Water science . . . Otago Regional Council environmental officers Jono Young (left) and Mike Anderson capture water data at Luggate last week. PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON

Water testing teams took to the water last week in Luggate Creek.

Otago Regional Council environmental officers Jono Young and Mike Anderson floated a boogie board loaded with data-sensing equipment as part of their year-round monitoring of river flows, lake levels and rainfall.

Mr Young said the Luggate Creek site was one of about 200 locations that the 12-person environmental monitoring team looked after.

Between December 1 and March 31 the team took additional water quality measurements at recreational sites including lakes Dunstan, Hawea and Wanaka.

Kiwi ingenuity . . . A simple boogie board turns into a floating science lab, collecting water depth, speed and location.PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON

During floods there was a flood officer on duty at all times and environmental officers were continuously monitoring and modelling the effects of rainfall on lakes and rivers, Mr Young said.

“High flow events give us an opportunity to verify our modelling with extra flow gauging.”

Because these events were rare, they had less data at high flows to support their models, “so we collect as much data as possible when we can”.

That included getting gauges from the ground in places such as Arrow River and Mill Creek, as well as gauging from a helicopter at larger sites, he said.

“Gathering this data improves our understanding of high flows at critical headwater sites, meaning we can make better predictions of lake levels during heavy rainfall.”