HawkesburyWatch is a near real-time Rainfall, Water Level and Water Quality monitoring system developed by MHL for Hornsby Shire Council. This system provides public access to environmental data and generates maps of salinity, temperature and swimming conditions. The site is watched and used by recreational swimmers, commercial fishers, oyster farmers, researchers and people with an interest in estuarine processes occurring on a daily basis.
A key feature of the site is inform the public on current swimming conditions. The ability to swim in the estuary is based on the premise that the occurrence of freshwater in the estuary following rainfall increases the likelihood of pollution and bacterial contamination being present. Swimming Conditions are informed by salinity data obtained from in situ monitoring probes and a 3D hydrodynamic model configured by Office of Environment and Heritage. The model relies on the contribution of over 100 separate data feeds from various agencies including Bureau of Meteorology, MHL, SCA, OEH and Dept of Primary Industries Office of Water. Data is downloaded at 2am each morning and the model is run based on the previous days monitored data. The results will show interpolated contour maps of swimming conditions based on the previous day. Swimmers are further cautioned to look for obvious signs of stormwater pollution such as water discoloration as well as debris in the water and tide line. When pollution is likely, swimmers may be at increased risk of contracting illness and swimming at these times should be avoided.
Team Leader, Flood & Estuary Studies
NSW Public Works
+612 9949 0200