SkyTEM completes aerial survey

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

SkyTEM completes aerial surveyAfter SkyTEM flew a route of nearly 800 kilometers over the Indian Wells Valley to collect data on our groundwater table, IWV Water District General Manager Don Zdeba is cautiously optimistic that the survey collected the input necessary to build a more comprehensive understanding of the depth, availability and quality of the water in our basin.

He said that with the exception of a few adjustments made to accommodate areas where the Navy had restricted access, SkyTEM was able to complete the planned flight paths. “I have to say I am pleased with the volume collected,” he said.

“When a flight line was reduced, we utilized that distance in another area of particular interest, decreasing the spacing between the lines.”

Historically, the water district and other stakeholders have gauged water availability based in the incomplete insight provided by well measurements.

The water district partnered with other stakeholders, including Coso Operating Company, Mojave Pistachios and Meadowbrook Farms, to hire SkyTEM to survey the areas between the El Paso and Argus mountain ranges in hopes of closing the data gaps.

Ultimately that information will be used to inform the sustainability plan mandated by the state.

Zdeba noted that Max Halkjaer of Ramboll, the consulting firm hired to compile and analyze the data, was on site to do a quality check of the data collected. “[He] confirmed it was good prior to allowing SkyTEM to pack up.”

The next step in the process is for the data to be digitized, Zdeba said. “I should have more information in the next few days as to the steps going forward toward development of the conceptual and hydrologic models and the timeframe involved.”

Pictured: SkyTEM pilots and

engineers collect an aerial scan of the Indian Wells Valley geography in hopes of getting a comprehensive understanding of our groundwater basin. -- Photo by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2017-11-17