My Dad (1910-1996) was a popular local dowser for wells (and mineral propector too).
For dowsing Dad always used willow sticks, willow being an indicator species of high ground water and thus having an affinity for such conditions in dowser's theory.
I have an undergrad degree in forest science and could have filed for soil science degree if had gone on 6 weeks soil summer field course rather than 10 week forestry field course.
Often argued with my Dad that his water "dowsing" was just from the self-evident knowledge in his life experience as I could do the exact same thing by looking at subtle changes in vegetation, soil, and landscape morphology and didn't need sticks but a shovel was helpful One might have a field in rolling hill suitable for farming, home, or other development requiring a well. The obvious, if present, best place to put a well is going to be in an area with the mottled look of the soil B horizon that results from anerobic soil micro-organisms and evidence of a high water table.
Had a huge head start over other students at undergrad university (UC Berkeley 70s) because had grown up mining, farming, roadbuilding, logging, mineral prospecting, and fly fishing (quit hunting age 17 during Vietnam) with my 8th grade educated Dad. Reading wildland was like breathing from my youth experience with Dad but learned how to talk to other scientists, greatly broadened vision, etc. in university.