Rain gauge review in pipeline

The Central Highlands council is hoping a design flaw in its river gauging network will be fixed.
The Central Highlands council is hoping a design flaw in its river gauging network will be fixed.

A BUREAU of Meteorology review of a design fault in rain gauges installed across the Central Highlands is “in the pipeline”.

The flawed 0.2ml high resolution rain gauges are susceptible to failure when a small orifice at the outlet of the rain collection funnel becomes blocked with dust and leaf matter.

One on Arcturus Downs in the Orion district was found to have its funnel and filter blocked by another contaminant – cow hair.

Council workers carried out maintenance on four rain gauges in March at Rubyvale, Sunny Park, Blackdown Tableland and Arcturus Downs, all of which were found to be defective.

“The BOM and the suppliers of this (funnel orifice) component have been informed of the issue, and a review of the design and possible modification is in the pipeline,” a report to council said.

“Arcturus Downs (rain gauge) is located near a private landing strip within a paddock with cattle... can only guess that the cow hair is being blown up due to landing strip activity.”

Rubyvale’s rain gauge was diagnosed with a faulty reed switch on the tipping bucket. A replacement was ordered.

The funnels and filters on the remaining three gauges were cleaned. They will be monitored closely.

Plans are under way to install an important new gauging station along Van Dyke Creek that will give Emerald residents upstream an extra day of warning before future flood events.

Currently there is about 40km of free-flowing unmetered water between the Raymond and Craigmore stations before the Nogoa River flows into the Fairbairn Dam.

“A further gauging station down the bottom end of the Van Dyke will give everybody a better understanding of what’s heading towards the Nogoa,” council’s Bill Wilkinson said.

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