Update May 2018
From 19 to 30 March 2018 another stay in Mexico / Tulum took place. During this time, a series of activities and events around the World Water Day 2018 were scheduled, mainly initiated / organized by our partner Amigos de Sian Ka'an in schools and public spaces. The small Citizen Science project was also presented on the occasion. As it turned out, the project's content and objectives fit perfectly into the growing diversity of local activities as an expression of increasing public attention for the groundwater issue in Tulum ...
The on-site work program included the enrollment of new groups of students, the introduction of new oxygen and salinity tests. Furthermore, a simple E. coli test was presented by a mexican colleague, with which a very important water quality parameter can be recorded (costs and use are still being discussed). The data collection is currently done with a new Smartphone Tool (ODK Collect) that has proven to be very easy to use for the measurement teams.
Another issue was the recovery of water flow sensors from an underwater cave for maintenance purposes and the temporary removal of the weather station for a major overhaul. Meanwhile, weather data is also being provided by another, nearby station of the Mexican partner organization. Also, a group of cave divers became familiar with the project. Some of them joined the measurement campaign and now provide data directly from the cave systems.
A major concern of the Mexican partner is to simulate the development of the groundwater regime in terms of climate change impacts such as sea level rise, rain / dry periods changing in time and intensity, etc. Impact on quality, especially salinity, in the near-shore area as well as capacity should be estimated.
This requires a further development of the existing numerical groundwater model and further long-term observation of precipitation, groundwater levels and currents including a functioning tidal station directly on the coast in front of the observation area.
Therefore, for the first time a functioning tidal station was built near enough the study area. Furthermore, water level sensors and other measuring devices were sent to expand the measuring campaign in this direction.
With the colleagues of the University of Neuchatel currently are discussed the possibilities of expanding their model in the context of diploma theses.
All in all, it was a content-rich stay that has already shown an increased awareness of the population for their important water resource, which the small Citizen Science project is certainly not entirely innocent.
Update September 2017
The results of the CECyTE Tulum high school Monitoring campaign of first half 2017 are available! They can be seen under 'maps/parameter' and 'maps/animated' gifs. Also Philippe Renard, head of the Stochastic Hydrogeology Group, University of Neuchâtel, and Renaud SAINT-LOUP, member of the Group, allowed us to show part of their work of 2015 and 2016 and Renauds master thesis (maps/UNINE-water analysis) - so the results of citizen and professional scientists gather.
An interpretation document of this extended and interesting time series is about to be prepared.
The pupils are in well-deserved summer vacation now. Amigos de Sian Kaans local Project Manager changed to a new Position, so a new person will locally support the CECyTE Tulum Monitoring campaign in the second half of 2017.
New water tests arrived Tulum recently. They will be passed to cave divers, so in the second half of 2017 we expect also data from the deep groundwater flowing through the underwater caves. The weather station quitted sending data - we hope to check and fix the problem as soon as possible since during storm season worthful data could be gathered.
Additional parameters to be investigated in the near future are: temperature, density (salinity), water level.
Update June 2017
The high motivated students of the CECyTE Tulum High school do a fantastic job.
During spring they did 69 measurements at 9 different locations. This first data is currently about to be analysed and quality checked, techniques adapted ... First charts will be provided during July early summer before the students go into their deserved summer vacation.
Maybe some of the measurements can even be continued during the vacation if some of the pupils are around their location.
So many thanks and congratulations to all of the team members and to the teachers, especially Maestra Guadalupe Sánchez Sandoval and Director Biól. Emanuel Paz Pérez supporting the project. And many thanks to Alejandro and Damaris from Amigos de Sian Ka'an who are keeping contact to the School and managing data transfer and supply of materials.
Currently more tests are prepared for continuing the measurements.
Furthermore, as a parallel thread, the divers measurement campaign is about to be implemented. About 15 tests are ready for shipping to Leopoldo Pellon, owner of No Diving Limits Diving Equipment shop in Tulum. He will distribute them to divers so we will soon have data not only from cenotes and wells but also from the deep caves above and below the halocline.
(for more pictures download the pdf at the end ...)
Update April 2017
In the second half of March 2017 an opening event took place at the high school CECyTE in Tulum. The events have been prepared by the partners Amigos de Sian Kaan and the Geological Survey of Austria...
Presentations have been shown about the project and about cave diving. Also a workshop has been given.
The presentations and workshops were spontanously supported by perfectly english speaking pupils of the high school as translators and by our friends and exploration divers Leo and Gisela ('No Diving Limits Technical dive gear').
After a first insight into current research and the fascinating topic as well as into the underwater caves and the work there, the students got into first touch with the water tests. They liked especially the smart phone application 'ProScan' from JBL.
They have been instructed how to do the test, where and how often.
After this kick-off events the students vanished into well-deserved vacation.
We are now keen for first data from the CECyTE high school students!
Furthermore, a plan was set up to incorporate cave divers into the measurements for getting water samples right from inside the conduits - important data!
Last but not least a weather station was build up at Sr Nebis rancho/ cenote jailhouse for getting data right from the cave systems area, and the flux imaging system was checked and prepared for maintenance.
for more pictures download the pdf ...