Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Actually, it's both
Released 05 Aug 2009
If you're wondering why a strange-looking plane is flying so low to the ground east of Geraldton next week, the Department of Water has the answer.
A geophysical survey for the Department will make use of airborne technology to collect scientific data which will then be used to map and install monitoring bores in the second half of this year.
The survey, to be undertaken by Fugro Airborne Services, involves the collection of subsurface information via a fixed-loop transmitter that is fitted around the length of the aircraft. The technology also features a 'towed-bird' receiver that is attached behind the plane on a cable.
Department of Water Mid-West Gascoyne Regional Manager, Hamid Mohsenzadeh, said local people should be aware that the low-flying aircraft in the area will be conducting comprehensive research, beginning next week.
"As of next Monday, the Department of Water is undertaking investigations between the Greenough River and Irwin River across an area of around 2000 square kilometres some 50km east of Geraldton," said Mr Mohsenzadeh.
"The equipment detects sub-surface beds of sand that could be aquifers as well as waterrepelling clay beds, through electromagnetic measurements of the ground.
"We'd like to remind people that the aircraft flies about 100 meters above the ground, with the receiver positioned in flight approximately 20 metres below the plane's hull. It won't affect anyone's day-to-day activities, but being that low to the ground, there may be some noise along its flight path."
Mr Mohsenzadeh said that a comprehensive understanding of groundwater resources is vital to ensure increasing demands can be met in a sustainable way, and to determine how to best manage water and land-use practices in the area.
"This project is part of the State Groundwater Investigation Program and it means that for the first time we can gain a comprehensive understanding of conditions in the northern-most extent of the groundwater region. Nothing on this scale has been done in the area before," he said.
"The State Groundwater Investigation Program was one of the first major initiatives for the Department of Water and gives us an important opportunity to monitor changes in aquifer levels and water quality.
"The Government is spending $9 million over the next four years on groundwater investigation throughout the Perth Basin, which is a measure of the significance placed on our groundwater systems," said Mr Mohsenzadeh.
Contact: Peter Collins
Phone: (08) 6364 6848 / 0434 603 441