Monte Carlo studies and a case study in Benin investigated data collection methods applicable in rural regions of developing nations. These studies were cased within the framework of three progressions: the progression of analytical methods (POAM), the progression of sampling strategies (POSS), and the progression of expertise (POE). These studies demonstrated the strength of using the full range of each of the progressions.
The Monte Carlo studies were based on use of five scenarios of contamination in water derived from a groundwater well in combination with five instruments and six sampling strategies. These studies were applied to assessment of three parameters: mean concentration, max concentration, and total mass load. A wide range of observations regarding use of instrument and expertise were derived from the results. Significant among these is the observation that analytical methods at the low end of the POAM combined with sampling by personnel at the low end of the POE can provide high-quality estimates of measures (e.g., nitrate or uranium) and parameters (e.g., mean concentration) of groundwater quality. The goal of the Benin case study was to compliment the Monte Carlo studies by introducing the realities of field work. Following a regional exploratory study, the case study focused on characterization of nitrate and uranium in groundwater in south-central Benin. The nitrate portion of the study included collaboration with local populations for the sampling effort. These local populations were sampled at high frequency with a uniform sampling quality over a period in excess of a year, thus demonstrating the potential to use the low end of the POE in combination with the low ends of the POAM and POSS.
Overall, these studies demonstrated the value of data gained using the less complex portions of the progressions. Further benefit is obtained by using different portions of the progressions at different stages of, or for different aspects of, research projects. It is hoped that these results will be applied to address the growing disconnect between the current direction of groundwater research and the great need for such research and monitoring in rural regions of developing nations.