OTT HydroMet

Dam monitoring in South Africa - Case study


Courtesy of OTT HydroMet

The purpose of the Komati River Basin Development Project is to ensure the availability of water in order to promote economic development in the region. OTT’s part of the project was to supply dataloggers for the monitoring of the river flows into and out of the Maguga and the Driekoppies dams.

The technical needs were high-level:

  • Technology designed specifically for environmental monitoring applications
  • Robust in construction for long-term deployment
  • Long-life internal power source
  • Small installation footprint
  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Remote data transmission capabilities; GSM or satellite
  • Software system that is compatible with customer’s IT infrastructure
  • Flexible data management and data handling


Tasks of the project included:

  • Evaluating the hydrology of the Komati Basin to determine water availability
  • Developing and implementing decision support systems to optimize water allocation/supply
  • Facilitating communication between KOBWA and stakeholders on system operation

Monitoring Solution

Design of the monitoring system:

  • 9 ecolog800 units and 2 ecoLog500 units were deployed at flow measuring points within the KOBWA water management area. All equipment was installed at existing sites in South Africa and Swaziland with the rivers crossing borders of both countries
  • Parameters are recorded at 15 min intervals and reported every four hours via GSM/GPRS using FTP transfer to a secure server hosted by OTT.
  • The ecoLog units had to be specially modified to allow for installation in pipes. The vented cables had to be cut, pulled into the cable pipes and then specially prepared and joined in housings specified by OTT Hydromet in Kempten.

Software components:

  • OTT Hydras3 + RX software was installed on a local PC at the KOBWA offices at Driekoppies Dam, Schoemansdal, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.
  • Data is retrieved via an internet connection using FTP format and the database is populated automatically.
  • Hydras3 software provides graphical interface and data export functions into other formats (text, Excel).

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