CONSERVING WETLANDS COULD SAVE CANADIANS MILLIONS IN FLOOD DAMAGE, REPORT SAYS Leaving wetlands in their natural state could reduce the financial costs of flooding by nearly 40 per cent, according to a recent report from the University of Waterloo. Researchers at Waterloo’s Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, found that avoiding wetland loss could lead to substantial savings for Canadian communities that experience flooding. In compiling the report, researchers compared the financial costs of a major flood event in urban and rural areas, where wetlands were left in their natural state, versus where a computer model simulated wetlands loss. The modelling showed that if a major fall flood were to occur, the financial costs of flooding in rural and urban areas would be 29 and 38 per cent lower, respectively, with wetlands in their natural state versus being lost due to development, the centre said in a news release. “With the flooding events in recent history, it has become clear that the human and financial costs of these events are substantial,” said Prof. Blair Feltmate, the head of the centre and one of the report’s authors. “With the everincreasing financial burden of flooding to Canadians, it is remarkable that a practical and cost-effective means to alleviate flood risk is readily available – that is, simply leave natural wetlands natural.” The researchers used two locations in Ontario – one rural and one urban – where flood damage costs avoided were calculated using average historic insurance claims data and provincial flood damage estimates from Ontario and Alberta. These flood damage costs estimates took into account the costs of damages to building structures and their contents. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Ducks Unlimited Canada funded the report. OGWA FUNDRAISING GOLF TOURNAMENT TO BENEFIT SCHOLARSHIPS FOR FLEMING COLLEGE DRILLING AND BLASTING STUDENTS The Ontario Ground Water Association will host its first golf tournament to raise funds for scholarship awards for graduates of Fleming College’s resources drilling and blasting program. The OGWA’s aim is to raise funds that can be held in an interest-earning account to be dispersed each year to the recipients at its annual convention. “It is important to recognize the academic achievements, year to year, of deserving students and welcome them into the ground water community,” said Paul Conrad of the association’s board of directors. The event will be held at the Elmira Golf Club in Elmira, Ont., on Friday, Sept. 29. Check-in time is 12 noon followed by a shotgun start at 1 p.m. followed by a prime rib and chicken cordon bleu dinner. Those wishing to join in this day of fun and fundraising can contact Anne Gammage through the OGWA website (www.ogwa.ca) or call 519-245-7194. If you can’t attend, you can still help support the industry’s next generation by making a donation through the association. Funds earmarked for the scholarship will be set aside for this purpose. FRIESEN DRILLERS THROWS 125TH BIRTHDAY OPEN HOUSE On July 14, Friesen Drillers held an open house to celebrate its 125th birthday. The family business has seen many changes since C.K. Friesen sunk his first well back in 1892. Friesen Drillers is owned and operated by the fourth generation of the Friesen family with the fifth generation already out in the field. The company’s headquarters in Steinbach, Man., opened the doors of its private museum to host customers, dignitaries, vendors and the public. Inside the company’s showroom are original 1900 Chapman Drill Rig 4, one of the first motorized rigs; its 1936 Chevrolet pickup; older gas pumps; as well as different sizes and shapes of drill bits. A blacksmith shop representing founder C.K. Friesen’s original trade was on display, as well as ground water finding equipment. About 20 people work at the company and it has three branches in addition to Steinbach: Andrew and Sons in Saskatchewan, Paddock Drilling in Brandon, Man., and Mel’s Wells in Ontario. Sister and brother Kim and Jason Friesen head up the business. We congratulate Friesens on more than a century of success! CANADIANS CYCLE ROCKIES FOR WATER-WELL PROJECT IN SOMALIA A group of seven cyclists rode 1,100 kilometres through the Rocky Mountains, their only access to water being the fresh water sources they found on their route. The fundraising challenge was run by Calgary charity Wheels for Wells. The seven cyclists rode from Vancouver to Calgary in late July with the goal of raising awareness and funds for a World Vision Canada water project in Somalia. “In Canada we are lucky, we have access to an abundance of water. The number 1 point of this ride is to create awareness of global communities that do not. We wanted to do something disruptive that will cause people to think about water and have the critical conversations about global water issues,” ride director David Custer said in a news release. By drinking only from the streams and rivers they find along the way, Custer said he and the team wanted to start the conversation by showing how easy it is to access clean water here in Canada. Wheels for Wells was founded five years ago by Alex Weber, now 15, who said, “My dream is for all the world to have clean water. It is not an unrealistic dream.” The team had a few setbacks such as a shortage of water, minor crash and mechanical difficulties, said Jennifer Miller, communications co-ordinator for World Vision. You can follow their ride through their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/wheelsforwellsproject. This year’s tour raised $16,792 and Wheels for Wells through other activities has raised more than $30,000 this year, Miller said. It has raised more than $180,000 in the last five years to support water programs in Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Mauritania. B.C. WELL DRILLER RESURRECTS VINTAGE STEAM CABLE TOOL Ken Fyfe of Fyfe Well Drilling in Qualicum Beach, B.C., has worn many hats during some 43 years as a water-well driller. Fyfe shared with Ground Water Canada photos of his recently restored steam drill rig made by Keystone Company in Beaver Falls, Penn. He bought the Keystone cable tool, or churn drill, from the Swanson family on a creek off Dease Lake near the B.C.-Yukon Territory border in 2015, which he says was a major stop for miners travelling to the gold rush in Cassiar. The rig was buried deep in the brush and the family helped him retrieve it. He hauled it home by trailer and the rest is, literally, history. It took him and his team two years to restore the machine. Fyfe is a trained steam engineer who also has worked as a welder, machinist, logger and inventor – as showcased on the company’s website – seems uniquely qualified to lead the restoration. “It was a pretty straightforward job,” he says, with help from friends Les Stevens, Mike Hobson and Russ McCoy. “These guys played a big part in the restoration of that machine. The engine for the machine had been removed years before and I tracked it down to a place called Jade City100 miles further north. Norm and Shirley Vickery still had it. I was able to talk them out of it as they liked the idea of the restoration of the drill rig.” Fyfe showed off the bright red beauty to the Industrial Heritage Society in Port Alberni, of which he is a member. He believes it is the only operating steam drill in Canada but says it is entirely possible there are others out there “in someone’s boneyard.” He encourages other collectors to come forward and share their stories. The steam drill was designed for sampling, the same technology used in mining. “A lot of youngsters have never had a chance to see something like this,” he says. “With old technology, it’s all turned inside out. You can see everything.” Fyfe says readers who like the older technology may want to visit the Facebook page “Rotary and cable tool drill rig pictorial history” to check out vintage equipment and to share their own projects and experiences. To see before-and-after photos, visit www.groundwatercanada. com. If you have photos of vintage equipment, a restoration project or tales of the old days you’d like to share, email editor Colleen Cross at email@example.com or call her at 519-428-3471, ext. 261. JOHN F. JONES WAS A GROUND WATER ‘VISIONARY’ IN NOVA SCOTIA Scientist and educator John F. Jones, who in the early 1960s was the first practising ground water specialist in Eastern Canada, passed away on Nov. 26, 2016, at the age of 82. Jones, who held bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science and a professional engineer designation, early in his career worked with the Alberta Research Foundation as a ground water geologist on a project in the Peace River area of Alberta with mentor and boss Robert Farvolden. In the early 1960s, he became chief the Nova Scotia Department of Mines “Groundwater Section” established to evaluate the occurrence and characteristics of the resource. In the 1960s, the deputy minister of mines, J.P. Nowlan asked Jones to start a ground water program in Nova Scotia that would provide an overview of ground water resources and an understanding of the relationship of ground water to the province’s other water resources. During the 1960s and 1970s, Jones introduced and taught a hydrogeology course at Dalhousie University’s department of geology and supervised several masters theses on hydrogeology topics. Jones became director of the Water Planning and Management branch of the Nova Scotia Department of Environment and served in that capacity until he retired. One of the many important roles played by the department was managing ground water use through water withdrawal permits for water uses greater than 23,000 litres a day. During the latter part of his career, he was the senior policy advisor to Nova Scotia’s deputy minister of environment. “Although the word ‘sustainability’ wasn’t used as it is now, by the time John retired in 1991 the practice in Nova Scotia was to manage our ground water resources with sustainability of the resource in mind,” former student and colleague Terry W. Hennigar wrote in a tribute to Jones (see our website). “He was a visionary, and the right man for the right job at the right time!” –Adapted from a tribute by Terry W. Hennigar, senior engineer and hydrogeologist at Water Consulting, and other of Jones’ former students and colleagues. The full tribute may be found at www.groundwatercanada.com.
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