Unmanned aerial vehicle technology is enabling Auckland Council to get water quality monitoring data quicker, more safely and cheaper than conventional methods.
Drones help collect water quality data quicker, more safely and cheaper
UAV technology used to collect water samples for quality monitoring
New Zealand city Auckland has adopted drone technology for water quality monitoring with estimates suggesting it could save 30 percent in operating costs.
Auckland Council has teamed up with engineering and environmental consulting firm Pattle Delamore Partners (PDP), who developed the methodology to carry out the sampling process.
Previously boats and even helicopters were used to collect samples. The switch has seen the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology collecting water samples, as part of the city’s Safeswim initiative to provide real-time monitoring to the public.
The drone collects samples at various interviews up to 1km offshore by lowering a sample bag into the waters. After being sent for lab analysis, results are then fed into the council’s water quality monitoring system.
One of the aims behind using drone technology is to improve the accuracy of water quality predictions, as well as reducing manpower needed to physically go out and collect samples.
Previous studies have indicated that while water at the shoreline provides the poorest water quality, improving progressively as the water gets deeper. One of the questions being addressed using the UAV is where the clean zone begins.