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Published: 2011-02-17 00:00:00

A tide gauge is expected to be installed in Raglan’s Manu Bay this weekend and will provide data valuable to scientists, as well as local boaties and surfers.

The installation of the Environment Waikato equipment is being carried out by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). If the weather and surf allows, it is intended the installation will be carried out on a low spring tide, due to occur over four days from this Friday, 18 February.

The information provided by the gauge is important for science investigations and will be used by Environment Waikato and other organisations involved in coastal research and monitoring, surveying, mapping and engineering.

The data will be collected by equipment stored in a steel housing near the Manu Bay boat ramp. This equipment will be connected to the sea via a measurement tube running along the Manu Bay break water.

Environment Waikato coastal earth scientist, Vernon Pickett, said the tidal data will allow us to gain a better understanding of extreme water levels occurring along the West Coast, an important consideration when determining coastal hazards and the design of structures located within the coastal area.

“This data will also allow us to measure ongoing and long term changes in sea level occurring as a result of such factors as storm impacts and climate change,” Dr Pickett said.

Detailed information on the water levels in Manu Bay will also be used as input to drive computer models for the Raglan estuary, Ngarunui Beach and the Raglan Bar, and will contribute to the analysis of data gathered by research cameras at Ngarunui Beach.

“Accurate computer models of the harbour will ultimately allow us to better understand sand and sediment transport within the harbour and along the open coast, the dispersal of nutrients and contaminants from streams, storm water and sewage discharges, and the effects of wave dynamics along Ngarunui Beach and Raglan Bar,” Dr Pickett said.

Readings from the tide gauge will be made publicly available via the Environment Waikato and NIWA websites.