DWR to Investigate Area’s Groundwater Basins | News


The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) said Friday that beginning April 3, it will use airborne electromagnetic (AEM) surveys to better understand groundwater resources, including the counties’ groundwater basins. Sutter and Yuba.

The DWR said its “innovative helicopter-based technology” will allow it to gather information about the structure of the state’s underground aquifer to support drought response and watershed law enforcement. Sustainable Groundwater Management (SGMA).

“The data collected during these surveys will provide a better understanding of California’s groundwater systems, and in turn will support more informed and sustainable groundwater management and drought preparedness and response approaches,” Steven Springhorn, DWR’s SGMA technical support manager, said in a statement.

AEM surveys, which DWR says advances California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Water Resilience Portfolio goal of using technology to support the state’s understanding of groundwater resources, will be conducted in April in Alameda, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Sacramento, Amador, Solano, Yolo, Placer, Sutter, and Yuba counties. Specific groundwater basins that will be observed include the Cosumnes, Tracy, Eastern San Joaquin, East Contra Costa, Solano, Livermore, South American, North American, Yolo, Sutter, South Yuba and North Yuba basins.

“During the surveys, a low-flying helicopter tows a large hoop with scientific equipment approximately 100 feet above the ground surface. The helicopter, flown by experienced and licensed pilots, will perform several passes over survey areas and may be visible to residents,” DWR said. “Survey data creates an image of the subsurface to a depth of approximately 1,000 feet below ground surface and provides information on large-scale aquifer structures and geology. This information supports the implementation of local groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs), which can help local agencies sustainably manage groundwater during drought.

DWR said these AEM surveys will be conducted over the next several years in high- and medium-priority groundwater basins around the state. The survey schedule is available at https://gis.water.ca.gov/app/AEM-schedule.

DWR said the methods used for AEM surveys are safe and have been successfully conducted in multiple locations across the state.

“Surveys will be conducted during daylight hours only and the helicopter will not fly over businesses, homes, other habitable structures or confined animal feeding operations,” DWR said. “The helicopter operator follows all rules and regulations set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration, and its top priority is public safety. Experienced pilots, specially trained in the low-altitude flight required for geophysical surveys, will fly the helicopter.

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