Mapping Water Potential Below The Earth’s Surface

The City of Sioux Falls announced a scientific partnership to collect more water

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You can’t see it, but there is a lot of water under the state of South Dakota. One of those aquifers runs under the city of Sioux Falls, but getting to the water can be tricky and expensive.

And today the City of Sioux Falls announced plans to tap into that resource, not above the ground, but below it.

“The progressive growth of the city has required leaders for more than 100 years to really carefully plan and map out the city’s water resources.”

Mark Cotter, Director of Public Works in Sioux Falls, addressed the big plan for mapping the underground water source Mon. afternoon.

The instrument is called the “Bird” by many, “RESOLVE” by others, and it will be hovering just about 100-feet above the ground; collecting data right below the Earth’s surface.

“The technology that we’re going to bring to bear on this is really the state-of-the-art technology for looking into the sub-surface,” says Mike Anderson with the United States Geological Survey.

The tool will be flown via helicopter sending low-frequency pulses into the Earth’s surface mapping a three-dimensional view of the Big Sioux Aquifer – which is much more efficient and cost effective than what was done in the past.

“Instead of the old way we would have to take and drill wells to learn the characteristics of the aquifer,” said Anderson.

By determining better access points, tapping into the river below us will be much easier if and when disaster strikes.

“Do we need the water tomorrow? No, but we ultimately need to start taking steps, start developing our next wells so we’re positioned for that next generations,” added Cotter.