sold in your shops.

Thus water has value, a means to an end,
But not so financial, as many contend.
Rivers do much more than normally thought,
By offering services that can’t be bought.

With that, my dear readers, I end this review.
So look forward to next year as we write for you
On New Zealand’s freshwaters, and shed much more light.
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!