WKU geologist Chris Groves honored for water resource research
- Dr. Chris Groves
- Wednesday, September 29th, 2021
KWRRI Director Dr. Lindell Ormsbee (left) presented the William Barfield Award for Outstanding Contributions in Water Resource Research to Dr. Chris Groves. (Photo by Mark Mahan)
Dr. Chris Groves of WKU’s Department of Earth, Environmental, and Atmospheric Sciences received the William Barfield Award for Outstanding Contributions in Water Resource Research earlier this month from the Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute (KWRRI) at the Institute’s Annual Symposium in Lexington.
The award honors an individual who has “developed a national or international reputation in a water related research field and has made significant contributions in developing new knowledge, methods, and/or applications in addressing water resource challenges.”
Dr. Groves, University Distinguished Professor of Hydrogeology, is the Director of the Crawford Hydrology Laboratory within WKU’s Applied Research and Technology Program (ARTP). Along with students and colleagues, he maintains an active, international research program in hydrogeology, geochemistry and water resources. Ongoing, applied research projects—aimed at solving problems and increasing quality of life for people through improved access to water—include 25 years of collaborative work in the great karst region of southwest China. This area is home to some 80 million mostly rural residents, many of indigenous minority nationalities, and many of whom lack access to adequate water supplies.
Closer to home in southcentral Kentucky, an ongoing project of Dr. Groves and his students funded by grants from the U.S. Geological Survey through the KWRRI has focused on developing solutions to problems in some Amish and Mennonite communities that forgo certain aspects of modern technology, including treating water to make it safe to drink. Some communities completely lack electricity. Families are hand-carrying and drinking contaminated water from cave springs, and in some cases becoming ill. Dr. Groves and his students are working to develop relationships in these communities, to help people understand the potential health risks, and to find ways to treat the water, especially the absence of electric pumps. The team is focused on developing horse treadmill powered water treatment systems that remove bacteria and viruses from water, but without using electricity.
Dr. Cate Webb, Ogden College Associate Dean for Research, and ARTP Director, noted that “this innovative project exemplifies the spirit and mission of the WKU ARTP which serves our community with scientific solutions to real-world problems while training students to work-force ready standards in modern instrumentation and techniques.”
The award is named for Dr. William Barfield, who served as the head of the biosystems and agricultural engineering program at the University of Kentucky as well as the head of the biosystems and agricultural engineering program at Oklahoma State University. He served as director of the KWRRI from 1988 to 1992.
Contact: Chris Groves, (270) 745-5974
- WKU -
Western Kentucky University prides itself on positioning its students, faculty and staff for long term success. As a student-centered, applied research university, WKU helps students expand on classroom learning by integrating education with real-world applications in the communities we serve. Our hilltop campus is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, which was recently named by Reader’s Digest as one of the nicest towns in America, just an hour’s drive from Nashville, Tennessee.