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The GNS Science water dating laboratory has partnered with numerous research programmes and government and industry projects around the world.
One such example is our on-going partnership with local authorities across New Zealand to determine groundwater age as a parameter for drinking water security.
In addition, this method provides another tool to study the transport of nutrients from farms to streams and rivers.
The global environment is increasingly ‘saturated’ in nitrogen, due to increasing industrial and transport emissions and the intensification of agriculture.
The GNS Science water dating lab is currently recognised by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) as the most precise tritium laboratory world-wide.
Every year, we analyse hundreds of groundwater sample from around the world for a wide range of research programmes and industrial applications in groundwater resource, climate change, oceanography, geothermal dynamics and hydro-dam security.
The Drinking-water Standards for New Zealand specifies that if the fraction of water with age less than one year is less than 0.005% of the water present in the aquifer, it is unlikely that contamination from recent sources of pollution will be a problem.Excess nitrogen cascades through the environment, and enters ground and surface water as nitrate.Nitrate contaminates groundwater resources, and causes eutrophication in streams, lakes and estuaries.Water dating has been hailed internationally as a breakthrough in managing aquifer systems and in detecting early signs of deteriorating water quality.The ability to accurately date young groundwater adds considerable value to groundwater resource or quality surveys.
Isotopic tracers reveal a great deal about recharge areas, flow paths, aquifer structure and impact of human activities on water quality, which provide a scientific basis for effective management of water allocation, water quality monitoring, prevention of contamination and water-resource planning.