India is looking for new ways to improve its water management. Under a new pilot project launched by the federal Ministry of Water Resources, aquifers across six areas will be mapped using aerial technology, according to the Economic Times.

The National Project on Aquifer Management will be carried out in partnership with the Central Ground Water Board and National Geophysical Research Institute, with funding provided by the World Bank, the newspaper said. The pilot is expected to be completed in May next year and will then roll out as a larger project that covers the entire territory of the country. The pilot will encompass Dausa, Rajasthan; Chandrabhaga, Nagpur; Tumkur, Karnataka; Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu; Ramgarh, Jaisalmer; and Patna, Bihar.

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Specially equipped choppers will be used to detect groundwater bodies, which will be added to a three-dimensional map that will allow authorities to develop plans for water extraction. The choppers are fitted with a Danish technology called Skytem, and fly close to the ground and at a relatively low speed so that magnetic field measurements can be taken. These can show how much groundwater there is in an aquifer and how deep it is.

Although India has enough water to meet its freshwater needs, distribution is quite uneven and a detailed aquifer map will allow for a more efficient management of resources, according to a ministry official quoted by the Economic Times.