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Lauren

Hydrogeologist

Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources

How did you get to where you are today?

I studied Environmental Science at Flinders University. I wasn’t too sure where it would lead but I was interested in the topic and decided to let my interests guide me.

I received the Aboriginal Groundwater Scholarship while I was studying which led me into hydrogeology and working with the groundwater team in DEWNR.

What does an average day look like?

My job varies - it’s definitely not your regular desk job. Most days I am working through data sets – interpreting them and making them into maps or tables which show groundwater distribution in South Australia.

My favourite part of the job is the field component. It has taken me to all corners of the state and has led me to meet some very interesting people. We occasionally go out and collect groundwater samples across the state and provide technical advice when drilling new bore holes.

Our team also has a strong interest in communicating our science to the public and I have been lucky enough to take my work to science expos and conferences, where I am able to communicate my knowledge in simple, thought-provoking ways.

What do you love about your job?

I’ve always found hydrogeology fascinating. It’s a topic that is always changing and developing and I always felt that there is something to learn about groundwater.

What drives you to do what you do?

I’m driven to be a hydrogeologist because water is an essential part of life. We all need it. Improving our knowledge and understanding of groundwater resources contributes to our need for water and allows for better management of the resource.

What is challenging or rewarding about your job?

One challenge is describing my job to people! Groundwater is not as well-known as I thought. Other challenges include adapting to a constantly changing environment and being innovative in our management of water resources.

There are many ways to analyse groundwater, both through hands-on work as well as developing computer generated models. The challenge is determining which method is best suited to the task, because groundwater cannot be physically viewed, the study of groundwater relies heavily on data.

The rewarding part of my job is seeing the positive impact that we have on communities.

What is it like working in the public sector?

The South Australian Government has a keen focus on conservation and minimising our environmental impact, so I feel like my values regarding the environment are aligned and well supported.

The culture of the team I work in is very supportive and uplifting. I am always encouraged to learn more and strive to produce great work. My team are a positive influence on my life and as a result, I genuinely enjoy coming to work and being around the people that I work with.

Why have you chosen to work in South Australia?

Hydrogeology is a job that exists in other places, however, in South Australia it’s particularly important because we are the driest state in the driest (inhabited) continent – so looking after our scarce water resources is incredibly significant.

As an Aboriginal woman, it is important to me to be able to incorporate Reconciliation into my job. I thoroughly enjoy working on projects focussed around Aboriginal water rights and increasing awareness of Aboriginal culture within the department.

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