Survey collects data from medium-priority groundwater basins

NORTH COUNTY — The Department of Water Resources conducted airborne electromagnetic (AEM) surveys in the North County from Jul. 15 through Jul. 20. The survey collects data from medium-priority groundwater basins, where feasible to assist local water managers as they implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) to manage groundwater for long-term sustainability. 

The AEM project provides state and federal agencies, groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs), stakeholders, and the public with basin-specific and cross-basin geophysical data, tools, and analyses.

The surveys are funded by voter-approved Proposition 68, Senate Bill 5, and from the general fund. More information can be found in the AEM Proposition 68 Fact Sheet.

During an AEM survey, a helicopter tows electronic equipment that sends signals into the ground, which bounce back. The process has been compared to taking an MRI of the ground’s subsurface. The data collected is used to create continuous images that are interpreted for underground geology. 

The resulting information will provide a standardized, statewide dataset that improves the understanding of aquifer structures. It can also help develop or refine hydrogeologic conceptual models and help identify areas for recharging groundwater.