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DWR to use helicopters to map groundwater resources across Central Coast

Posted at 3:59 PM, Apr 14, 2023

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) will be conducting airborne geophysical surveys over parts of the Central Coast this month.

People may see a helicopter towing a large hoop. It'll be carrying Airborne Electromagnetic (AEM) technology that will be used to measure and map groundwater levels. It will fly about 200 feet above the ground.

Starting April 19, surveys will be conducted over the San Luis Obispo Valley, San Antonio Creek Valley, Santa Maria, Arroyo Grande, Los Osos Area, and Warden Creek groundwater basins

The helicopter will reportedly avoid urban areas, including homes and businesses.

According to the DWR, these surveys help improve the understanding of groundwater resources and support local management efforts.

The AEM technology sends signals into the ground and receives them when they bounce back up, creating continuous images of underground geology and helping researchers map out where water is stored beneath the surface.