Government Professional

Farm Dam Survey

1200671842?profile=originalI've been doing Detail surveys followed by set-out for roads mainly here in Australia and railways before that in Zimbabwe. Then off my own bat I did a 2 lot subdivision here of my 30 acre Australian property. Which involved designing a 400 metre driveway with 4 culverts etc. As part of this process I was required to make my three dams smaller to meet the required 0.75megalitre per lot as part of the development approval conditions. So I filled in one smallish dam and was able to purchase a water entitlement for the remaining two dams so that I didn't have to do any earthworks like lowering the spillways etc. They are not big dams but are a good size for the two fifteen acre blocks which now have a dam in each block. They are about 2.5 megalitres each plus or minus. After a quick chat to the New South Wales Office of Water I learned that I am allowed to do silt removal etc to maintain the water entitlement for which I paid a small fortune. As you can imagine I am not allowed to make it any bigger than the 2.5 megalitres. So now the fun begins. I need to survey it to see if I have more or less than the 2.5 megalitres. Has anyone done any farm dam surveys with the water in them? I have never done any Hydro surveys before and my personal equipment I have at my disposal is a flat-bottom canoe, a hundred metre tape, an old analogue theodolite, a 5metre staff. ranging rods. I'm sure there is a cartoon in there somewhere. Jokes aside. I can borrow the Topcon GR3 GPS set up from work or the Topcon robotic total station. But I might just end up setting up a perimeter grid which is about 60m x 60m on the aerial imagery. Then take depth readings along the knotted rope etc. I would love to hear your ideas and stories if there are any. 

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  • Hello Kevin,

    The closest I came to that is a boundry survey in Maine,USA. The land is covered with water due to glacial till.  The boundry of this persons property was a good sized stream. It took three of us, one set up on the knoll with a total station and the other two in the canoe trying to maintain shots at the approximate center of the stream. It was a challenging but the survey turned out ok. I cannot see any other way given the tools you have then try to establish a grid...If it was me, I would lay out the grid lines similar to building corner batter boards, prominent raised monuments of some kind that you can align yourself to in x and y directions, calculate way points for your grid to stake to. The water will not be moving fast ? Taking soundings at x,y by hand, I'd add some kind of weight. I know this is all common sense but It sounds like a good survey that I would like to be part of, probably take a lot of cold ones! lol


    I work at a mine and we recently got Ocean Science Z-Boat, see attached. I attended a training class and had the boat in the water. Very interesting...this would certainly complete your survey. In any event Good Luck and let me know how it turns out!


    rlshound, Paul

    • Government Professional

      Hey thanks Paul,

      Great story and link to the article, Isn't surveying getting more techno and fun too. UAV's now sonar etc.I have set up a 60metre x 60metre square of hardwood pegs at 5m spacings I have knoted a run of Telecom rope at 5m intervals to tie between the pegs from on side to the other. I have a known SSM nearby which almost overlooks my dam. I will use the GPS gear with a speciial foot (which I will have to make) on the rover pole so that it doesn't sink in the silt. Once I have the detail survey I will load it into CivilCAD and select the level of my overflow and creat a design (maximum water level) and run the report which should give me the volume of water similar to getting the cut and fill from a normal road design. I spent last Sunday fixing the holes in my fibreglass canoe. One step closer!!

      Thanks again Paul.

    • Hey Kevin, Good idea about tying off, was thinking about that....although when I first read your story I thought the knotted rope was for the soundings. What do you think the max depth of your water will be? Cool way to use the level water as a datum, you couldn't ask for a more level plane...yup cut/fills...Awesome Kevin....Have a good survey!  Paul

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