Multi-Beam Depth Sounding Device in Remote Controlled Boat Speeds-Up Reservoir Assessment

HR Wallingford, a global provider of analysis in environmental hydraulics, water environment and water management, has developed a novel remote control boat (ARC-Boat) that can help speed up surveys of reservoirs.

HydroSurveyor realtime datashot

The boat has the capability to safely, accurately and rapidly collect hydrometric data using an advanced SonTek acoustic Doppler profiler.

Xylem Analytics develops environmental monitoring instruments and systems. SonTek, a Xylem company, manufactures the M9 Acoustic Doppler Profiler (ADP) device. This device has a 5-beam depth sounding capability for scanning the bed of the reservoir as the boat moves over the surface. The SonTek Hydrosurveyor software provides 3-D maps and depth measurements of the reservoir or water body.

The acoustic Doppler profiler in the ARC-Boat can operate in depths from as low as 15 cm to as deep as 40 m. The device utilizes 5 beams simultaneously, which enables a wider and faster coverage of the water bed. It also saves significant amount of time when compared to instruments with single beams. The ARC-Boat features Bluetooth communications for transmitting collected data to a computer on the shore. The boat is operated using standard remote control that can operate in the range of more than 200 m. The HydroSurveyor system gathers acoustic bottom, water column velocity profile, and bathymetric tracking data. The M9 ADP device enabled faster surveys, while reducing the risk to staff and the environment.

The Reservoirs Act 1975 has been amended by the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, and small reservoir owners will have to assess their reservoirs. The Act seeks for a more risk-based approach by reducing the reservoir capacity required for regulations, registration of reservoirs with the Environment Agency and subjecting high risk reservoirs to complete regulations. The ARC-Boat and sensor demonstrate immense potential for such applications.

HR Wallingford’s damspecialist and reservoir Supervising Panel Engineer, Craig Goff, has assessed five reservoirs using the boat and found that it delivered accurate data cost-effectively.


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