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Dowsers in demand in drought-hit California


Posted on Sunday, 26 July, 2015 | Comment icon 26 comments

Dowsing has been practiced for hundreds of years. Image Credit: Imperial War Museum
Farmers have been turning to 'water witches' to help them find water during the state's driest periods.
The demand for dowsing, the age-old practice of using either a forked stick or two metal rods to locate hidden resources under the ground, has been on the rise lately, mostly due to the extreme droughts to have hit parts of the United States and the desperation of the people affected by them.

Dowsing is thought to have originated in 15th century Germany where it was first used to find precious metals however it soon became synonymous with the hunt for hidden sources of water.

While scientists these days tend to shun the practice as nothing more than pseudoscience, dowsing is still proving popular - especially in the worst hit regions of California where some farmers have come to rely on the efforts of dowsers to locate water for their crops.

"Itís an energy of some sort... like how some people can run a Ouija board," said Marc Mondavi, a wine merchant who discovered that he had the ability to dowse when he was only 17.

"You either have it or you donít. You canít learn how to get it, but if you do have it, you have to learn how to use it. It took me years to get my confidence. At first, you are a bit leery of telling someone they have to go dig a $50k hole. What if nothing is there? But over time, I learned to trust."

While there seems little doubt that dowsers can and do find sources of hidden water, scientists have long called in to question the exact process through which they manage to achieve it.

One of the main criticisms is the fact that anyone with even basic skills can find groundwater.

"Groundwater occurs virtually everywhere at some depth beneath the surface of the earth, so regardless of where you drill, you will virtually always hit the water table at some depth," said hydrologist Graham Fogg from the University of California.

Nonetheless, with dowsing still proving surprisingly effective in a region decimated by ongoing drought it is very unlikely that this age-old practice is going to be disappearing anytime soon.

Source: Yahoo! News | Comments (26)

Tags: Dowsing, California

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #17 Posted by pallidin on 27 July, 2015, 15:28
you sounds like someone who have something against it, im sure you did a lot of research and tests There is zero scientific evidence or rationale that dowsing-rods work. Well, unless you carve them out of rhino horns.
Comment icon #18 Posted by goodgodno on 27 July, 2015, 21:43
Doesn't take much research to find many experiments that have shown that dowsing is no more reliable than chance.. In many places it is not that difficult to find enough water for a private water well, especially if you are drilling into a homogenous aquifer such as sand and gravel aquifers or palaeochannels. If you are drilling towards the valley bottom, your chances are good. The trick is finding water in hard-rock aquifers where you need to target specific fracture or fault zones.
Comment icon #19 Posted by DieChecker on 27 July, 2015, 21:52
I did read that the aquifers are contaminated with fracking water, but not due to the fracking, but because the water was recycled from the fracking and put back into the groundwater aquifers. http://www.rt.com/usa/194620-california-aquifers-fracking-contamination/ I do agree that from what I've read that well drilling experts often say that dowsers are not any more accurate then a half trained geologist might be. I think the water witches with good results simply know in what kind of area to start with, and then really given +/- 100 yards (or whatever) it really doesn't matter where the well ... [More]
Comment icon #20 Posted by Likely Guy on 28 July, 2015, 2:50
There used to be an old guy in town who claimed he could dowse for gold from a helicopter. We all figured that he just liked helicopter rides.
Comment icon #21 Posted by Father Merrin on 22 August, 2015, 23:10
We were taught various methods of "dowsing" in survival training in the special forces, it's very much down to the individual, some of us were completely useless (me included) some were hit and miss and managed to identify the odd water pipe, but there was one guy who could really do it, 100% accuracy, you could burry a bottle of water in the sand and he would never miss it! I guess some are more sensitive than others, as to how it works i have no idea, im a huge sceptic when it comes to this type of thing which is maybe why i cant do it.....maybe you have to believe
Comment icon #22 Posted by bmk1245 on 23 August, 2015, 9:24
We were taught various methods of "dowsing" in survival training in the special forces, it's very much down to the individual, some of us were completely useless (me included) some were hit and miss and managed to identify the odd water pipe, but there was one guy who could really do it, 100% accuracy, you could burry a bottle of water in the sand and he would never miss it! I guess some are more sensitive than others, as to how it works i have no idea, im a huge sceptic when it comes to this type of thing which is maybe why i cant do it.....maybe you have to believe Well, he is more observant... [More]
Comment icon #23 Posted by Br Cornelius on 23 August, 2015, 10:44
Its probably not an answer for California, but experience from India shows that replanting trees on the uplands and coasts can have a significant impact on groundwater. There is a strip of forest in the south of India which runs down the coast and was peace-meal clear-felled over the last century. This turned the whole area into a barren desert with aquifers down by 10 meters or more. A bunch of hippies bought up a tract of this worthless desert and started making swales and planted trees along them in order to restore the native forest. In less than a decade the water table had risen by at le... [More]
Comment icon #24 Posted by regeneratia on 28 August, 2015, 2:05
you know, that is really strange that climate chnage people do NOT go about planting trees everywhere. Trees along a power plant lessens the pollution around the area. Do you see them doing anything with that knowledge? I have not, and I watch. The ogallala aquifer is said to be seriously depleted. Strangely the ones that are boohooing about it are the corn farmers, ... those who admit that they make maybe a cent a bushel of corn. I asked them WHY CORN? My dad was a master farmer of a abnormally large family farm and he never ever grew corn. He said that it was too expensive to grow corn. Iron... [More]
Comment icon #25 Posted by regeneratia on 15 September, 2015, 12:00
What a scam. Always was. It seems to be until you take hold of a witching branch or dowsing rods. Then it becaoomes something else. I don't scoff that the earth has energies coming up from it, moving thru it. Heck, even scientists are measuring the particles traveling thru the earth. The earth has energies. The sun has energies. Space has energies. There are more energies out there than we presently know how to measure.
Comment icon #26 Posted by Doug1o29 on 15 September, 2015, 13:32
There is zero scientific evidence or rationale that dowsing-rods work. I have seen dowsing done. Results were inconclusive. The dowser decided that there was an arc-shaped underground stream flowing near the proposed well site. The homeowner picked a different spot and got water anyway. I have tried it, but the results didn't make a believer out of me. I suspect I would have found water everywhere in the area. When the State of Ohio built I-90, near the Pennsylvania line they built two rest areas, complete with bathrooms, paved drives, parking areas and landscaping. Then they drilled for water... [More]


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