Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Smarter water testing for Avon River

New smart sensors will measure water quality every 15 minutes at four sites along the Ōtākaro Avon River, Christchurch City Council has announced.

Monitoring sites have been set up in Riccarton Drain, Addington Brook, Dudley Creek and near Gloucester Street and will test for a range of water health indicators in real-time, the Council said. 

Smart Christchurch has teamed up with Spark IoT and specialist environmental monitoring company Adroit to install the sensors, which will enable Council to respond more quickly to contamination events.  

Each station is powered by its own solar panel and takes water measurements every 15 minutes. The data is then uploaded to the Adroit Cloud platform via the Spark Cat-M1 network.  

The Council already monitors river water quality, but this has largely been done through monthly grab sampling from 47 sites across the city – 13 of which are located on the Ōtākaro-Avon River. 

“There is currently up to a two-week delay in between taking manual samples, testing them and responding,” says the Council Smart Christchurch Manager, Michael Healy.  

“What we’re hoping to see from the introduction of Adroit Water Quality Monitoring is the ability to see pollution events unfold in real-time and potentially take preventative action.” 

Urban streams and stormwater networks experience particularly variable water quality due to rapid run-off from roads and paved surfaces after rain.  

“We were looking for a continuous water quality monitoring solution that allows for the capture and identification of water quality variation that might otherwise be missed,” says Mr Healy.  

“In the longer-term, as we do more riparian planting and other initiatives to enhance the waterway, we can track the efficacy of those measures and see how we’re doing with the health of our rivers. 

“Our goal is to help restore a healthy waterway that provides a place for the whole community to swim, fish and enjoy the environment.” 

Both processes will run in parallel initially, to enable the Council to measure the effectiveness of the new real-time sensors in comparison to manual testing.  

“Sustainability is front of mind for a lot of people at the moment, so it’s very pleasing to work on a project like this, that can really make a difference,” says Spark IoT lead, Michele Wong.

“By effectively monitoring the river, water quality can be improved, allowing the Christchurch community to enjoy our waterways as they were intended.” 

The community can check the water quality on SmartView.

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