Dave Rudolph, with the University of Waterloo, started the symposium off with a very thought-provoking presentation on the value of diverse and abundant data. Dave used case studies and different modeling methodologies to illustrate how various factors impact the quantity and quality of water resources, and how a small change can affect these conditions quickly and drastically.
He stressed that the sustainable management and long-term development of water resources requires an integrated understanding of both the surface water and groundwater systems and how these systems are dynamically influenced by climatic variability. Overall his presentation reinforced the need for more precise and increased data in order to accurately predict the impacts on water resources and achieve sustainability and effective management.
Delineation of Wellhead Protection Areas
A major focus in Dr. Rudolph’s presentation was the need for improved techniques in delineating source water protection areas. Wellhead protection areas are primarily determined using numerical models that simulate groundwater flow. He showed that different models can yield different results, and that just slightly changing one parameter can drastically change the outcome. His presentation reinforced the need for “precision in physical parameter estimation” and showed that “The degree of certainty [in any model] is directly related to data availability.”