R. E. de Graaf-Van Dinther


2 Monitoring Spatial Distribution of Blue-Green Algae Blooms with Underwater Drones

Authors: R. L. P. De Lima, F. C. B. Boogaard, R. E. De Graaf-Van Dinther


Blue-green algae blooms (cyanobacteria) is currently a relevant ecological problem that is being addressed by most water authorities in the Netherlands. These can affect recreation areas by originating unpleasant smells and toxins that can poison humans and animals (e.g. fish, ducks, dogs). Contamination events usually take place during summer months, and their frequency is increasing with climate change. Traditional monitoring of this bacteria is expensive, labor-intensive and provides only limited (point sampling) information about the spatial distribution of algae concentrations. Recently, a novel handheld sensor allowed water authorities to quicken their algae surveying and alarm systems. This study converted the mentioned algae sensor into a mobile platform, by combining it with an underwater remotely operated vehicle (also equipped with other sensors and cameras). This provides a spatial visualization (mapping) of algae concentrations variations within the area covered with the drone, and also in depth. Measurements took place in different locations in the Netherlands: i) lake with thick silt layers at the bottom, very eutrophic former bottom of the sea and frequent / intense mowing regime; ii) outlet of waste water into large reservoir; iii) urban canal system. Results allowed to identify probable dominant causes of blooms (i), provide recommendations for the placement of an outlet, day-night differences in algae behavior (ii), or the highlight / pinpoint higher algae concentration areas (iii). Although further research is still needed to fully characterize these processes and to optimize the measuring tool (underwater drone developments / improvements), the method here presented can already provide valuable information about algae behavior and spatial / temporal variability and shows potential as an efficient monitoring system.

Keywords: Water Quality Monitoring, Cyanobacteria, blue-green algae, underwater drones / ROV / AUV

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1 Baseline Study of Water Quality in Indonesia Using Dynamic Methods and Technologies

Authors: R. L. P. de Lima, F. C. B. Boogaard, D. Setyo Rini, P. Arisandi, R. E. de Graaf-Van Dinther


Water quality in many Asian countries is very poor due to inefficient solid waste management, high population growth and the lack of sewage and purification systems for households and industry. A consortium of Indonesian and Dutch organizations has begun a large-scale international research project to evaluate and propose solutions to face the surface water pollution challenges in Brantas Basin, Indonesia (East Java: Malang / Surabaya). The first phase of the project consisted in a baseline study to assess the current status of surface water bodies and to determine the ambitions and strategies among local stakeholders. This study was conducted with high participatory / collaborative and knowledge sharing objectives. Several methods such as using mobile sensors (attached to boats or underwater drones), test strips and mobile apps, bio-monitoring (sediments), ecology scans using underwater cameras, or continuous / static measurements, were applied in different locations in the regions of the basin, at multiple locations within the water systems (e.g. spring, upstream / downstream of industry and urban areas, mouth of the Surabaya River, groundwater). Results gave an indication of (reference) values of basic water quality parameters such as turbidity, electrical conductivity, dissolved oxygen or nutrients (ammonium / nitrate). An important outcome was that collecting random samples may not be representative of a body of water, given that water quality parameters can vary widely in space (x, y, and depth) and time (day / night and seasonal). Innovative / dynamic monitoring methods (e.g. underwater drones, sensors on boats) can contribute to better understand the quality of the living environment (water, ecology, sediment) and factors that affect it. The field work activities, in particular, underwater drones, revealed potential as awareness actions as they attracted interest from locals and local press. This baseline study involved the cooperation with local managing organizations with Dutch partners, and their willingness to work together is important to ensure participatory actions and social awareness regarding the process of adaptation and strengthening of regulations, or for the construction of facilities such as sewage.

Keywords: Pollution, Water Quality Monitoring, social awareness, underwater drones

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