Monitoring of rural water for southern Victoria – Australia

Company: Ventia | Environmental Services
Author: Michael Wheaton – Research and technical Solution Manager
Location: Southern Victoria, Australia

Ventia Company Overview

Ventia Environmental Monitoring business has one of the largest teams of Environmental Monitoring Specialists in Australia. Ventia’s expertise provides authorities with the information required to improve the water quality of catchment areas, rivers, wetlands and groundwater systems, and helps assure a safe level of flood protection. Ventia operates 1,500 permanent water information monitoring stations including stream, irrigation, water storage, water quality and meteorological sites. Ventia also monitors 2,600 groundwater bores as part of the Victorian Groundwater Monitoring Network. Over 600 sites have telemetry providing near real-time data and 200 of these sites are hosted for our partners and clients on Vista Data Vision (VDV).

Project Case Study

Southern Rural Water Authority (SRW) is the Manager of rural water storage and supply for southern Victoria. SRW manage an area of 88,000 km2 and deliver water to irrigators, harvest bulk water for rural and urban use, and license and monitor extractions from most surface and groundwater systems south of the Great Divide in Victoria. Ventia operate 60 stream and channel monitoring sites and 7 major storage monitoring sites for SRW. To aid SRW in the management of their water storage and supply network Ventia provided VDV. VDV has provided SRW with a simple to use and cost effective web solution to access and visualise their real-time data.

Monitoring Station Overview

Parameters: All stream and channel sites measure level and flow rate with some sites also measuring rainfall and water quality parameters such as electrical conductivity, temperature, dissolved oxygen and turbidity. The storage sites all measure level and storage capacity.
The flow rate and storage capacity parameters are generated on the loggers using a rating table lookup system. Ventia develop and maintain these rating tables for SRW for each site and automatically update these using FTP when there are changes to rating tables.
Instrumentation: Whilst there is a mix of instrumentation used across SRW’s monitoring network a typical site consists of:

  • Campbell Scientific CR800 or CR1000 data logger recording at 15 minute intervals.
  • 3G Serial cellular modem.
  • SDI12 pressure transducer (either submersible or dry)
  • 0.2mm tipping bucket rainfall gauge (if rainfall measured).

Communications: The majority of sites utilise a 3G Cellular modem for their telemetry capabilities. Fortunately the SRW region is well covered by the Victorian 3G Cellular network. The sites generally transmit data via FTP every hour although some priority sites transmit every 15 minutes. All sites also offer Short Message Service (SMS) Interrogation and alarming which is a critical feature for SRW Network field Operators. All sites have SRW configurable alarms (configurable via SMS). These alarms transmit via both SMS and email to programmed recipients.

Client Statement

Author: Jeff Bonning
Role: Water Resources & Business Support Officer | Southern Rural Water

SRW’s operational business units use VDV web based reporting system to ensure compliance with legislation, including the management of storage and irrigation district releases. It is also used for estimating nutrient loads within irrigation districts. SRW are reliant on VDV for managing flood flows particularly in the Thomson/Macalister, Latrobe, Werribee and Maribyrnong catchments, individual catchment plans assist in monitoring flows. Where operational data can be used, reporting is also available through VDV and this is mainly used for compliance and performance purposes.
SRW as a Storage Manager of 7 large reservoirs also have water accounting systems that are very much dependant of data provided through VDV.
In relation to the use of VDV, SRW use the system for the following purposes:

  • Bulk entitlement passing flows.
  • Releases and inflows to storages.
  • Storage levels and volume.
  • Monitoring flows for rosters or restrictions to diverters.
  • Monitoring of rainfall and flood flows.
  • Monitoring and alarming of drainage flows including triggering of nutrient sampling.
  • Monitoring of salinity, turbidity and D oxy.
  • Monitoring of Industrial and urban diversion and discharge.

Conclusion

VDV has allowed Ventia to provide SRW and other clients an excellent web based reporting solution that is both affordable and flexible to clients changing needs. The support provided by VDV has also been excellent especially during recent software upgrades in which support staff accessed our VDV server to assist with elements of the software upgrade process. Their responsiveness to support requests has always been very good also despite the time difference.

Site Locations

VDV Screenshots