Monitoring sustainability

4 July 2002

THE SPEED, DEPTH AND LOCATION OF sedimentation are influenced by a variety of factors - weather conditions including precipitation, river flow rates, soil types, vegetation - and it is important to have accurate and reliable data on all key factors. Soil and vegetation conditions evolve slowly but sudden changes in weather and river flow can have dramatic effects. Consequently real time monitoring systems are becoming commonplace, both within environmental impact studies and for routine daily management.

ELE International, a company based in the UK, specialises in instrumentation to help understand and predict the factors leading to sedimentation, and the extent to which it can affect water flow and water storage capacity.

Water-borne sediment is affected by both rainfall and the flow of water into the reservoir. ELE International's Cumulus weather station provides a complete meteorological monitoring and recording system, measuring wind speed and direction, air temperature, humidity, rainfall, solar radiation, soil temperature and barometric pressure. Linked with the company's ELE BOX wire-free telemetry system, the Cumulus can help provide near-instant warning when weather parameters fall outside pre-set levels. It is able to detect alarm conditions such as high water levels from precipitation and transmit alarm messages to mobile telephones and/or a central PC. In addition the system can set off an alarm output locally for remedial action such as opening a valve or sluice.

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