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By Daniel Collins

Another year has come and gone, and with it more science of New Zealand water’s shared near and far. As I look back, with this handy Wordle below, it’s no surprise that “water” got mentioned a lot. Other common words in this year’s posts include “groundwater”, “Canterbury”, “flow”, “rainfall”, “recharge” and “snow”. All very important topics.

One of this year’s successes was the crowd-sourcing project we initiated to collect snow depth data on June 6. Waiology had more visitors that day than on any other. This says something about extreme events and public participation in science and should provide food for thought as we build bridges between the hydrological community and NZ at large.

Based on visits and social media mentions, the post on the water footprint of milk was also very popular. I put this down to the popularity and novelty of the “water footprint” concept as well as the significance of the dairy industry to New Zealand’s news cycle this year.

And along with other observations and inferences, I presented an assessment of hydrology, social media and public engagement at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco in early December. That was a great opportunity to share what I have learned about communicating hydrology in NZ and also learn from other, better funded social media efforts.

Lastly, I should mention that while Waiology started life as a hydrology blog, it has now expanded to cover freshwater sciences more generally, as well as allied disciplines. All the better to serve NZ’s public and science communities. We’ve seen the topics expand already, and I look forward to greater diversity and more guest contributions next year.

In the meantime, enjoy your holidays, and spare a thought for water and all it brings as you pitch your tent, relax with a beer, or whatever the summer brings.


Dr Daniel Collins is a hydrologist and water resources scientist at NIWA.