He has been looking for water, without drilling, in to different corners of the world, Southeast Asian Laos, the Swedish island of Gotland and in Luleå, town in northernmost parts of Sweden. 20% of the world's population lacks clean drinking water, which attracted researchers at Luleå University of Technology to test and develop cheaper and more effective ways to find clean water
- In Laos, we have developed a method to distinguish aquifers with fresh water from salt contaminated water and clays and thus able to increase the success rate of drilling, says Nils Perttu, PhD at Luleå University recently submitted a doctoral thesis on the subject.
He conducts his research, among other things, given that much of the world's population lacks clean drinking water and that millions of people, especially children, the sick and elderly die each year due to waterborne diseases. These are spread primarily through shallow wells and surface water. At greater depths, filtered and purified natural groundwater when it is filtered through the soil layers. But to drill deep to find large volumes of clean water is expensive and uncertain.
Traditional geophysical methods have long been used to locate ground water but is only indirectly sensitive to water. Therefore, it is easy to misinterpret a clay layer with low permeability to water of a porous water-bearing layer of sand. Therefore, Nils Perttu in its field trials in Laos, Gotland and in Luleå tested a new technique called Magnetic Resonance Sounding (MRS). Like an MRI of a human being in the hospital, where detailed cross sectional images is determined by the body's inner layers MRS soil layers after its water content and permeability to a depth of 100-150 meters.
- In the future, with an increased need for fresh water, and an increase in climate-related water problems, the MRS to play an important role in finding new, but also manage existing groundwater reservoirs, says Nils Perttu.
Nils Perttu has also made measurements along the ice road to Hindersö island in the archipelago of Luleå, and also initiated measurements of Luleå municipal groundwater supply in Gäddvik to optimize the city's water supply. In the limestone-rich island of Gotland, where a quarter of the groundwater is contaminated by pesticides from agricultural sources, his research has mainly focused on using MRS to locate water in cracks and holes and how they are interconnected.