Monitoring the impacts of floating structures on the water quality and ecology using an underwater drone

Rui de Lima, Floris Boogaard, Rutger de Graaf, Miguel Dionisio Pires, Vladislav Sazonov

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Abstract

Urban delta areas require innovative and adaptive urban developments to face problems related with land scarcity and impacts of climate change and flooding. Floating structures offer the flexibility and multi-functionality required to efficiently face these challenges and demands. The impact of these structures on the environment, however, is currently unknown and research on this topic is often disregarded. This knowledge gap creates a difficulty for water authorities and municipalities to create a policy framework, and to regulate and facilitate the development of new projects.
Monitoring the effects of floating structures on water quality and ecology has been difficult until now because of the poor accessibility of the water body underneath the structures. In this work, a remote controlled underwater drone equipped with water quality sensors and a video camera was used to monitor dissolved oxygen near and under floating structures. The collected data showed that most water quality parameters remain at acceptable levels, indicating that the current small scale floating structures do not have a significant influence on water quality. The underwater footage revealed the existence of a dynamic and diverse aquatic habitat in the vicinity of these structures, showing that floating structures can have a positive effect on the aquatic environment. Future floating structures projects therefore should be encouraged to proceed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

Keywords

  • underwater drones
  • water quality
  • dissolved oxygen
  • floating urbanization
  • climate change
  • environmental impact

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