STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma State University professor has received a major award for his research to find fresh groundwater around the globe.

Dr. Todd Halihan is a professor in the Boone Pickens School of Geology at Oklahoma State University.

He has spent his time developing a new way of finding fresh water underground.

“In the environmental industry, the go-to approach is to drill until you figure out an answer. This has repeatedly been proven to be ineffective,” Halihan said. “I focused my work on ‘scan first, then drill’ approaches.”

He explained that if you are looking for clean water or to clean up a contaminated site, his technology pinpoints exactly where you need to drill.

“With more than 98% of our available freshwater in the ground, groundwater has to be the focus of our efforts if you are going to sustain humanity,” Halihan said. “Most people only think about the water that they see, which leads to bad outcomes. Citizens and their leaders need to demand investment in groundwater rather than surface water as those projects tend to be expensive and counterproductive.”

Recently, Halihan received the Charles V. Theis Award from the American Institute of Hydrology for his research.

“This award is the highest groundwater research award presented by the AIH and is similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but for groundwater research,” Halihan said. “Clean water has provided the biggest difference in human health over any other achievement and should be celebrated.”

“The respect and recognition that Todd is receiving from his peers in the hydrogeology community speaks to his position as a thought leader in the industry, his well-respected research, the quality of the students he educates and sends into the workforce, and his commitment to the mission of a land-grant university like Oklahoma State,” said Patty Walker, OSU geology alumna and retired chief geoscientist for ExxonMobil.