Poster Presentation International Conference on River Connectivity (Fish Passage 2018)

Real-time remote water quality, flow and ecological response monitoring of waste water treatment works and dams in the uMgeni catchment (FISHTRAC programme): design, implementation and preliminary results (#217)

Matthew J Burnett 1 , Gordon C O'Brien 1 , Graham Jewitt 1
  1. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, KWAZULU-NATAL, South Africa

The Mgeni River is a high use and economically important river with various dams established to supply the city of Durban with water resources. Further the catchment has two major cities within the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, affecting the uMngeni River’s water quantity and quality. Using radio-telemetry (FISHTRAC) to characterise the behaviour of Yellowfish (Labeobarbus natalensis) within the uMngeni River, can provide a means to measuring an ecological response of the ecosystem to water quantity and quality changes. To do this, water quantity and quality are measured alongside the behaviour of L. natelensis with the use of water quality probes. These water quality probes are linked to the FISHTRAC system through a Data Management System (DMS) and record pressure (converted to discharge), temperature and conductivity. These water probes are placed in the same reach as tracked L. natelensis where the activity, temperature and location of tagged L. natalensis are recorded on the same DMS. The project is still in its developmental phase and aims to bring these components and variable together to create an early warning system for water resource managers. Currently the remote networks (wireless wildlife) has been established and are strategically placed to detect the water probes and tagged fish. The water quantity and quality coming from the water quality probes placed strategically downstream of waste water treatment works and dams currently detect changes to these variables. The use of fish movement in combinations with the water quality data can be set at various limits to alert manages to potential water quality issues prior to becoming disastrous. This is being done remotely and in real time through a DMS allowing a rapid response. This presentation aims to show the concept and some preliminary results in setting up the water probes and L. Natalensis movements.

  1. O’Brien GC, Jacobs FJ, Burnett MJ. Kruger P, Botha IF, Cordier JA. 2013a. Remote and manual radio telemetry methods to monitor and use fish behaviour in South Africa’s inland waters. Report No. 2111/1/13. Pretoria: ISBN: Water Research Commission, Pretoria.