Dowsers Help Californian Farmers Find Water

With California dealing with a drought crisis, farmers throughout the state are turning to a mysterious tool for locating underground water — dowsers, also known as water witches.

Credit: hardworkinghippy via Flickr

Credit: hardworkinghippy via Flickr

Dowsers use copper sticks or wooden “divining rods” that resemble large wishbones, to hone in on natural energy to locate water or minerals hidden deep underground. While both state and federal water scientists disapprove of dowsing, California “witchers” are busy as farmers seek to drill more groundwater wells due to the state’s record drought that persists despite recent rain.

Shows a divining rod - Credit: Glen Bowman vai Flickr

Shows a divining rod – Credit: Glen Bowman vai Flickr

It’s kind of bizarre. Scientists don’t believe in it, but I do and most of the farmers in the Valley do,” said Marc Mondavi, a vineyard owner whose family has been growing grapes and making wine since the mid-20th century in the Napa Valley.

Credit: veritatem via Flickr

Credit: veritatem via Flickr

Dowsing has not held up well under scientific scrutiny, the U.S. Geological Survey said, adding that dowsers are often successful in areas where groundwater is abundant. “The natural explanation of ‘successful’ water dowsing is that in many areas water would be hard to miss. The dowser commonly implies that the spot indicated by the rod is the only one where water could be found, but this is not necessarily true,” the survey said in its report.

What do you think? Is science missing something? Let us know in the comments!


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The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team

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Post based on article by Jason Dearen, The Associated Press



This entry was posted in Drought, General.