Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


New Study Measures Snowmelt into South Island Rivers

New Study Measures Snowmelt into South Island Rivers

The New Zealand Hydrological Society Conference takes place in Nelson this week. The theme for the conference is “Water: Know your limits”. Water conservation and management is a hot topic.

Hydrologists and water managers are powerful contributors to the task of setting water resource limits and managing water within those limits.

Understanding where our water comes from is an important foundation for water management.

NIWA’s hydrology scientist and conference speaker, Dr Tim Kerr, has recently finished a South Island assessment of the contribution of snowmelt to river flows.

Snowmelt affects river flow seasonality. “Increased flow from snowmelt in summer is beneficial for irrigation, but decreased flow in winter, when snow builds up, is problematic for hydro-electricity,” says Kerr.

Snowmelt can also affect the sizes of floods. “Knowledge of how snowmelt might affect the size of a flood is an important consideration for building structures near rivers, or when forecasting flood events.

“Add into the mix the potential for climate warming to change these seasonal and flooding effects as less snow and more rain falls, and you can see that it is worth having an idea where snowmelt is important. To date, these assessments have been done on a case by case basis, an expensive and inconsistent approach,” says Dr Kerr.

If snow contributions decrease overall as a result of climate warming, this is likely to reduce summer low flows in snow-fed rivers. For water resources users that are subject to minimum flow rules, this will increase the likelihood of restrictions on the amount of water they can take during that period.

This new assessment was made using 20 years of daily temperature and precipitation data from the Virtual Climate Station data, a product produced by Dr Andrew Tait, NIWA’s Principal Scientist for Climate Applications.

The estimates show that of the large rivers that reach the sea, the Waitaki has the highest snowmelt contribution with 12%, while the Cook River on the West Coast is next highest with 11%.

Of the hydro-electricity lakes, Lake Pukaki has the highest snowmelt contribution of 18%, whereas Fraser Dam, an example of an irrigation storage dam in Otago, receives 14% of its inflows from snowmelt. Overall, it is estimated that 3.4%, or 1 litre in every 30, of the South Island’s river flow originates from snowmelt.

Dr Tim Kerr is a speaker at the New Zealand Hydrological Society Conference, being held in Nelson 27–30 November. Dr Kerr’s speech is on Tuesday 27 November at 1.10pm.
NIWA’s Dr Hilary McMillan will be chairing a session on Waterscape.

There will also be a session on water resource limits chaired by Environment Canterbury (ECAN).
ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

New PGP: Sheep Milk Industry Gets $12.6M Crown Funding

The Sheep - Horizon Three programme aims to develop "a market driven, end-to-end value chain generating annual revenues of between $200 million and $700 million by 2030," according to a joint statement. More>>

ALSO:

Half Full: Fonterra Raises Forecast Milk Price

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today increased its 2016/17 forecast Farmgate Milk Price by 50 cents to $4.75 per kgMS. When combined with the forecast earnings per share range for the 2017 financial year of 50 to 60 cents, the total payout available to farmers in the current season is forecast to be $5.25 to $5.35 before retentions. More>>

ALSO:

Keep Digging: Seabed Ironsands Miner TransTasman Tries Again

The first company to attempt to gain a resource consent to mine ironsands from the ocean floor in New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone has lodged a new application containing fresh scientific and other evidence it hopes will persuade regulators after their initial application was turned down in 2014. More>>

Wool Pulled: Duvets Sold As ‘Premium Alpaca’ Mostly Sheep’s Wool

Rotorua business Budge Collection Limited (Budge) and sole director, Sun Dong Kim, were convicted and fined a total of $71,250 in Auckland District Court after each pleading guilty to four charges of misrepresenting how much alpaca fibre was in their duvets. More>>

Reserve Bank: Labour Calls For Monetary Policy To Expand Goals

Labour's comments follow a speech today by RBNZ governor Graeme Wheeler in which Wheeler sought to answer critics who variously say he should stop lowering interest rates, lower them faster, or that inflation-targeting should no longer be the primary goal of the central bank's activities. More>>

ALSO:

BSA Extension And Sunday Morning Ads: Digital Convergence Bill Captures Online Content

Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams has today announced the Government’s plans to update the Broadcasting Act to better reflect today’s converged market... The Government considered four areas as part of its review into content regulation: classification requirements, advertising restrictions, election programming and contestable funding. More>>

ALSO:

March 2017: Commerce Commission Delays Decision On Fairfax-NZME

The Commerce Commission has delayed its decision on the proposed merger between NZME and Fairfax Media's New Zealand assets, saying the deal is complex and it needs more time to assess the impact on both news content and the advertising market. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news