River flow data improves water management

Flow monitoring equipment in the central-Murray region is helping authorities learn more about river rises and how these can be managed to benefit the community and keep our wetlands healthy.

flow monitoring equipment in waterway in the central murray region
Helping raise awareness of World Wetlands Day (2 Feb) OEH Senior Environmental Water Manager Paul Childs said the strategically placed flow loggers and gauge boards track flow rates and water heights.

“Improving our understanding of local river systems through science and technology will provide more predictability for landholders, communities and our wetlands,” Mr Childs said.

“Landholders and researchers have helped to identify sites for the flow gauging instruments as well as gathering data.

“Each new data set combined with the experience and data from past events, provides a sharper picture of where water will go when the river reaches a certain height and moves outside the river or channel bank.

“The data is a useful tool when working with a broad range of stakeholders and will aid in the development of Long Term Water Plans.

“The data is compared against the volume of water being released from dams and weirs. 

“When combined with data from other flows of different volumes, water managers can more accurately predict where water will go under a variety of flow scenarios.

“In the central-Murray we work closely with river operators, landholders, Aboriginal networks, recreational fishers and other community groups to manage water for rivers, creeks and wetlands.

“We use a mixture of public and private structures to transport water to wetlands, many of which are on private property.

“In the Murray and lower Darling systems, close to 70 per cent of the NSW licenced environmental water allowance is directed into wetlands on private property.

“This is a great example of landholders working with water managers to enhance the natural values of the landscape where they live and work,” Mr Childs said.

The equipment has been co-sponsored by OEH, DPI Water, Forestry Corporation of NSW and Murray Local Land Services.