Advancing the use of geophysical methods for sustainable groundwater management

Virtual Near Surface Global Lecturer 2019

Rosemary Knight

Center for Groundwater Evaluation and Management Dept. of Geophysics
Stanford University, California, USA


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Throughout the world, there is growing recognition of the need for the sustainable management of our groundwater resources. Sustainable management commonly builds on the development of a groundwater model, which can be used to predict and assess the impacts of changing conditions (e.g. climate, land use) and changing water demands on the groundwater system. The critical challenge is acquiring the data required to both develop an accurate groundwater model and to monitor changes in the groundwater system. Over the past decade, in collaboration with water agencies and with other scientists in academia and the private sector, we have advanced the use of borehole, surface, airborne and satellite geophysical methods to map and monitor groundwater systems at scales ranging from sub-meter to tens of kilometers. Examples include the use of interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data to monitor changing water levels; the use of an airborne electromagnetic (AEM) method and electrical resistivity tomography to map the architecture of groundwater systems and coastal saltwater intrusion; and the integration of InSAR and AEM data to predict subsurface properties. These examples demonstrate the significant role that geophysical methods can play, and should play, in the sustainable management of our groundwater resources.


Rosemary Knight

Rosemary Knight has worked for more than 30 years on the challenge of using geophysical methods to image groundwater systems. Her research ranges from carefully controlled laboratory experiments to large-scale field experiments, all designed to explore new ways of remotely imaging hydrologic properties and processes. In 2008, Knight founded the Center for Groundwater Evaluation and Management, with the vision of advancing and promoting the use of geophysical methods through the development of partnerships - with real people, in the real world, with real problems. Knight has been active within the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, serving as Second Vice-President and Distinguished Lecturer, and within the American Geophysical Union, serving as the founding Chair of the Near-Surface Geophysics Focus Group, and as Associate Editor for Water Resources Research and the Journal of Geophysical Research. Current and past students and post-doctoral scientists within her research group all share her commitment to finding new ways to use geophysical methods to support the sustainable management of our groundwater resources.

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