Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Safeswim turns up the technology with drones

Reporting for work for the first time today, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone started collecting water samples at Auckland swim event beaches.

Auckland Council’s Safeswim programme is again leading innovation, this time utilising a drone to sample swimming sites for water quality. The council collaborated with Pattle Delamore Partners (PDP), an engineering and environmental consulting service who developed the methodology to carry out the sampling process.

The move away from the traditional sampling method of using a boat to drones will significantly benefit the programme by improving logistics and efficiency while reducing risks and hazards, and costs.

According to PDP’s environmental science service leader, Ed Clayton, “PDP estimates the use of a drone will reduce operating costs associated with sampling by up to 30 per cent when compared with traditional methods.

"It has the additional benefit of keeping staff safe as they do not have to work from a vessel when water conditions can be stormy and hazardous”.

Using the drone will improve the accuracy of Safeswim’s water quality predictions and allow Aucklanders to make the most of their beaches.

“Heading to the beach to enjoy the summer is part of our birthright as Aucklanders,” says Mayor Phil Goff.

“As a council, we’re committed to improving the water quality at our beaches and enhancing the Safeswim system to achieve better accuracy and reliability, is a priority. It gives Aucklanders the information they need to swim safely and paves the way for better, more cost-effective water quality testing going forward.”

“It’s also an example of Auckland’s innovation and last month I announced Auckland Council’s partnership with another tech company to offer Safeswim to regional authorities worldwide. Not only will it help other cities to protect their environment, but it will also provide the council with the opportunity to realise a multi-million-dollar revenue stream,” Phil Goff said.

Safeswim monitors for water quality in knee-deep water, in keeping with New Zealand guidelines. Real-time predictions on the Safeswim website represent the expected public health risk at this same knee-depth, within the surf zone of the beach where children and families swim and play.

Previous studies have indicated that while water at the shoreline provides the poorest water quality, improving progressively as the water gets deeper, the question is often where the clean zone begins.

The drone will take cross-samples at various distances more frequently, enabling Safeswim to get a more accurate picture of the quality of water beyond the surf zone and support tourist operators and swim event organisers in making decisions on whether to hold their events if the shallows are indicating 'high risk'.

“Auckland’s swim events are very popular across Auckland,” says Safeswim Programme Manager Nick Vigar.

“We’ve worked with organisers of the programmes to understand how we could better support them.

"The introduction of drone sampling is a win, win for Aucklanders, Safeswim, swim event operators and participants.

“Technology should allow us to be able to build a reliable predictive model of the offshore water quality – potentially enabling swim events to continue without interruption even after rainfall,” he says.

Auckland Council’s Head of Innovation, Matt Montgomery says technology-based solutions, are an important part of the council’s commitment to protecting the environment and are an essential part of future-proofing our city.

“The promise of new technology is exciting. Utilising drones to further improve Safeswim makes our sustainability work easier and more efficient by automating physical and time-consuming activity.

"As our city's population grows and our urban spaces intensify, we will rely on smart city technologies like drones to help us solve Auckland’s unique urban issues to improve the quality of life for Aucklanders.”

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


"Clumsy Response To A Serious Issue": Treasury Head Was "Unreasonable" On Budget Breach

Outgoing Treasury secretary Gabriel Makhlouf was "clumsy", unreasonable and fell "well short" of expectations in his handling of the Budget data breach, a government report has found.

The State Services Commission report was ordered in the fallout of Mr Makhlouf claiming Treasury's website had been "deliberately and systematically hacked" and referring the matter to police...

The Commission's report - released today - said Mr Makhlouf did not act reasonably in his use of the word "hacked" or his subsequent explanations to media. More>>


Gordon Campbell: Public Service Reforms Don't Protect The Public

Reportedly, the legislation involved is to be called the Public Service Act, because… well, it seems that the notion of “public service” is back in vogue. More>>


Environment Accounts: NZ's Household Emissions Increasing

Household emissions of greenhouse gases increased 19.3 percent from 2007 to 2017, mainly due to rising emissions from road transport, Stats NZ said today. More>>


Police: Excessive Force Used Breaking Up Party

The Authority found that one of the officers involved had used knee strikes during the arrest... this officer made concerning comments... to the effect that "it's about time some of these kids got what they deserved." More>>


Legislation: End Of Life Choice Bill Passes Second Reading

Just 20 MPs had the opportunity to debate the bill and many shared personal stories of watching family members die in what was at times an emotional display in the House. More>>


Other Bills:

Principals Reject Offer: Primary Teachers Vote For Settlement

Primary teachers have voted to ratify a proposed settlement that will give them pay parity with their secondary colleagues, but disappointed primary principals have rejected a settlement that was unchanged from a previously rejected offer. More>>


Pike River: Weeks Of Work Before Team Gets Beyond 170 Metres

No items of interest have been found in the latest forensic search of the tunnel between 30 and 170 metres, however, both the police and the Pike River Recovery Agency say it has been useful. More>>


Remaking Elections: Call For Four-Year Term, More MPs

A Victoria University report is proposing extending the parliamentary term to four years, and increasing the number of MPs, so politicians can plan better for the future. More>>


Health: Ban On Smoking In Cars With Children Passes First Reading

The Smoke-free Environments Amendment Bill would allow police to issue $50 fines for those smoking with passengers under 18 years of age. More>>





InfoPages News Channels