Mapping groundwater with SkyTEM White Paper

Data from Horn River Basin survey showing a paleochannel at various depths

Data from Horn River Basin survey showing a paleochannel at various depths

The ability to reveal the availability and movement of groundwater can be a huge asset for countries and regions with the need to responsibly and sustainably manage their aquifers.

The SkyTEM method, specifically developed to map buried aquifers, is widely accepted globally as the principal technique for mapping water resources. SkyTEM is an innovative and technologically advanced airborne geophysical system capable of mapping the top 500 metres of the Earth in fine detail and in 3 dimensions. SkyTEM was conceived and engineered in Denmark, a country with a reputation for environmental care and R&D. SkyTEM helps geological organizations and government water agencies on seven continents unearth a wealth of information about their aquifers and aids in their understanding of how geology and mankind can affect, and be affected by, groundwater resources. The SkyTEM method has mapped water resources on a Galapagos Island, important agricultural areas in the USA, Australia, Africa and India, islands in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean and even Antarctica. Recognized for its ability to quickly and accurately map geology in fine detail, the SkyTEM method is also employed globally for mineral and oil & gas exploration as well as environmental and engineering investigations.

This white paper provides results from recent global water exploration projects – from finding new fresh water sources to identifying groundwater recharge areas, saline water encroachment and more.

Water is essential for life on earth. Two thirds of Earth’s surface is covered by water and oceans hold about 97% of all our water.  In the remaining 3% of fresh, or non-saline water, groundwater provides us with 30% of all our drinking water while 68% is trapped in a frozen state.  Less than 2% is available as surface water. This limited supply of available surface and groundwater is the main source of drinking water for the planet’s seven billion plus people. In recent decades as demand for water increases we witness falling water levels in almost all of the world’s wells, and many are beginning to run dry.

According to a recent NASA study one third of the Earth’s largest groundwater basins are being over-exploited.  Twenty-one of the world’s 37 largest aquifers, in locations from India and China to the United States and France have removed water quicker than it can be replaced by rain and snow and their sustainability is at a critical point. (see http://go.nasa.gov/1G3fLIV). Depletion of water resources is an immediate and growing concern and is creating overwhelming challenges for the next generations.

Click here to download the entire white paper: Mapping Groundwater with SkyTEM