The Department of Water has been busy preparing its river and rainfall measurement equipment around the Gascoyne River for this season’s wet, following record breaking events during last year’s wet that put gear to the test.
The department has river level gauging stations and rainfall meters positioned along the river that provide valuable water information used by state and federal governments and industry.
Midwest Gascoyne Regional Manager Adam Maskew said that the department’s flood warning network was instrumental in providing information for emergency response and for community information.
“It was the biggest flood since recording started in the early 1900s, with the highest peak of 7.78m at Nine Mile Bridge in Carnarvon on 20 December last year,” Mr Maskew said.
“The equipment is designed to survive the extreme conditions of raging rivers, but the past year exceeded all expectations with some damage sustained at five sites.
“The department lost river level reading infrastructure and phone lines were washed away at several sites.”
In preparation for the 2011-2012 wet season, the department has repaired damage from last season’s floods at a number of sites.
In September staff installed new telemetry equipment at Nine Mile Bridge, Fishy Pool and Jimba.
“The department has upgraded the old landline system with IP telemetry,” Mr Maskew said.
“This will improve reliability of the telemetry sites and the frequency with which they will poll, increasing accuracy and warning for response preparation.”
Further IP telemetry have been installed at Yinnetharra, Pell’s Island, Lyons River Crossing, Lyons River Homestead on the Gascoyne River and also at sites on the Wooramel and Minilya rivers south and north of Carnarvon.
Gauge boards at Gascoyne Junction, Bidgemia Homestead and Jimba Jimba Homestead have been repaired and reinstalled.
Further upgrades will be made to Pell’s Island, Jimba, Fishy Pool and Nine Mile Bridge.
The repairs aim to ensure the department is ready to brave the upcoming wet season.
“People can keep up to date with river flow information by visiting the department’s website www.water.wa.gov.au,” Mr Maskew said.
“We will also provide river flow advices through its 1800 674 897 number and email services.”
In case of an extreme weather event, the Bureau of Meteorology will issue a flood warning and Mr Maskew urges residents to stay informed. Flood warnings and advice is also available from www.fesa.wa.gov.au
Media contact: Peter Collins (08) 6363 6848/0434 603 441