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New rainfall gauge now operational

Thursday, 1 October 2015 10:00 a.m.

A new Bay of Plenty Regional Council gauging station at Hogg Rd is up and running to measure the rainfall and amount of water that recharges to the aquifer below.

The rainfall and recharge site provides scientific data on the amount of recharge received by groundwater systems. It was installed in April and commissioned last month (August) after Council’s Data Services staff put in telemetry equipment.

A lysimeter is a cylinder in the soil, with the top surface being the only open part of the equipment and a drain connected to plumbing at the bottom. Rain falling on to the lysimeter soaks through the soil to the bottom, where it exits through the plumbing and into a measuring device.

“The amount of water measured by the lysimeter is therefore directly relatable to the amount of infiltration the aquifer would receive,” Bay of Plenty Regional Council Environmental Scientist Raoul Fernandes says.

“Rainfall that infiltrates below the root zone is an important component of groundwater recharge and quantifying the recharge is important for groundwater management. The data the lysimeters record is used to give the council information on groundwater system recharge, and this will better inform what volumes of groundwater can be made available for allocation under our regional plans and consenting programmes.

“Groundwater resources are very important for municipal, industrial and agricultural water supply in the Bay of Plenty,” Raoul says.

The associated soil moisture, temperature and rainfall data that is collected helps with land use management such as irrigation timing and amount.

Hogg Rd is within the Tarawera catchment, close to the border with the Rangitāiki catchment. The new lysimeter is one of seven Council lysimeters in the Bay of Plenty. All data from the lysimeters is available on the live monitoring page.

Only the soil temperature and rainfall information is available for the Hogg Road site at this stage, but further data will be uploaded as it is collected. See http://monitoring.boprc.govt.nz/MonitoredSites/cgi-bin/hydwebserver.cgi/districts/details?district=3 

lysimeter operational