not arguing either - but are you not accepting 16'6"
Let's stop arguing and let TEX provide us the right solution.
All three answers :48", 24" and 12 could be correct depending on how you interpret this puzzle.
If the 1/3 submerged in water, is 1/3 of the whole pole then 48" is the right answer as most of you have posted here.
If the 1/3 submerged in water, is 1/3 of the remaining half then 24" is the right answer.
Also, if the part covered in ground represents the remaining 8" part not in water (air + ground), then 12" is the right answer
ps air was not mentioned, perhaps delberately!