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Byron Shire
February 23, 2024

Droning on about what’s in the Tweed’s water

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Council worker Brendan Tyndall is using the drone to inspect the Tweed’s 40 water reservoirs, including the two at Hospital Hill in Murwillumbah​. Photo supplied.

Drone technology is becoming increasingly relevant in many areas and new underwater drone technology has begun in the Tweed as a way to more easily scan for information about the structure and quality of the water held in the shire’s reservoirs.

Water and Wastewater operations manager Brie Jowett said the underwater drone would double as a dive buddy, allowing Council to quickly view in real-time the inside of the reservoirs, which vary in size and depth.

‘We can now conduct inspections of the reservoirs ourselves, on the ground, straight away and at very low cost.

‘Using the drone, we can check for damage to our reservoirs and other structural issues and get information on water quality faster than before.

Potential to reduce the amount of cleaning and maintenance

Ms Jowett said that if we can also better understand when works aren’t needed, it has the potential to reduce the amount of cleaning and maintenance work undertaken.

‘The drone is just one way we sustainably operate and maintain the Tweed’s water assets, systems and networks. It’s part of our commitment to provide safe, sustainable and affordable water supply services as the foundation of a healthy Tweed community.’

The underwater drone is fitted with a camera and a net to scoop up debris.

No need to hire divers

Council’s Water Supply and Quality technical officer Brendan Tyndall has been remotely operating the technology for a few weeks. ‘Since I started using it, we haven’t needed to hire divers when we think there might be an issue at a reservoir.

‘There’s no more waiting for visual inspections as we can quickly deploy the drone ourselves.’

Council supplies Tweed households and businesses with high-quality, affordable and reliable water and wastewater services from catchment to the tap and from the tap to the ocean.

To find out more about Council’s water supply and assets, go to tweed.nsw.gov.au/property-rates/water-wastewater/water-supply-assets.

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