21 march 2022
2 min
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Drones help find groundwater for irrigation

Drones help find groundwater for irrigation

Italian experts are using innovative drones to help farmers find underground water sources suitable for irrigation, World of NAN reports referring to freshplaza.

Experts have been exploring water in the subsurface for several years using innovative remote-controlled multi-rotor aircraft systems. The professional team consists of geophysicists, information technology specialists and aeronautical scientists.

"In less than 20 minutes we can scan the subsoil of a large area, detecting the presence of water at a depth of up to 250 meters thanks to electromagnetic sensors. In this way, in just a few hours, we can tell the growers whether there is underground water suitable for irrigation in a certain area," explains Vincenzo Orso, the drone pilot.

According to the specialists, they have been receiving a lot of calls lately, as farmers often face difficulties caused by drought. Not only Italian businesses are reaching out, but also those in other continents, such as Africa. 

According to the company, a drone with patented technology and a probe flies over the territory and sends electromagnetic waves into the soil. This operation makes it possible to detect differences in the density of a particular soil layer, thus reporting any electromagnetic anomalies, which the drone then detects and notifies operators via Bluetooth. In areas characterized by such anomalies, the chance of finding water is very high, so experts conduct orthogonal magnetic resonance, which gives a color diagram of subsoil stratification (shown in the photo). To date, the accuracy of the method exceeds 85%, depending on the nature of the soils.

"We never tell our clients the value in terms of the possible cubic meters of water present in the subsurface, we rather advise them on whether to drill or not. Upon completion of our work, we provide a technical report that can be given to drilling companies. We conduct a preliminary geophysical analysis free of charge to assess the possibility of detecting water in the soil to avoid unnecessary investments," the experts said.