Weir masters of monitoring!

Kelly's joy at installing a weir knows no bounds....

Kelly’s joy at installing a weir knows no bounds….

We are………… and monitoring masters! (yes we did that, but feel free to groan.)

Essential Environmental has been developing its capabilities in water monitoring over the last year, including both groundwater and surface water monitoring (as well as taking the odd soil sample), and has added installing and taking measurements from some beautiful weir structures to our repertoire, as part of recent monitoring work.

Water monitoring generally allows scientists, government and industry to collect a range of data (such as groundwater levels, stream flow, and surface and groundwater quality) to understanding the hydrology of surface water and groundwater systems, as well as the health of wetlands, rivers, aquifers and habitats supported by them.  Monitoring before and after a change in land use (such as the urban development of farm land, or the revegetation of wetlands and streams) allows us to understand the impacts of this change on downstream receiving environments as well as infrastructure, for better or worse, and thus make informed decisions about how we should manage our water resources into the future.

While the Essential Environmental team have been wading out into drains and collecting groundwater from bores for a long time now, the engineers in the office have been kept out of mischief recently with the installation of some V-notch weirs out in Baldivis and Byford. Weirs allow hydrologists and some very excitable engineers to measure the volumetric flow rates at discharge points, which can then be used to calculate the loads of nutrients, sediments or other substances discharging from a site, or calculate the base flow of water leaving a defined catchment area. This can be done using MATHS which some us actually enjoy. V-notch weirs are particularly good for measuring small discharge volumes and look exactly like how they sound.

Flow can be measured through a v-notch weir using MATHS (Source: University of Denver)

Flow can be measured through a v-notch weir using MATHS (Source: University of Denver)

On top of that, we have also begun installing continuous data loggers at key surface water sites as another method to measure surface water flow rates, assess seasonal variation, and calculate peak flow rates from a site. Essential Environmental has a number of monitoring projects on the go at the moment around the greater Perth region and data collected from this work has been used, and will continue to be collected to:

  • understand the  interaction between surface water and groundwater systems;
  • understand seasonal variation in groundwater levels and peak surface water flows originating from various catchments;
  • understand the quality of groundwater and surface water in different types of environments, and the sources of any contaminants;
  • inform drainage and water sensitive urban design outlined in Urban Water Management Plans and Local Water Management Strategies;
  • assess the impacts of development post-construction;
  • and to determine whether state and national water quality criteria and guidelines are being met.

If anyone would like any more information on the water monitoring work we do, please feel free to contact us and you’ll makes some scientists and engineers very happy.

On a separate note, Shelley Shepherd has been recognised this year by Stormwater Australia as a ‘master’ of the stormwater industry and in promoting Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD)!  In fact, Shelley was officially chosen as the 4th order batsman in the Stormwater Upstarts ‘cricket team’, as part of Stormwater Australia‘s annual Stormwater National Awards for Excellence. Well done Shelley! We’re sure you’ll make the All Stars one day (just practise those cover drives) !