Experts use aerial technology to better understand Hawke's Bay aquifers

In a New Zealand first Hawke's Bay Regional Council is using electromagnetic technology to map its ground water sources.

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The resource is under pressure in the region. Source: 1 NEWS

A helicopter will be a common sight over Hawke's Bay for the next few months with a giant hoop suspended just 40 metres above the ground.

Danish electromagnetic technology from SKYtem, is being used to map the region's underground aquifers, our source of groundwater.

Iain Macdonald from the Hawke's Bay Regional Council says it’s a game changer for the area.

“Previously we have relied on drilling technology so putting bores in the ground to understand the geology of the groundwater system is, this technology allows us to scan the whole lot across a wider area.”

The $4.3 million survey will gather data from the Ruataniwha, Heretaunga, Otane and Ngaruroro aquifers, as well as surveying just off shore.

It'll then produce 3D maps and models down to 300 metres.

“It’s gonna help with things like allocation, how much do we give away for consumptive uses how do we manage contaminants on land to avoid polluting our ground water system.”

Central Hawke’s Bay mayor Alex Walker it's crucial information for a region which relies on agriculture.

“There is a bit of a perfect storm happening we have big demands on water. The environment requires a large amount of water but we also have changing patterns and we stand here today and it’s drizzling a wee bit but actually these summer times end up being very extended dry periods.”

Those dry periods hamper farmers as the catchment's been fully allocated for the last 10 years.

“We currently have a framework which is quite set in its ways because of the history of, A, knowledge and, B, the RMA (Resource Management Act) so to have new sophisticated conversations about allocations we need to have really good information. “

Once collated the data will be shared with local councils, who all have an interest in the future of a vital resource.