Project Overview

In an effort to catch and hold floodwaters in the Plum Creek watershed in Lockhart, Texas, a system of lakes, ponds, and spillways was built beginning in the 1950s. The system allows water to be released at a controlled rate, minimizing damage from heavy rains.

The Plum Creek Conservation District monitors, maintains, and improves this system to ensure it works properly, maintaining 28 flood control structures and managing underground water resources in parts of both Hays and Caldwell counties.

PCCD’s mission is to develop and implement water conservation and management strategies to protect, conserve, and prevent waste of the groundwater resources in the district for the benefit of the citizens, economy, and environment.

One of the district’s most recent water conservation and management strategies was to implement a real-time rainfall and water level monitoring network at three of the 28 flood control structures. NexSens Technology was asked to provide the equipment and services to install and set up this real-time network.

System Description

To monitor water level, PCCD project members chose the OTT PS1 pressure transducer. This low-maintenance sensor provides water level measurements as accurate as 0.05%. Inside the versatile probe, a piezo-resistive pressure sensor linked to a microprocessor handles a wide variety of tasks involving signal processing and calculation.

The PS1 measures the combined pressure exerted on it by the atmosphere and the head of water above it. The internal firmware corrects for the influence of temperature on the measuring cell, gravity, and even the density of the water.

Rainfall measurements are obtained using the RM Young tipping bucket rain gauge. This highly accurate sensor uses a proven tipping bucket mechanism for simple and effective rainfall measurements. The bucket geometry and material of the RM Young rain gauge are specially selected for maximum water release, thereby reducing contamination and errors.

At user-defined intervals, a NexSens 3100-iSIC data logger with cellular telemetry sends the collected environmental data to the district’s office PC running iChart software. The real-time monitoring system has the ability to send various forms of alarms to PCCD staff members, alerting them of rainfall and flood events within the watershed.

By simultaneously measuring rainfall and water level, PCCD staff can effectively correlate changes in water level to the amount of precipitation produced by rainfall events in the watershed. Both NexSens iChart software and WQData web datacenter provide powerful data analysis and correlation capabilities to meet project needs.

Equipment

NexSens iSIC Data Logger

Specifically designed for remote environmental monitoring applications, the iSIC data logger offers superior data acquisition performance in extreme conditions.


YOUNG Tipping Bucket Rain Gauges

The YOUNG tipping bucket rain gauge uses a proven tipping bucket mechanism for simple and effective rainfall measurement.


NexSens iChart 6 Software

iChart software simplifies and automates many of the tasks associated with acquiring, processing, analyzing and publishing environmental data.


NexSens WQData LIVE Web Datacenter

WQData LIVE is a secure web datacenter providing an online interface for viewing environmental data. It offers 24/7 instant access to project data using any web browser.