Surveyors take to air to see underground over Santa Ynez River Valley Groundwater BasinA helicopter making low-level passes over the Santa Ynez ...Surveyors take to air to see underground over Santa Ynez River Valley Groundwater Basin
A helicopter making low-level passes over the Santa Ynez Valley towing a large hexagonal frame is using a technology first developed in World War II to peer as far as 1,400 feet below the surface to map the groundwater basin.
The aerial electromagnetic method is being used by the Santa Barbara County Water Agency and Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District to gather data on the groundwater basin in a few days that otherwise could take months or even years to obtain, water officials said.
“We’ll get some preliminary results almost immediately,” said Matt Young, water resources program manager for the County Public Works Department. “But we have to check that against known well levels … [and] other known data.
“We expect more firm results next spring or early summer,” he added.