New research alerts governments to problem with groundwater monitoring

Monday, September 9, 2019

NanditaDr. Nandita Basu, Water Institute member and professor in the Departments of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Civil and Environmental Engineering, recently published a paper in Geophysical Research Letters which revealed that a discrepancy between scientific data and anecdotal reports on groundwater levels in southern India was caused by a statistical phenomenon known as ‘survival bias.’

“Our main point is that bad data is good data,” said Basu.
“When you have wells with a lot of missing data points, that is telling you something important. Take notice of it.”

The paper was co-authored by Dr. Veena Srinivasan from the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE) in Bangalore, India, and Tejasvi Hora, PhD candidate in civil and environmental engineering at the University of Waterloo. Interestingly, the research was initially supported by an NSERC Discovery grant kindly provided by former Water Institute Executive Director Bob Gillham that allowed Basu and Tejasvi to initiate work. Shortly thereafter, Srinivasan visited Waterloo as a Water Institute RBC Visiting Fellow where the Waterloo-ATREE collaboration was struck!

Click here for the full story.

Click here for the article.

Well
A man draws water from a well in India.

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