Lagoon webcam victim to weather

BRIDGET RAILTON
Last updated 05:00 28/01/2014

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A webcam installed to monitor environmental conditions at the Waituna lagoon has been bested by the environmental conditions.

The Waituna webcam, installed by Environment Southland, has fallen prey to wet and wild weather, becoming inoperable just months after it was set up.

Environment Southland principal scientist Clint Rissmann said the technical difficulties were because of a combination of wild weather and salt spray in the rugged lagoon environment.

While the camera was waterproof, "electronics don't really like salt water," he said.

The webcam was installed to monitor the conditions of the lagoon - which in 2011 was at risk of being contaminated with algae - without scientists having to physically be there.

It was intended for pictures to be sent from the camera to researchers three times a day and collated for data once a month.

However, the time stamp from the most recent picture shows the last successful transmission was in November 2013.

Mr Rissmann said researchers had made quite a few trips out to try to get the camera going again, which so far proved unsuccessful.

"It's been a lot of grief for very little gain."

The camera, which cost about $90, was considered a "nice to have but not a priority" item for the Environment Southland team, he said.

"We were trying to create a bit of a window to see the lagoon.

"It was a great idea at the time . . . but it's not a priority."

At a Waituna liaison meeting early next month staff would discuss whether to get a replacement, he said.

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- The Southland Times

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