Wednesday April 27, 2022


For the past year, California’s Department of Water Resources has been taking measurements of aquifers in central and southern parts of the state. The same will be done for the Sacramento Valley over the next several weeks.

This project, which is known as an Airborne Electromagnetic (AEM) Survey, is a direct result of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which calls for local and state water agencies to work together to better understand and manage groundwater supply.

AEM surveys are taken using a helicopter that carries a special set of instruments suspended on a large ring below the aircraft, shown below.

Those instruments take readings on the electromagnetic properties of materials below ground. Scientists with DWR can then use that information to better understand the different sub-surface layers.

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