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Development of Reliable Hydrologic Data Sets in Difficult Environments: Case Studies from Benin, West Africa

Speaker: Stephen E. Silliman, University of Notre Dame, 2011 Darcy Lecturer, NGWA
Series: CEE Departmental Seminars
Location: Bowen Hall Auditorium
Date/Time: Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.


Reliable hydrologic data are critical for sound hydrogeologic analyses and for the subsequent policy decisions based on those analyses. Obtaining such data sets in the face of limited budgets and limited access to field sites can be a daunting challenge, particularly in rural regions in developing countries. Experience in Benin demonstrates that such challenges are best met through close collaboration with a number of in-country entities (universities, local populations, government agencies, and NGOs) and integration of hydrologic expertise with political, social, and cultural considerations.
This presentation focuses on a series of case studies from Benin directed at developing data sets involving: (1) regional water quality, and (2) temporal variation in nitrate contamination in rural groundwater wells. This presentation demonstrates both the value of statistical analysis in the design and implementation of sampling plans in these difficult environments, as well as the power of close collaboration with in-country colleagues and local populations.