Securing California’s water resources
Following almost 6 years of drought in California, groundwater is being mapped for the first time using helicopters with electromagnetic sensors. Mapping will help prevent salt water from infiltrating groundwater and contribute to sustainable water use.
By Martin Zoffmann
14 June 2017
As a consequence of a four-year drought, California has lost great amounts of ground water. California authorities will hence focus on mapping the ground water resources in order to make the water cache more sustainable. They have hence engaged Ramboll for two new projects within the field of water resources.
The first project regards the risk of losing fresh ground water in coastal areas where it might get mixed with salted water.
“One of the numerous challenges that the authorities of California currently face is gaining an overview of the fresh ground water and the water movement in the coastal areas where it compounds with the salty seawater. We will now approach this challenge in a large area by Monterey Bay”, says Max Halkjær, Service Line Leader, Water Resources in Ramboll Water.
Ramboll collaborates with the companies SkyTEM Surveys and I-GIS on this project. SkyTEM Surveys will map the Californian underground with advanced scanning equipment. I-GIS will provide 3D visualization software and Ramboll will deliver counselling and data analysis.
Sustainable Water Catchment
Another challenge in California, within the water field, is developing a better overview of the aquifers’ delimitation. Based on this, the second project focuses on advanced data management and ground-based geophysics by mapping the aquifers’ delimitation.
“Based on old and new data, we will provide ‘incorporate interpretation’, which helps us gain a more detailed insight into the siting of the ground water”, Max Halkjær.
This project is being executed together with I-GIS and in corporation with a local consultant.
A strong alliance
Both projects have been assigned within the Water Technology Alliance (WTA). Established in 2015 the alliance has a purpose of disseminating knowledge about the Danish water model, and supporting the Danish water industry in the process of entering the American market.
“A model has been established, where Danish water companies are represented in form of three permanent employees located in California, as a part of the Danish Trade Council. These employees are specialized within the water field and are determined to create cooperation. The California authorities are very interested in cooperating, which has created many opportunities,” says Max Halkjær.
The Water Technology Alliance is an arm of the Danish Trade Council in California supported by Industriens Fond. In addition to Ramboll it consists of Aarhus Vand, Kamstrup, Applied Biomimetic, Danfoss, Grundfoss, Smith Innovation, DHI, AVK, LiqTech and Leif Koch A/S, SkyTEM, and I-GIS.
- In dry years, the proportion of California’s water supply derived from groundwater increases from 38% to 46% or more
- Mapping gives a clearer picture of when and where to find the fresh groundwater
- Helps avoid saltwater infiltration of groundwater caused by overuse of aquifers