Lincoln Agritech is leading a five-year Critical Pathways Programme (CPP) a research programme funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)
Responding to a well-recognised knowledge gap, it aims to elucidate the relatively shallow and short pathways operating at the sub-catchment scale, and to represent them in water flow and contaminant transfer models.
Lincoln Agritech is collaborating with the Hydrogeophysics Group at Aarhus University (Denmark), who has developed the SkyTEM system. This partnership has enabled us to optimise the SkyTEM set-up specifically for our focus on the shallow subsurface environment (upper 20m below the ground surface).
Two contrasting Waikato catchments, the Waiotapu Stream catchment (approx. 300 km2) and the Piako River headwater catchment (approx. 100 km2) were surveyed using SkyTEM, which took only seven flight days to complete. Using parallel flight paths (200 m apart) enabled us to get high-resolution data across the entire catchment areas. This starkly contrasts with the conventional approach that uses a limited number of point-scale lithology data (colour, texture, and composition) from the installation of groundwater bores.
Lincoln Agritech’s environmental research team will lead the analysis of the ‘big data’ generated by the flights and provide colleague Scott Wilson with hydrogeophysical units for the realistic modelling of sub-catchment scale water flows and contaminant transfers. The research programme started in October 2018 and runs till October 2023.