Posted: Tuesday, October 25, 2022. 6:11 pm CST.
Photo Credit: DOE
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Department of Environment (DOE) is handing over four automated hydrological stations to the National Hydrological Service at Tower Hill in Orange Walk on Thursday.
“Two new automated hydrological stations have been installed along the New River and two existing stations have been upgraded to automated systems contributing to improved data collection coverage of the New River watershed,” said a statement by the Department of the Environment (DOE).
The automated hydrological stations are being commissioned by the DOE and handing them over to the National Hydrological Service (NHS) in alignment with the collaborative works being done for the restoration of the New River and the NHS Strategic Plan.
The four stations are part of a Regional Project entitled ‘Integrated Ridge to Reef Management of the Mesoamerican Reef Ecoregion (MAR2R)’ that is implemented through the Central American Commission of Environment and Development (CCAD according to its Spanish acronym). The statement said the DOE, within the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, and the National Hydrological Service (NHS) of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Petroleum, and Mining are beneficiaries of the Regional Project.
“We met with the National Hydrological Service, and they provided the specifications of the equipment that they need to improve the monitoring that they do on the river,” said DOE’s Chief Environmental Officer Anthony Mai.
“Through this project, we were able to procure and install it and we’ll do a handing over of the equipment tomorrow.”
Mai said the systems measure river flow, water level, precipitation, and temperature. Since the systems are automated, the NHS can retrieve the information remotely or physically at the site.
The New River, also known as Río Nuevo, in northern Belize, is the country’s longest river that is entirely in Belize. The New River System, which includes the New River Lagoon, Belize’s largest body of freshwater, drains primarily the eastern part of the Orange Walk District on its way to Chetumal Bay. The New River, which passes right next to the Lamanai (Submerged Crocodile) Archaeological Reserve, is home to countless types of fish, birds, and crocodiles.
“The automated stations will provide timely and accurate information such as water level and corresponding flow rate which are used for many hydraulic and hydrological studies, including flood and drought forecasting, infrastructure design, climate, and environmental impact studies, and other water management concerns,” said the DOE statement.
“These stations will strengthen the Flood Early Warning System in the area. The information obtained from these stations will help government agencies to better understand the dynamics of the New River ecosystem and will contribute to more informed decision-making.”
The DOE requested people to refrain from tampering with the stations, advising that it is a criminal offense to interfere with these hydrological stations.
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