Higher river monitoring tower erected

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 12:00 29/01/2013
Manawatu River
MURRAY WILSON/FAIRFAX NZ
HIGH AND DRY: Scott Bruce, left, and Ray Hirst secure the new Manawatu River monitoring tower at the Teachers’ College site.

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A higher, better Manawatu River monitoring station has been lifted in to place at the Teachers' College site off Centennial Dr.

The height of the station had to be raised so it can survive the one-in-100-year flood that Palmerston North's stopbanks have been improved to withstand.

A walkway including the latest safety features will be installed to provide access to the monitoring station later this week.

Horizons Regional Council uses information collected at the site to provide early warning of floods and to monitor water quality.

Catchment information manager Jeff Watson said as well as being 90 centimetres higher than the old model, the new station had been brought up to current earthquake standards.

The Teachers' College station provides information on river levels, sediment load, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and water temperature.

"It has the longest continuous record in New Zealand, with river flow data dating back to 1928, and records exist at this location for every major flood since 1928," Mr Watson said.

"Information about river flow at the site is used in flood forecasting, which helps us to determine when to open the Moutoa Sluice Gates, and for the operation of other aspects of the Lower Manawatu Scheme."

About 300 people are registered to receive automated flood warnings when the river reaches set levels through the river information system, enabling landowners to shift stock, secure assets and reduce the impact of flooding.

Information from the monitoring site also assists in setting minimum flow restrictions for those taking water from the river and helps water quality scientists monitor the health of the river.

Environmental data collected through the council's widespread telemetry system feeds into Horizons' website where the public can access it in close to real time.

Further information about the systems is available online at horizons.govt.nz or on Horizons' customer services toll-free number.

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- Manawatu Standard

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