NRFA staff Katie Muchan, Cath Sefton and Stephen Turner carried out a three-day liaison visit last week to the Rivers Agency, visiting gauging stations in Northern Ireland.
The visit consisted of an office meeting and gauging station visits. The office meeting provided a great opportunity for the NRFA and Rivers Agency staff to meet and discuss their current activities. We then visited 13 stations in County Tyrone, Derry, Belfast and County Down areas, from the Bush in the north to the Bessbrook in the south, and heard about recent developments with the hydrometric network in the region and discussed current issues such as site modifications, flood alleviation schemes and the effect of hydro-electric power schemes. One visit of particular interest was to the Portna Gates on the Lower Bann which are used to control the levels of Lough Neagh which drains 43% of the land area of Northern Ireland and some border areas of the Republic of Ireland. Lough Neagh is the largest freshwater lake in the UK & Ireland and the Rivers Agency are required to control water levels within a specified range.
Such visits allow the NRFA’s Regional Representatives to update their knowledge of current equipment, processes and problems at each site, giving them a better understanding of how the river flows are measured. This information underpins the quality control of data submitted to the archive and allows metadata updates to inform the user community of new and emerging issues which should be considered when analysing NRFA data. The NRFA aims to conduct between 2-4 measuring authority liaison visits a year across the UK’s 24 regional hydrometric data providers.