Drones deployed to manage water quality in Darling RiverDate: 2016 08 04
Drones and state-of-the-art survey technology have been deployed to monitor water quality following the first release of water into the lower Darling River since mid-December 2015.
Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Director Water Information and Insights, Christobel Ferguson, said the release of water into the Lower Darling River follows widespread rain over winter and will provide some short-term relief for landholders.
“The NSW Government is doing everything it can to ensure the quality of this precious water and make sure it goes as far as possible to help those landholders who have been doing it tough,” Dr Ferguson said.
“Approximately 20 of the 80 properties downstream of the Menindee Lakes system have started receiving increased flows with water expected to arrive at Pooncarie from about mid August.”
Dr Ferguson said this is the first time state-of-the-art drones have been used to capture water data in the Lower Darling, which will be utilised to inform both Government and landholders about water conditions.
“This innovative system will allow for raw data to be captured and geo-referenced to maps and plans, to ensure the best outcomes possible for the riverine environment and water users,” Dr Ferguson said.
“The use of a drone and helicopter to capture the data has begun and will extend from Weir 32 at Menindee Lakes downstream to approximately the Burtundy block bank.
“The maiden flight included the top section of the river near Menindee Weir and Lake Wetherill, where water samples were collected which will inform river operations over coming weeks.
“The helicopter will be operating along the Lower Darling River in relation to the progress of the flows over the next fortnight.”
DPI Water is undertaking various water sampling activities along the Lower Darling River coinciding with the release of an estimated 35,000 megalitres of water from Menindee Lakes.
Water quality samples will be collected over the coming weeks and the raw data for several of the parameters tested will be made available to downstream landholders the following day where possible.
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