Aerial survey team searching for groundwater in Coalinga

COALINGA, Calif. (KFSN) -- An aerial survey team is using high-tech equipment to map out groundwater in Coalinga.

In Coalinga, groundwater is a lot like gold and BJ Crocker is on a mission to find it, "We're taking all the guess work out of it," Crocker said.

He's mapping out the land with a helicopter and an electromagnetic pulse, which is generated from a 1,500 pound system, hanging from the chopper.

Crocker added, "It has a receiver coil on that system and it waits to hear the echo."

The end result is a 3D image of the subsurface, something a farmer could use to figure out where to drill a well.

"I can look at that map and I can say there's where the water is, that's where we need to drill," Crocker said.

The map shows all signs of water, where it's coming from and where it's going, as far down as 1,800 feet. If the water isn't safe to drink, Crocker says it'll show up in the system, "We can really negate all the water issues that's going on out here," Crocker said, "this technology can really save California from the drought."

This is the first flight in California but the technology has already been used to find water in places like Nebraska and North Dakota, "They've used us as a preventative measure and they're absolutely happy with what we're doing out there."

Crocker says the system was originally designed for mining, more specifically, to find gold. Here, it's finding something just as valuable, something people can't live without.

Three companies are involved with the survey team; Southern Helicopters, SkyTem and a geophysics company.

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