Hunter Water is participating in a trial of CSIRO’s AquaWatch Australia Mission to deliver a 24/7 online information service that monitors water quality in various waterways around Australia, including two sites within the Lower Hunter’s Grahamstown water supply system.
AquaWatch combines an extensive network of Earth observation satellites with ground-based sensors, modelling and advanced analytics to provide close to real-time updates and facilitate improved management of waterways.
The AquaWatch project aims to protect drinking water reservoirs, recreational waterways and critical ecosystems such as the Great Barrier Reef.
Hunter Water Acting Group Manager Water Operations, Dr Abigail Morrow, said Hunter Water was excited to be involved.
“We’re one of several water utilities, research and government groups from across Australia taking part, with Grahamstown Dam and the Williams River the focus locations for the trial locally.
“We’ve deployed an ultra high-resolution camera in Grahamstown Dam to calibrate the satellite data, which will give us a clearer picture of water quality in the dam.
“Rather than relying on weekly samples collected at discrete points, we will have a daily assessment of water quality across the entire 180 gigalitre, 28 square kilometre dam, which will help to safeguard our drinking water through early warnings of potential water quality issues.
“We’re committed to continuously improving the way we do things. In future, this technology has the potential to inform how we pump water into the dam from the Williams River, helping us to continue to protect water quality and provide a safe and secure water supply for the region,” said Dr Morrow.
AquaWatch involves government, industry and research bodies collaborating to boost Australia’s capability in earth observation and aquatic environmental monitoring and management.
The trial has extended to locations in India, USA, Malaysia, Chile, Colombia, Vietnam and Indonesia.
For more information on AquaWatch, visit the CSIRO’s website.