A groundbreaking trial of image velocimetry from drones to measure water flow proved the benefits of the technology and increased Ventia's capability in effective stream discharge gauging. Image velocimetry is a method of flow visualisation that uses video to measure the speed of water flow.

In partnership with a specialist drone subcontractor, our team carried out a series of trials to compare the accuracy and repeatability of the measurements and compared to more traditional methods. 

Stream discharge gauging can be challenging, especially in hazardous or inaccessible sites, or when flow is high during extreme weather events. By using internet-connected cameras and image velocimetry analysis to determine the speed of the water, these challenges can be overcome. 

Image velocimetry was already in use in some sites in northern Australia and around the world but with fixed cameras. Ventia recognised the potential to adapt the technology for use on aerial drones.

In partnership with our specialist drone subcontractor, we launched a series of trial gaugings at key monitoring sites along the Murray River and compared the results to the measurements from traditional methods.

Since the initial trials, improvements in technology and software have improved significantly and now, image velocimetry drone gauging is an effective approach, especially for non-contact flood gaugings.