New monitoring equipment, which has been designed to pump water samples from the Richmond River to a permanent location, is allowing real-time observation of the river’s water quality.
The project is a collaboration between Rous County Council, Southern Cross University and the New South Wales Department of Planning, Infrastructure and Environment (DPIE) has seen the development and installation of unique water quality logging systems to monitor water quality.
A series of eight sites throughout the Richmond River estuary have been established including; Bungawalbyn Creek, Rocky Mouth Creek, Wardell, Woodburn, Tuckean Swamp, and North Creek.
Professor from Southern Cross University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering, Damien Maher, said, “This project highlights how universities can help solve real world issues.
“Water quality in the Richmond is of critical importance for both the community and managers like Rous County Council and DPIE.”
Rous County Council Natural Resource Officer, Stuart Hood, said, “These loggers will provide the information needed to help make informed long-term management decisions.
“The Richmond River is a very complex system, and therefore high-quality data is critical to guide any management actions.
“Importantly the project also provides the community with access to real-time information on salinity, pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen and more.
“We are very grateful to have the local expertise at Southern Cross University capable of developing such a unique technical product.’’
The loggers were designed, built and installed by Southern Cross University to ensure long-term reliability and high accuracy in an affordable package.
The loggers measure a range of water quality parameters, with the data uploaded in real time to a publicly accessible website.
A key innovation within the loggers includes pumping water samples to a permanent location out of flood waters, allowing samples to be taken in all conditions with less risk of damage to expensive monitoring equipment.
The flood mitigation team at Rous designed and installed all of the solar powered stations that now house the loggers in the various locations across the catchment.
Senior Scientist with New South Wales DPIE, Dr Angus Ferguson, said, “The data from these loggers will help deliver a range of outcomes for the New South Wales Government Marine Estates Management Strategy.
“Improved water quality in the marine environment is a cornerstone of this program, and we are aiming to use the Richmond River as a case study of what can be achieved with good science, management and community engagement.”
The project was part-funded through the New South Wales Government Coastal and Estuary Grants Program.