Wellington Harbour Buoy
WRIBO is a high-tech surface buoy and string of instruments deployed to help us to understand the effects of the biggest freshwater inflow into Wellington Harbour – the Hutt River. WRIBO will help us to make links between freshwater and marine environments, and to assess the impacts of land-based activities on water quality.
WRIBO – Wellington Regional Integrated Buoy Observations - is a joint programme with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).
Deployed in July 2017 south east of Matiu/Somes Island, WRIBO carries a number of instruments which will feed back real-time, publically-available data. Its instruments measure currents, waves, salinity, temperature, sediment, oxygen, chlorophyll, ocean acidification and wind.
A high-visibility yellow buoy, WRIBO is three metres high and powered by solar panels.
The buoy is fitted with a variety of instruments to analyse harbour conditions at different depths. After periods of heavy rain, plumes from Hutt River carry sediments and nutrients from the Hutt catchment to Wellington Harbour. These river plumes are generally only one to two metres thick, so one instrument is positioned just below the surface of the water, with additional instruments throughout the water column and close to the seabed to measure changes in water quality and the speed and direction of water movement .
A key focus for Greater Wellington is making the data accessible to the public, and that information will start being streamed in real-time in the weeks following the buoy’s deployment. In the longer term, Greater Wellington hopes to see the data sit alongside information from other buoys across New Zealand, forming a national network.
GWRC and NIWA are working together to deliver the data to the public over the coming months – so watch this space! We’ll keep people updated via this webpage as well as Facebook and twitter on when live data streams are available.