Drilling a well is expensive and requires specialized equipment, particularly if you need a deep well. The problem with well drilling is that you have to pay for it whether or not the well you drill results in a dry well. To combat this there is technology that water surveyors use to determine the probability of water being found in any given location, the technology is known as the seismoelectric, or electroseismic method.

How it works

Surveyors utilize seismic waves to create electromagnetic fields in rocks and soils. It is perfect for detecting water indicators, which include hydraulic conductivity and permeability. Essentially, the technology is about finding evidence that can only mean one thing: water. If there is no such evidence present in a location, then it’s safe to assume you won’t find any water. Think of it as a practice of reasonability. If you are walking in the woods and hear a bird singing, it’s reasonable to assume there is a bird nearby – even if you can’t see it. It’s the same principal used by water surveyors.

The technology

It’s likely you’ve seen this sort of technology used in film before, and depending on the rig in use, you may be familiar with different methods. One way to create the seismic waves is to bore a hole and drop a small explosive charge into the hole. Once the charge is detonated, ground electrodes and antenna are used to capture an image and record data provided by the resulting seismic waves. There are different methods to generate readable waves. American Water Surveyors uses two different seismic sources to collect data.

The most accurate readings are obtained from completing the above mentioned processes repeatedly, which is known as ‘stacking’ data. Like taking the same picture of the same thing repeatedly, because it isn’t clear, and then stacking those photos on top of each other to help solidify some sort of image (providing you could take translucent photographs).


High voltage power sources can interfere with readings. Using this method near power lines or a similar source, could result in inaccuracies. The method is also only effective for taking readings up to 1500 feet in depth.


As this technology continues to develop, surveyors are able to create 2D models of what is under the ground. It is now capturing the size and location of aquifers, and at what depth they are sitting. This tech is a lifesaver for those who rely on wells, and it’s a necessary part of digging a well.

It’s important that you do the necessary reconnaissance work to determine where and if you should dig a well. It’s as much about protecting your own financial resources as it is about time management. Contact us, American Water Surveyors, before you make arrangements to drill. Don’t waste your time with a hit-and-miss strategy. Call us at 817-788-5716 or email us at info@wefindwater.com