Exploration Signatures: Water Exploration in Venezuela

Science Center Objects

In 1995, Exploration Signatures (then the Geologic & Hydrologic Division of Earth Satellite Corporation) used Landsat ETM+ imagery to complete water exploration work in Venezuela’s Falcón State. The project was funded through a guarantee from the Export-Import Bank of the United States, administered by Harza Engineering Company, and performed for HidroFalcón C.A., the Venezuelan state water agency.

Authors: Larisa Serbina and Holly Miller

At the time, the large cities depended primarily on reservoirs for their potable water supply, while the rural areas trucked their water in from the cities and stored it in small household water tanks. The reservoirs had begun silting-in at a high rate, causing water quality and supply issues for the rapidly growing cities, and trucking water to the rural areas was costly.

Landsat image of Coro, Falcon area, Venezuela. Courtesy of Exploration Signatures.

Landsat image of Coro, Falcon area, Venezuela. Courtesy of Exploration Signatures.

Hydrolithologic unit map of the Coro, Falcon area, Venezuela, based upon analysis of the Landsat data. Courtesy of Exploration S

Hydrolithologic unit map of the Coro, Falcon area, Venezuela, based upon analysis of the Landsat data. Courtesy of Exploration Signatures.

Exploration Signatures used Landsat imagery to locate water well locations in fractured rock for the entire state of Falcón. Due to the positional accuracy and relatively high resolution of the Landsat data, the team was able to establish drilling locations adjacent to communities with high water demand and low water supply. Use of the Landsat data analysis coupled with microgravimetric, magnetometric, and electromagnetic geophysical surveys ensured a high rate of success when drilling (figs. 1, 2 and 3). After drilling at all of the sites, it was estimated that 10 percent more of the in-town population and 30 percent more of the rural population would receive potable water from the new groundwater wells. Without the availability and accuracy of the Landsat data, this project would have required several years of fieldwork and many additional resources to accomplish the necessary hydrologic and geologic mapping prior to drilling. The Landsat data saved both time and money and provided the precision required for successful drilling and increasing the water supply in the areas of high demand (Ronald Staskowski and John Everett, Exploration Signatures, oral commun. and written commun., 2013). 

 

Successful groundwater well at the Guaraba-Pedregal #2 drill site, Coro, Falcon area, Venezuela. Courtesy of Exploration Signatu

Successful groundwater well at the Guaraba-Pedregal #2 drill site, Coro, Falcon area, Venezuela. Courtesy of Exploration Signatures.