On 1 April 2023, Elie Gerges joined the IGRAC team as Junior Groundwater Specialist. However, this is not his first acquaintance with IGRAC, because he has previously done an internship during MSc programme at IGRAC's in-house partner IHE Delft. As part of this internship, Elie produced regional transboundary aquifer maps for North America, the Middle East, Europe, Central/Southern America, Asia/Oceania and Africa. High time to sit down for an interview.
"Could you explain your MSc research and its main outcomes?"
"The MSc research aimed to evaluate the recharge of groundwater in volcanic rock while considering the impact of land use, using the Wondo Genet catchment in Ethiopia as a case study. The study utilized various data collection techniques to understand the groundwater system's behavior under different geological and land use conditions in the study area.
The methodology focused on using the Wetspass model for the groundwater recharge thematic map, the analytical hierarchy process to delineate groundwater recharge zones, and the design of a conceptual model to highlight the water dynamics in the catchment. The research found notable differences in the rates of groundwater recharge throughout the study area, with forests, permeable rocks, fractured formations, and higher levels of rainfall having higher rates of recharge, while human settlements and agriculture, clay layers, and lower rainfall resulted in lower recharge rates.
The study also highlighted the significant amount of groundwater recharge occurring outside of the Wondo Genet catchment, contributing to the catchment's water supply through conduits such as faults and fractures. However, accurately estimating recharge rates proved challenging due to the high variability in soil type and land use within the catchment and limited data on hydraulic conductivity and soil moisture. The study concludes that implementing sustainable land use and management methods is vital to conserve groundwater resources in the area, given their critical role in meeting the demands of a growing population and expanding agricultural operations."
"What made you apply at IGRAC?"
"I decided to apply at IGRAC because my passion for groundwater extends beyond my local community and I want to make a difference on an international level. I strongly believe that IGRAC provides an ideal platform to leverage my skills and knowledge of hydrology and groundwater to have a positive impact on a global scale. I am eager to contribute to sustainable groundwater resource development and management worldwide, and in particular, to work towards achieving the goal of transboundary aquifer assessment and groundwater monitoring.
By joining IGRAC, I am excited about the opportunity to collaborate with other professionals in the field of groundwater to share my knowledge and learn from experts. I hope to be an added value for groundwater on an international level, and I am committed to helping other organizations and countries in the groundwater sector. I am confident that IGRAC will provide me with an enriching and challenging experience, enabling me to grow both personally and professionally while making a meaningful contribution towards a sustainable future for our planet."
"What do you expect from your time at IGRAC?"
"I expect to gain valuable experience in the field of groundwater resources assessment and management, working on projects that can have a positive impact on a global scale. I am looking forward to collaborating with other professionals from diverse cultures and backgrounds and sharing information and data with other institutions.
I am eager to learn about the latest developments in hydrology and groundwater and to develop essential skills in teamwork and communication. By working at IGRAC, I hope to contribute my knowledge and skills toward achieving sustainable groundwater management worldwide. Overall, I am excited about the opportunities that IGRAC can provide me with to make a meaningful contribution towards a sustainable future while advancing my career in groundwater management."