The Nasca Lines are located in the Peruvian desert, about 200 miles south of Lima. The assortment of perfectly-straight lines lies in an area measuring 37 miles long and 1-mile wide.
The Nasca plain is one of the driest places on Earth, getting less than one inch of rain a year. So, when Johnson started his research in 1995, he became aware of the scarcity of water in the region and the effect that this had on agricultural production and the quality of life.
While looking for sources of water, he noticed that ancient aqueducts, called puquios, seemed to be connected with some of the lines.
The expert said that a high percentage of potable water of the mountain chain moves through underground filtrations and that the pre-Hispanic population knew perfectly the cartography of water.
He said that lines like the ones in Nasca would be “a language to communicate where underground wells and aqueducts are located”.
Johnson gave each figure a meaning: the trapezoids always point to a well. The circles to a place where the fountain is located. And the complex figures as well. For example, the hummingbird points to a giant well with its beak.
Field works along 1,700 kilometers of the Peruvian and Chilean coast, including very ancient civilizations such as Caral and Arica, support the theory that "way to communicate" would be a common practice among all pre-Hispanic cultures.
The Nasca Lines, which have been the focus of debate for over 70 years, consist of giant geometric forms (triangles, trapezoids, parallel lines) as well as biomorphs (birds, plants, and mammals) etched into the surface of the desert of southern Peru, especially in the drainage of the Rio Grande de Nasca.
Johnson has been researching these ground drawings since the 1990s, publishing some books about his theory. Some of them are: "The Relationship Between the Lines of Nasca and Water Resources," 1997. "The water lines of Nasca," 1998, "The Correlation Between the Lines of Nasca and Subterranean Water Resources," 1999.
In 2002, together with Donald Proulx and Stephen Mabee, he wrote "The Correlation Between Geoglyphs and Subterranean Water Resources in the Río Grande de Nazca Drainage."