DR. TAMIE JOVANELLY, GEOLOGIST AND AUTHOR

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GLOBAL
WATER QUALITY

 As a hydrologist I have traveled the globe for a decade testing water quality on major river and surface water systems while asking the question, “What is the best way to promote clean water for all?”. Through my qualitative and quantitative data collection it has become apparent that solving any water crisis must start with the understanding of human perceptions towards the environments in which they live and their value systems. Globally, my data shows that human connection to water differs by religious following, and intrinsic or instrumental ethos. 

DR. TAMIE JOVANELLY

WATER QUALITY ASSESSMENTS ON 5 CONTINENTS

MAIN RESEARCH FOCUS

 I have completed water quality assessments on 5 continents focusing on major rivers (Mississippi, Nile, Ganges, Amazon, and Pjorsa) and transboundary surface water systems (Lake Victoria).  This has allowed me to make comparisons between developed, undeveloped, and developing countries whereby considering population, infrastructure, economics, and human condition. The quantitative data that I collect represents physical, chemical, and the biological health of the water. Putting this raw data into a Water Quality Index (WQI) percentage allows me to easily communicate watershed health without scientific jargon (e.g. 100% excellent water quality; 0% bad). The WQI serve as a straightforward way of communicating watershed health.  


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WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVATION?

Can you share a memorable anecdote from your life that will give us further sense of what drives you to do the work you do?

I grew up on an acre of land outside of south Detroit (Wayne, Michigan). As a kid, my dog and I would slip under a fence and climb a "mountain" behind our property. I pretended that this was Mt. Everest and that we were great explorers. Similarly, I had other Amazon rainforest adventures in a “swamp” behind our house.  As a teen, I became to realize that the “mountain” I was climbing was a landfill full of garbage and the “swamp” was raw sewage that backed up from a septic tank. These heartbreaking realizations that my childhood world was contaminated initiated my passion for environmentalism. As an adult, I have dedicated my career to understanding water quality on a global level driven by the belief that all people should have access to clean water and living environments. 

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