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Eliminating Water Resource Management Guesswork

Geophysics Solutions for 

Confident Decision-Making

Water is at the heart of every community, industry, and ecosystem. Effective water resource management ensures sustainable access to clean water, minimises environmental impacts, and supports infrastructure development. Geophysicists, hydrogeologists, and environmental consultants play a crucial role in these efforts, using geophysical software to guide informed decision-making.

How else can geophysics be used to locate and manage groundwater? 

Geophysics demonstrates remarkable versatility, extending its applications well beyond groundwater mapping. It plays a pivotal role in various aspects of water resource management, including environmental impact assessments, identifying contamination plumes, evaluating aquifer properties, monitoring groundwater flow dynamics, and providing critical support for infrastructure development projects. These multifaceted contributions collectively contribute to pursuing sustainable and effective water resource management practices.

Process and interpret electromagnetic and resistivity survey data


Refine your workflow from raw data to geophysical models and present results confidently with AGS Workbench.

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Map subsurface resistivity distributions in 2 and 3 dimensions, with precision, in just a few clicks with AGS Res2DInv and Res3DInv.


Electric Resistivity Tomography (ERT) & Induced Polarization (IP)

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We’ll spend a couple of days in the field running surveys, gathering the information, and putting the data into Res2DInv. This means that most of the time, we already know there is a water-bearing formation before we even start to drill. Or we know not to waste money drilling because there’s saltwater intrusion and it’s obvious in the results. It just works."

Chris Hough, Fleet Manager, Living Water International

Mapping groundwater

Groundwater aquifers are mapped through a combination of traditional drilling techniques, monitoring wells, and advanced geophysical approaches. These methods entail gathering information on subsurface properties, such as rock and soil conductivity and water content, to help identify the presence, and potentially the characteristics, of groundwater.

Modern groundwater exploration adopts an interdisciplinary approach that comprehensively analyses all available geological and geophysical data. The methods commonly used for groundwater prospecting are electromagnetic sounding (EM),  Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT), and to a lesser extent Induced Polarization (IP) surveys. These techniques are pivotal in accurately identifying and characterising geological structures and aquifers. The data minimises the need for costly and environmentally impactful exploratory drilling while providing critical information for well placement and sustainable groundwater management. Geophysics also plays a role in continuous groundwater flow monitoring and environmental impact assessment, contributing to effective and responsible water resource utilisation.

What geophysical methods are used in groundwater exploration?

Geophysical methods offer distinct advantages in groundwater exploration, particularly due to their non-invasive nature. ERT provides high-resolution subsurface resistivity information, aiding in identifying water-bearing zones and mapping geological features. EM surveys can cover large survey areas, especially when using airborne systems, making them ideal for mapping subsurface conductivity variations in diverse environments, where access is limited. IP comes into play when investigating the chargeability of subsurface materials, a valuable tool for identifying geological structures that influence groundwater movement. Meanwhile, gravity and magnetic surveys, sensitive to subsurface density and magnetic anomalies, respectively, are instrumental in identifying structural features that may impact groundwater pathways. The choice of method depends on the specific project goals and the geological context, ensuring the most effective and efficient groundwater exploration strategy.

What are the biggest challenges when using geophysics to locate groundwater?

The main challenges in using geophysics for groundwater exploration stem from the complexity of subsurface conditions. Geological variations, aquifer depth, and lithological layers with slightly varying conductivity and porosity are some of the central challenges. Data influenced by cultural noise, for example, can hinder the accuracy of interpretations. Addressing these issues requires advanced data processing, accurate inversion modelling, and a thorough understanding of the local geological context. Practical constraints, such as equipment access, resource availability, and budget limitations, can impact the feasibility and scope of geophysical surveys, necessitating careful planning and assessment.



Learn about data processing and inversion in Res2DInv with lead developer Kenni Dinensen Petersen.

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Discover how Towed Transient Electromagnetic Technology (tTEM) is enhancing water access in developing countries.

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Access a comprehensive collection of resources on EM and ERT/IP surveys to deepen your understanding of geophysical methods.

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How can geophysical software help groundwater discovery?

Geophysical software is a crucial tool for addressing the complexities of groundwater exploration. It specializes in processing and organizing complex geophysical data, making it easier to understand and generate plausible geological models. It streamlines the entire workflow of processing data and creating geophysical models – which can act as input for geological interpretation and hydrogeological modelling. In essence, geophysics software acts as a bridge, connecting intricate subsurface data to practical insights, empowering geoscientists to make informed decisions, and greatly enhancing groundwater discovery.

See what's new in Workbench 6.9, including advanced filters and improved data integration features.

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On-demand Webinar

Watch this free webinar designed for hydrogeologists, environmental engineers, geologists, and geophysicists that introduce you to Seequent's groundwater exploration solutions.

During the webinar, you’ll learn about Seequent’s vision for sustainable groundwater management and the role of our solutions. Discover how these tools can streamline your groundwater projects, from pinpointing potential aquifer locations to conducting thorough contamination assessments.

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