Georadar technology can be used to map and to determine the depth of water tables. Even without rain water, water can be provided for crops, if the roots come into contact with the water table zone. Georadar (GPR, Ground Penetrating Radar) is used as a non-destructive technique for low-depth subsoil investigation, which produces excellent results in terms of soil profile mapping. It consists of an electromagnetic waves unit and a second digital recording system unit. Wave reflection time delays and wave speed in the material containing the antennae, are used to deduce the depth at which the reflector unit (pipe) is located. The georadar generates a subsoil image with high lateral and vertical resolution which not only identifies specific objects, but also characterizes the area.
The depth of penetration and the resolution depend on which type of antenna is used. In high-resolution urban areas shielded antennas are used, because they are better equipped to control noise and air reflections with high-quality imaging and a depth range of up to 10 m.
Estudio G&D uses existing technology in a new context. The innovation is the compact, small-scale technology, which makes it easy to transport. Thus big areas can be analyzed without costly and labor-intensive drillings. Deeper soil and ground water levels can also be detected.
The problem of water shortage in developing regions does not only affect clean drinking water. Water consumption of households and businesses only constitutes one fifth of the entire water use – the lion’s share is used on the production of food. The usage of groundwater is frequently inefficient and a key question for food security is therefore how efficiency can be increased. Due to climate change processes, such as longer drought periods or heavy rains, it has become increasingly important to know about the basics of farming.
The Georadar can boost crop yields at locations with underground water tables. When the location and distribution of water tables are known, hybrids and fertilizers can be selected according to the amount of water which is available. Thereby, crop yields are maximized and the water is used more efficiently. There is no need for a destructive technique for low-depth subsoil investigation. Crops can be grown regardless of the climate situation and can secure an economically profitable output. Knowledge about water retention capacities or groundwater can help to provide water for crops independently of precipitation, because the roots of the crops can draw water from the water table zone. Such improvement of ground water use will help farmers to make their operation more stable. This knowledge could also give useful information for soil preparation, e.g. quantifying supply of soil conditioner in form of compost, adapted fertilizer utilization etc. Due to the relatively high purchase costs, the service should be provided on the regional or local (village, cooperatives) levels, or by big farms.
Components: 1 electromagnetic waves unit, 1 digital recording system unit
Depth of penetration/ resolution: Up to10 metres using antenna with frequencies between 10 MHz and 1,000Mhz
Result of investigation: Subsoil image with high lateral and vertical resolution that characterizes the soil
Costs: 60,000 USD including GPR, antenna and software for processing information, battery cables and training manuals for their operation.
South America: Argentina
Organization: Estudio G&D - Argentina
Contact: Mariano Delbuono
Used by: Argentina
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