Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Saturday, July 17, 2021
Two Rods and a ‘Sixth Sense’: In Drought, Water Witches are Swamped
CALISTOGA, Calif. — In a vineyard flanked by scorched hills and charcoal trees, Rob Thompson gripped two stainless steel rods, began rotating in a circle and counted under his breath.
Then he said he had found it — water, hundreds of feet beneath the parched ground.
“This is really good,” said Mr. Thompson, 53, scratching an ‘X’ into the ashen soil with his shoe. “This is a deep one: 750 feet, 55 to 60 gallons a minute.” He added, “This one I can feel.”
Mr. Thompson is a water witch.
He claims that he can locate streams of water in the fractures in the earth’s bedrock, using two L-shaped rods that together resemble an old-fashioned television antenna. Amid California’s extreme drought, just a two-hour drive north of the nation’s technology capital of Silicon Valley, the water-seeking services of a man relying on two three-foot rods and a hunch are in demand.
...The mystical technique of locating new groundwater sources is thought to have first come into vogue in Europe in the Middle Ages. The method is known as dowsing or divining, or even doodlebugging, and those who practice it are called water dowsers or water witches — a phrase that may have originated from the practice being deemed witchcraft in the 17th century.