It takes about 20 minutes to scan two hectares of land and a few hours to understand whether there are aquifers for agricultural use in a specific area. However, these are the waiting times needed for Hydro Hunter Italia, a company that carries out subsurface water research, to provide solutions to agricultural businesses which have been suffering from prolonged periods of drought and extreme heatwaves.
"For some people, these timeframes seem limited, for others, they seem excessive, but so far, innovative drones have, on the one hand, allowed many of our farmers to avoid unnecessary drilling, and on the other hand, in the luckiest cases, made it possible to save their crops suffering from water shortages. This is the comment of Vincenzo Orso, pilot of the fixed-wing, multi-rotor remotely piloted aircraft systems capable of providing immediate answers before drilling artesian wells.
The shortage of irrigation water, aggravated by climate change and mismanagement of water resources, is putting a strain on the agricultural sector, with disastrous consequences for the production of food and the economy. "The absence of significant rainfall over the course of the seasons threatens crops and forces farmers to cope with lower yields and a generally lower quality of their produce," continues the drone pilot. "Our customers, those located in an area served by inefficient water networks, tell us how complicated it is for them to irrigate their plants. At the same time, we discourage them from wasting money on random drilling. We have clients who are geographically diverse in terms of production areas, soil types, and crops, located mainly in Europe, Africa, and the Americas.
HydroHunter Italia provides free preliminary and exploratory geophysical analysis to all farms in order to assess the feasibility of finding underground water so as to limit the costs of any investment in drilling a well.