Helping break droughts in California

Helicopter carries a Skytem hexagonal frame

Helicopter carries a Skytem hexagonal frame


Max Halkjær

Global Service Line Leader, Water Resources Management
T: +45 5161 2960

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Ramboll has entered into a pioneering collaboration agreement with Stanford University in the US to develop Danish water technology solutions for California’s new groundwater programme. A major focus area is to map California’s groundwater with a combination of systematic helicopter missions and detailed mapping of the subsoil to manage groundwater resources in a more efficient and sustainable way.

In recent years, California has faced problems with pollution of the groundwater and decreasing groundwater levels due to long-lasting draught and a booming agricultural industry. Californian authorities have hence initiated a comprehensive groundwater program to manage groundwater resources in a more efficient and sustainable way.

A new project, which will run over the next twenty years, aims at adapting and developing Danish water technology solutions to address the Californian demand. Additionally, the project aims at collecting and bringing new knowledge to Denmark to help support the development of Danish water technology solutions.

“This is a very exciting project, which enables the Californian authorities to learn from Danish Expertise. It also gives the Danish authorities, universities and companies a great possibility to further develop methods, technology and knowhow within this area,” says Max Halkjær, Groundwater Expert in Ramboll.

Systematic helicopter overflights

The project is a collaboration between Stanford University’s School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth) and Aarhus University alongside the American company Aqua Geo Frameworks, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency and, besides Ramboll, the companies I-GIS and SkyTEM Surveys

One of the project’s focus areas is to map the Californian groundwater. Through a combination of systematic helicopter overflights and detailed mapping of the underground, Danish solutions will help develop a specific mapping model for California’s groundwater program. 

To ensure the most efficient conditions for the establishment of the project, it has secured financial support from The Environmental Technological Development and Demonstration Program (MUDP). MUDP has allocated DDK 4 mill to support the part of the project that can give Danish companies a technological lead on the global market.


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