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Core blimey! Water level a surprise

  • 14 Jul 2017

Pupils from Bayfield High School and King’s High School are digging deep to find what lies beneath the flood-prone grounds on which they study.

Sixty year 10 geography pupils from the schools have spent the week working with representatives from the Otago Regional Council, the New Zealand International Science Festival, the University of Otago and GNS Science to take core samples from the schools’ grounds.

New Zealand International Science Festival director and project director Dan Hendra, of Dunedin, said the Government-funded Curious Minds Programme project was particularly relevant for the students.

"One of the main reasons why we are working with these students is because the environment they are in is being directly impacted by water levels, especially the floods two years ago."

Water was discovered 60cm below ground during core sample drilling at King’s High School, Mr Hendra said.

As well as watching contractors use machine drills, pupils had the opportunity to use hand augers to dig beneath the surface.

Yesterday’s muddy effort was the first practical work for the Bayfield pupils in what would be an ongoing water level monitoring project. Piezometer monitoring systems, powered by solar panels, were installed in the bores and would provide data about water levels and soil composition  to the Otago Regional Council and the pupils.

Pupils from both schools would present  their findings about the changing conditions below the  surface to other pupils.

Some pupils would speak at a community presentation at King’s High School next month, Mr Hendra said.

Bayfield pupil Matt Clarkson said the project had given him a sense of how vulnerable the area was to flooding.

"It is quite surprising how high the water table is."

● Community presentation at King’s High School, 5pm, July 5.

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