Monitoring visible flows using web enabled remote camera technology

Andrew Pearce - NSW Office of Water , 30 October, 2014

This paper highlights the application of state of art remote camera technology that is utilized to interpret and deliver visible flow criteria to support Water Sharing Plans.
In NSW, some Water Sharing Plans have been developed with the criteria for cease to pump rules being “visible flow” or very small flow rates as low as 1 ML/d. The ‘visible flow’ condition allows water extraction while the water source still has surface water flowing.

These very low flows are near impossible to measure accurately via a conventional gauging station without installing artificial low flow control structures such as weirs. The flow conditions outlined in water sharing plans are based on the 09:00am instantaneous flow conditions in the stream.

Five sites across northern NSW have been an on-going project to demonstrate the delivery of real time information as both data and photographs to stakeholders via web based interfaces.

As a new technology, remote cameras can provide an alternative monitoring approach that is both cost effective and efficient. In an age where real time information is expected and tightening budgets mean employing smarter provision of data, this technology offers a genuinely viable alternative to a conventional gauging station.