Drones to Monitor Water Quality in Ireland’s Western Lakes

July 25, 2018

Irish scientists believe using the technology will expand the range and accuracy of testing

Ireland will use drones to better extend the range and accuracy of water quality testing in the country’s western lakes. Doing so will allow the reduction of labor costs and will avoid potential danger for workers sent to waterway more difficult to access.

According to scientists from Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), the implementation of drones to test water quality has seen a significant uptick in usage over the past several years. The institute houses the GMIT Marine and Freshwater Research Center, which has collected $154,384 in funding from Ireland’s EPA as it fell under the umbrella of the agency’s lake-monitoring program. The center already uses drones for environmental monitoring, but this will mark its first research using drones with regards to water quality sampling, according to Dr. Rick Officer, vice president of research and innovation for GMIT.

The new water quality testing effort will require collaboration between water chemistry scientists, lake biologists, engineers and licensed drone pilots over the course of the two-year project.

Specializing the project, it will require the installation of separate communication technologies on the machines, which will effectively transmit “real-time underwater camera images and data” to the licensed drone operators.

According to GMIT, all members of its research team have gone through and completed drone flight school in order to properly execute the project.