By Daniel Collins
Water (‘wai’ in te reo Maori) is one of NZ’s most precious resources. We drink it, we eat food grown with it, we power our homes and businesses with it, we play in it, and we are mentally and spiritually uplifted by it and by what it brings. But despite being relatively water-rich on an international stage, what we want from this water outstrips what we actually get.
If you follow the news, it’s easy to see how. Droughts in Northland and flooding in Hawke’s Bay… calls for more dams, or for fewer… water restrictions and high electricity prices. It’s a long list of recurring themes that more or less affects us all. And regardless of whether you’re a farmer or kayaker, resource manager or engineer, the more you know the better prepared you’ll be.
That’s where hydrologists come in. Our job is to work out what’s going on with the water and let you know. How much water is there, when and why? What might happen if we cut down those trees or pump a well? Is there enough water to support land use change, and what might happen with climate change?
Giving you the answers, as best we can, is why we’ve set up Waiology – a blog on the science of New Zealand’s water cycle. Waiology is a group effort by a team of hydrologists at NIWA. We’ll give you a mix of what we already know about NZ’s hydrology, and invite you to follow our on-going research, much of which will be centred around a MSI-funded grant we call Waterscape.