The Challenge

Toowoomba Regional Council is seeking to expand its hydrometric network; however, a key limiting factor is the cost associated with traditional gauge installations. A number of other technologies exist that may still provide Council with valuable data both in real time and for calibrating models.

Approach and Outcomes

A desktop investigation was undertaken into the available low-cost gauge technologies able to record rainfall and water levels and provide this data remotely in real time as well as log long records.
Three manufacturers were chosen from this desktop study and gauges were purchased for trial at two locations in the region; Centenary Bridge over the Condamine River at Pampas and at the Alderley St gauges in Toowoomba. These locations were primarily chosen as they had existing BoM specification gauges installed, allowing for easy comparison of the data collected by the low-cost gauges.
The gauges were allowed to log data for approximately six months and then the data was compared to the simultaneously recorded BoM specification data. Overall, for rainfall it was found that two products performed well while a third tended to significantly underpredict rainfall, whilst for water level one product performed well whilst two require further testing.