Ray Maynard calls me a peripatetic hydrologist. I had to look it up. There are two meanings: 1) a person who travels from place to place or 2) an Aristotelian philosopher. I think I fit both definitions. Aristotle placed great emphasis on direct observation of nature and that theory must follow fact. I also travel a lot. Whereas I can’t deny this label, I have...

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Plastic bottle floating on a brown river.

In the modern world, it is rude and inconsiderate to indiscriminately consume resources for one time use. It is not socially acceptable to litter the landscape with trash. It may have taken years of public education for the message to take hold, but the outcome is less pressure on our environment and a higher quality of life for everyone. Why is there a different ethic for hydrometric...

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Glasses and calculator on sheets of data.

Data about water quantity and water quality are fundamental to some of the most important decisions made by engineers and in choices made by societies. Abundance and quality of water are critical factors in many aspects of our economy, our environment, and our social and physical well-being. It is the case than multiple water resources objectives must be simultaneously managed. The costs of sub-optimal water resources choices can be substantial. Uncertainty is antagonistic to optimization.

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Hydrologist on an ice sheet.

Stu Hamilton next to an ablation stake on the Peyto Glacer. Note the meltwater channels eroded into the ice surface. When the sun hits the ice later in the day these channels will be running full of water and draining down crevasses contributing to sub-glacial flow. Sub-glacial flow is linked with glacier thinning. Photo by Ian Hamilton, July 20, 2014

A 3-day hike in July on the Wapta Icefield in the Canadian Rockies with my son took us up the Bow Glacier, briefly onto the Yoho Glacier and then down the Peyto Glacier. Bow Glacier meltwater flows into the South Saskatchewan River (146,100 km2). Yoho Glacier meltwater flows into the Columbia River (668,000 km2). Peyto Glacier meltwater flows in the North Saskatchewan River (122,800 km2).

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Stu Hamilton and Bruno Tassone with others.

Stu Hamilton, Vic Neimela, Bruno Tassone, Gord Tofte, and Lynne Campo at Bruno’s Retirement Lunch … this small group has over 178 years of hydrometric program management experience spanning more than half a century.

I recently had the pleasure of joining my colleagues, young and old, to congratulate Bruno Tassone on his retirement after 35 years of service to the Water Survey of Canada. Had Bruno been a structural engineer, we would have been able to point to a legacy of concrete and steel.

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Monty Alford and two friends on his 90th birthday.

Photo: Monty Alford (middle) celebrating his 90th birthday with two of my predecessors. Alex Van Bibber (left) is now 97 years old and assisted Monty for almost 30 years of hydrometric surveys before I was hired. Vic Ponisch (right) also assisted Monty during that era. Tomorrow marks the 90th birthday of my first supervisor at the Water Survey of Canada. Monty Alford hired me in 1978...

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