Ellen Kwantes, Associate Hydrogeologist, is an excellent example of a passionate professional who embodies the core principles of WSP with HEART – going above and beyond to further the efforts of a community in need.
Sharing her skills with the Australian Volunteers Program, Ellen is currently assisting hydrogeologists from the Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Management Board to build a groundwater model for the Kathmandu Valley.
Ellen says, “I have a special connection to the area, as my husband is from there.”
Ellen met her husband when she first travelled to Nepal in 2001 to teach English. She’s been going back every couple of years since.
“I have always wanted to contribute to groundwater management in the Kathmandu Valley,” she explains.
In a nutshell, a hydrogeologist looks at the groundwater environment. In her work at WSP, Ellen mainly focuses on:
- Groundwater investigations, including groundwater level and quality monitoring and analysis
- Developing conceptual and 3D numerical models of hydrogeological environments
- Assessing impacts to protect the groundwater resource and its users and developing and mitigation measures
Ellen adds, “In 2019 we spent two and a half months in the country and I volunteered for an NGO called Small Earth Nepal. Through that I made contacts at the Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Management Board.
“The President of the Small Earth Nepal was involved with the Australian Embassy and knew about this volunteer program. Ever since then, we’ve been trying to get it going and I’m very excited that it’s finally happening.”
Funded by the Australian Government, the Australian Volunteers Program matches a broad range of skilled Australians with partner organisations in the Indo-Pacific region, to help them achieve their own development goals.
“In it’s current form, the program has been in place for a few years – normally people would go to the host country and work with the locals for up to a year,“ says Ellen.
“Because of the pandemic the organisation has set up a remote volunteering program consisting of three month assignments. Every assignemnt has set objectives but if there’s more to be done after those three months are over, a new assignment can be created.”
Ellen is currently one month into her assignment.