Live Environmental Monitoring to the Public
by Malcolm Barr
Over the weekend, most of the North Island was lashed by heavy rainfall resulting in many flooded homes, businesses and properties. Hamilton wasn't as badly affected as other areas, but my basement was 15-20cm deep in water at midday Sunday and we have suffered some damage to some belongings that were stored there.
Obviously I couldn't do anything to stop the rain (and after sandbagging and setting up a pump I couldn't do much more for the basement either), but I did find it interesting to be able to see online how much rain had fallen and what the river levels were in the region. Using the Environment Waikato website, I was able to get up to date information (within 15 minutes), customise the graphs to show any time range, and aggregate the data to show raw readings, incrementing data, or hourly/daily totals. I could also download the readings as a csv file.
Most members of the public are unaware that this service exists, but most regional councils in New Zealand will allow you free access to up to date environmental monitoring information. Those councils running our HydroTelTM telemetry system that also have the HydroTelTM web component can offer data to the public that is as up to date as any data they have themselves. Some of them include more than just rainfall and river levels such as air quality and groundwater levels.
Here are some links to councils offering this service:
Auckland Council (add environmental monitoring widget under Tools)
Hawke's Bay Regional Council
Bay of Plenty Regional Council
Marlborough District Council
- Malcolm Barr