Aerial surveying of Aupōuri aquifer begins

WATCH: Te Hiku water study - understanding the Aupōuri aquifer of Northland

Those living in the Far North may see a low-flying helicopter towing a large hoop hanging from a cable, over the next couple of months.

The project is seeking to understand more about the Aupōuri aquifer through aerial electromagnetic (AEM) surveying in October and November this year. Te Hiku Water Study project is being undertaken on behalf of Te Hiku Water Study Project Team by Aqua Intel Aotearoa, a partnership between GNS Science and Kānoa, funded by the Provincial Growth Fund.

AEM involves flying over the land with a loop system suspended from beneath a helicopter. Transmitters on the loop send electromagnetic signals underground and sensors measure the behaviour of the returning signals. Similar to radar, this method allows us to ‘see’ what’s under the ground by looking at and interpreting the way the signals return.

This will help build a better picture of the aquifer and help identify the best ways to balance environmental protection, the increased demand for water for drinking and land production, and events such as droughts. Surveying will be undertaken by specialists from SkyTEM Australia. GNS scientists will interpret and analyse the raw data and provide the resulting information, subject to agreed guidelines, in formats useful for councils, mana whenua and the community.

Northland-based project team members are Wallace Rivers (Ngai Takoto), Craig Wells (Ngai Takoto), Walter Wells (Ngati Kuri), Penetaui Kleskovich (Te Aupōuri), Stewart Otene (Te Rarawa), Wendy Thomas (landowner), Ian Broadhurst (landowner), Eric Wagener (Ratepayers Association), Susie Osbaldiston (Northland Regional Council) and Roger Ackers  (Far North District Council). The project team includes Jane Frances and Ben Pasco from Aqua Intel Aotearoa, and Chris Worts from GNS Science.

Helicopter flights will be subject to suitable weather conditions. Go to the Aqua Intel website to find out where flights will be conducted each day.

Find out more here or email [email protected]

Large greenhouse with blueberry plants.

Commercial blueberry growing operation in Aupouri.