Drones used to test water quality at Auckland's most popular beaches

Stuff.co.nz | May 23, 2019

Water quality testing at popular swimming beaches has been taken to new heights thanks to the use of drones. Reporting for work officially for the first time on Thursday, a drone began collecting water quality samples at Takapuna Beach, on Auckland's North Shore on behalf of Auckland Council. Seagulls rallied as the unmanned aerial vehicle buzzed to life, whizzed about 200m offshore and lowered a sample bag into the blue. It whizzed back and its contents were dropped into a jar for lab analysis.
The new sampling initiative replaced previously-used alternatives, such as sending a helicopter out, rubber dinghies or wading out on foot. While still in its infancy, the drone program will initially be used to test water quality at beaches with regular organised swim events. These inlcude Mission Bay, Kohimarama, St Heliers, Takapuna, Narrowneck and Milford. But Auckland Council is open to expanding the program to more beaches in the coming years if its successful.

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