Finding Underwater Freshwater Springs (UAV)

Thanks to the innovative use of modern technology, sources of fresh water were located in a 100-metre-wide corridor off the coast of the Opatija Riviera — drones were used to survey and record the sea surface

Finding underwater freshwater springs can be a valuable solution for regions like Liburnia that struggle to supply enough drinking water, especially during peak tourist season.

Liburnijske vode (the local water supply company) has been undertaking various water survey activities for years in an attempt to find alternative sources of drinking water.
Using cutting-edge stabilised thermal imaging cameras, this project discovered 34 potential sources of drinking water within 100m of the coast along a 24-kilometre long stretch of coastline between Preluk and Mošćenička Draga.

Inovative Approach to Finding Underwater Freshwater Springs: Thermal Imaging on UAV

The survey was conducted during a dry, warm August to take advantage of greater water temperature differences.

The locations of all sources were precisely mapped and their volume and yield were recorded.

In order to confirm the ratio of salt to fresh water in real time and prove that this methodology is relevant for indicating the flow of fresh water into the sea, we used a mobile laboratory equipped with multi-parameter temperature and conductivity probes owned by the University of Rijeka’s Faculty of Civil Engineering.

This allowed us to simultaneously survey fourteen measuring points between Ičići and Mošćenička Draga..

Thermal imaging and vertical profiles of conductivity and temperature showed satisfactory overlap.

This is the first recorded use of drone-based thermal imaging to locate drinking water in coastal waters.

As this technology is mostly used to supervise plant facilities and construction, the innovative methodology of this project sets new standards in this type of research.

This important discovery has the potential to improve access to clean and safe drinking water for local communities and contribute to sustainable development in the area.

You can find all the purposes for which we used thermal imaging cameras on unmanned aerial vehicles among other prominent reference projects.