Alumniverhaal

Anne - Hydrologist

Anne finished both her bachelor's and master's in Wageningen. After her internship at Acacia Water a junior position as hydrologist opened up there and she got the job. Acacia Water is a consultancy firm that aims to improve the accessibility of fresh water worldwide. Watch the video to get a glimpse of a day in the life of her work. Or read the full story below.

I work on multiple projects at the same time; In the Netherlands and abroad.

Name: Anne
Studies: BSc Soil, Water, Atmosphere & MSc Earth and Environment
Specialisation: Hydrology and Water Resources
Job: Hydrologist

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How does your work week look like?

"I work on multiple projects at the same time. In the Netherlands, these projects are often related to salinization. Abroad I work on hydrological assessments and Integrated Water Resources Management, mainly in the Horn of Africa. This makes working at Acacia Water highly diverse, which I really like.

Most days I am at work in the office in Gouda. Currently, I am working on a hydrological assessment of several catchments in Darfur, Sudan. We use fieldwork, GIS and satellite imagery to develop new maps for the Darfur region.

After the Darfur conflict, the region is now dealing with a scarcity in natural resources and a growing population. There is competition over water between several livelihoods. Acacia Water is working on a project to identify opportunities for water recharge, retention and reuse (3R)."

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"For this project, I now often have skype contact with my colleague Ruben van der Meulen (also an MEE alumnus, stationed in Nairobi, Kenya) who works on the climate data and map development. Making use of the hydrological model SWAT, I am developing a water balance for the catchment and estimates or surface runoff and peak discharge during the rainy season. All the information from the hydrological model will be used in our recommendation on water management and the development of water infrastructure (such as hand pumps and sand dams)."

"Sometimes I can go abroad to visit our project area, give a workshop or meet local partners. Last year I also visited Khartoum, Sudan, to meet and interview our project partners to better understand the social-economic challenges as well as the hydrogeological context."

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"There is always something going on in the office. On Thursdays, there is often a lunch presentation, from colleagues or our interns. There are often meetings with partners or clients, and colleagues going on fieldwork in the Netherlands. Last month I was helping a colleague on a field trip for Spaarwater Flevoland. There were some issues with the solar pump and clogged drains. It was great to see that after our visit, the sensors were collecting the correct data again.

I also write or edit news items for the Acacia Water website, which are also published in our newsletter. I really like to write about ongoing projects at Acacia Water, this way we can share our projects and research on, for example, innovative techniques and landscape approach for water availability."

What are your future goals?

"I hope to work on projects with sustainable management of water resources in the Netherlands and abroad, that also include fieldwork. In the future, I would like to keep working on water availability and contribute to a more sustainable environment."

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Could you tell us how your time at WUR helped you to get where you are now?

"During my BSc and MSc, I learned to always look at the bigger picture and take the other aspects into account. Hydrology is not just discharge, but also Water management, soil and water quality, climate trends etc. This is still very useful in my work now."

What is your advice to current students?

"I can recommend any student to take a lot of courses with fieldwork. It is a great opportunity to go with our teachers into the field and the experiences will be of great use in your future work. Also, start to look around early for your field(s) of interest and take some extra courses from other specialisations."

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