DR. TAMIE JOVANELLY, GEOLOGIST AND AUTHOR
Thus far, 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.
With help of many students I have been able to gather monthly water quality data for Rome, GA since 2006. Also locally, I am interested in creating water budgets to understand groundwater and surfacewater interactions. My sampling on the Mississippi River is another on-going project which I am hoping to expand.
With support from the Fulbright Foundation Flex Grant I was able to conduct water quality assessments in the majority of National Parks in Costa Rica. This baseline data is particularly important because the country is moving towards 100% renewable energy by 2020. The majority of this energy comes from hydroelectricity. Without a baseline data set it is impossible to make comparisons of degradation over time. Also, the health of the biodiversity in the forests are largely supported by the hydrology of the system.
The shear vastness of the Amazon River basin is astounding. For a relative size comparison the Amazonas rainforest is equivalent to half the size of Europe (3.4 million sq miles). While I only sampled a portion of central basin that includes the Rio Negra, I left with the realization that this system is truly the heartbeat of our planet and is worth preserving.
Sampling of the water quality on the Ganges River began near its Himalayan headwaters in a city called Rishikesh. From there I followed its course to Varanasi where the water becomes choked with E. coli, and likely other toxics that I didn't test for. The Ganges River (called Ganga River, locally) is important to the Hindu religion.
Iceland is a pristine landscape as is reflected by the fantastic water quality of the island. With low population (< 300,000 permanent residents), little free roaming cattle, and small scale hydroelectric facilities, the country acts as a valuable model of clean water for the world.
I conducted water quality assessments in Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya, which are three of the largest countries surrounding Lake Victoria. In addition, I focused my assessments on some of the last remaining forest reserves just before the water enters into the Nile River. In Africa, the connection of animals to the landscape cannot be overlooked. Some of my research with the Kenyan Wildlife Service and Uganda Wildlife Education Center identifies these connections.
Check out this great video
Below you will find some of the relevant papers and publications by myself and collaborators.