Innovation leads to accolade

Groundwater Technology geological engineer James Nicholson and manager Lucie Nicholson holding their award. Photo: Stefan Bradley

Stefan Bradley

A SALE-based couple who help landowners find water using geophysical techniques have received an award at Farm World 2022 for their company Groundwater Technology.

Farm World is an annual regional agricultural and farming show which took place at Lardner Park from March 24 to March 27, where Groundwater Technology manager Lucie Nicolson and her husband, geological engineer James Nicholson, earned the award in the category of Best Technology and Innovation Exhibit.

James said the win was fantastic as there were about 650 other exhibitors and Groundwater Technology had only been a business for one year.

“This is the first time we’ve been to Farm World as a business, so to win when there were other serious contenders in the agriculture sector and to be recognised as one of the most innovative technology businesses in the space is the best feeling,” James said.

“It’s good to win this category because it gets people in front of new ways of thinking, and the reason we started the business is because we recognised the need for technology to help farmers with bore placement.”

Lucie said the business idea formed when the couple were working for a water boring company in Queensland.

“We watched them drill a number of dry bores,” Lucie said.

“It is not the drillers fault if a bore is dry, it’s just how it is. What we aim to do is help both farmer and driller achieve a better result. It’s in the drillers interests for as many bores as possible to be a success.”

James said the lesson he learnt from his time in the oil and gas industry is that exploration from a drill bit is not cheap.

“It’s very expensive to use a drill bit to find water, so I looked around for a suitable technology to assist with groundwater identification, and we selected one with a low footprint,” James said.

The technology is called seismoelectric, and the company sells the service – the seismoelectric survey.

The seismoelectric method is a geophysical technique which uses seismic energy (sound waves) to generate an electromagnetic field in water bearing zones underground. This allows Groundwater Technology to identify the presence of water, its depth and its potential yield.

“There are areas where there are no bores at all because drillers believe there is no water, or they don’t think it’s worth it to do drill test bores,” Lucie said.

“We can get a reading in half an hour. That would take a driller the best part of a day, or longer.”

“When they come to drill, we want to make sure they are in the right place,” James said.

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Groundwater Technology geological engineer James Nicholson (left) and manager Lucie Nicholson at Farm World. Photo: contributed