Max Perel-Slater

Major: Earth & Environmental Science, Environmental Studies; Organization: Clemson University, African Immigrant Social & Cultural Services; Location: Clemson, South Carolina/ Shirati, Tanzania

Max Perel-SlaterDuring the first part of the summer, I attended a field hydrogeology course at Clemson University. The class began with a lecture series reviewing hydraulic field principles and methods complemented by practical exercises conducted in the surrounding area. We then traveled to several hydrogeologic settings including Ashville North Carolina, Knoxville Tennessee, and Mammoth Cave National Park Kentucky. At each location we worked with renowned professors as well as professional drillers and surveyors to get a baseline understanding of the local hydrology. While on this “tour” we covered a range of topics including spatial mapping and surveying, soil descriptions, water quality testing, aquifer characterization (predominately slug tests and pumping tests), and well excavation/installation. Then in small groups, we conducted several days of fieldwork, at each location, concluding in a written report characterizing hydraulic activity and flow in the area. I found the course to be challenging both academically and physically. However I believe that it put me in a very good position to continue researching for my senior capstone project, which explores the current water situation in a rural Tanzanian district.

During the second part of the summer I traveled to the village of Shirati, which is located on the shores of Lake Victoria, in Northwest Tanzania. While studying abroad during the Fall of 2009, I completed the preliminary work in Shirati, as part of my independent study project. During this summers trip, I was able to expand my research methodology, from interviews and focus group meetings, to well and water quality testing. I plan to combine the research from my two trips into a comprehensive assessment of the current water situation, as well as recommendations of possible methods for improving access and purity of water in the area.