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Department of Water Resources will conduct an electromagnetic survey of aquifers in four southeastern North Dakota counties

Department of Water Resources

North Dakota’s Department of Water Resources will be conducting an airborne electromagnetic survey of aquifers over parts of Cass, Richland, Ransom and Sargent Counties this week.

"In North Dakota, with our glacial aquifer systems that cover the eastern two-thirds of the state — they're almost fully appropriated," said Department Hydrologist Manager Rex Honeyman. "We're looking at different methods to try to get additional information, and squeeze out that additional 10 to 20 percent of the aquifer availability. And this will hopefully help us with some of that."

Honeyman said the demand for water continues.

"In order to deal with and review those applications, we have to make sure the aquifer is sustainable," Honeyman said. "We want to have as much information as possible."

The Department has contracted with Aqua Geo Frameworks to conduct the aerial survey. The survey will use helicopters, which will tow a large, hoop-shaped antenna. That antenna will send and receive electromagnetic signals, that will help determine the geology underground.

Honeyman said the data from that airborne survey will be used to help determine where groundwater is available.

"It's definitely a fast way to collect a lot of data, that can point us in the right direction," Honeyman said. "Instead of blindly going out to blindly drill in some areas, we can see locations that look promising."

Honeyman said if people see these helicopters with the hoop antennas, they should not try to get under them to take pictures.


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