Real-time monitoring in Moldova

A project under NATO's Science for Peace programme to develop monitoring and modelling data for the water quality management of two central European rivers is about to go live

Under a new NATO funded Science for Peace programme project, Moldova, Ukraine, Romania and Portugal have been working together to develop a real-time monitoring and decision support system for the management of two central European rivers, the Prut and Nistru.

The project builds on an earlier NATO-funded project involving Portugal to develop methodologies for water resources development and management in Moldova. This latest project, due for delivery this month, aims to fill information gaps in water quality and quantity for mathematical modelling, civil service alert systems for floods and pollution incidents and for more efficient river basin management.

The NATO country project director is Professor Joaquim Pocas Martins, professor of water resources and environmental management at the University of Porto. Professor Martins was previously secretary of state for the environment for Portugal and had worked closely with the NATO partner country project director, professor Arcadie Capcelea who was then minister of the environment in Moldova. Professor Capcelea was recently replaced as project director by Professor Gheorge Dulca, the current minister of environment in Moldova. The NATO consultant to the project is Dr Tim Lack of WRc who has extensive experience of working in Moldova and eastern Europe.

In collaboration with the Ministries of the Environment for Moldova, Ukraine and Romania, Professor Martins and Dr Lack drew up specification for the project to install and commission two monitoring stations on the Prut and two on the Nistru. Data derived from the system is transmitted to a central monitoring and logging site in the capital Chisinau and relayed to the centres in the Ukraine and Romania.

An invitation to tender was made to a selection of international companies specialising in water quality monitoring and after a full financial and technical assessment Phoenix Instrumentation was awarded the contract.

The project involved the design, build, delivery, installation and commissioning of the stations which comprise the following elements:

  • a drop-down environmen-tally controlled glass reinforced plastic (GRP) building,
  • a six-parameter monitoring system with sampler,
  • the sample acquisition system,
  • logging and re-transmission system.

Each station incorporates automatic cleaning of sensors and sample lines with compressed air and biocide. Although initially configured to measure only six parameters (dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, turbidity, temperature and river level) the stations have been designed to accommodate additional parameters, such as ammonia and organic pollution, at a later date.

Acknowledging the long-term nature of this project, NATO has committed additional resources for local training and a spares and support programme that will give high levels of valid data.

As Moldova is landlocked the systems are being transported by road in a flat pack form and Phoenix engineers will be on hand to supervise delivery and commence the installation and commissioning. The objective is to complete the whole programme in the first week of November 2001 before the adverse winter conditions set in.


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