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Bengaluru: Sensor-based system can alert about urban flood

Civic agencies as well as citizens may soon be able to get warnings about flooding, be it in Namma Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, or even Delhi.

Published: 09th September 2017 02:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th September 2017 09:09 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Civic agencies as well as citizens may soon be able to get warnings about flooding, be it in Namma Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, or even Delhi. The Karnataka State Natural Disaster Management Centre (KSNDMC), along with Indian Institute of Science (IISc), has come up with a sensor-based system which will alert the authorities and people living near flood-prone areas through text messages.  The `7.5 crore project has been approved by the Union government.

In the BBMP limits, there are 633 storm water drains running to a length of 842 km. Of these, primary drains constitute 142 km and secondary drains run to a lenght of 426 km. The city drains can take 80 mm rain, but due to encroachment and poor maintenance, the capacity has been reduced to 35-40 mm of rain. “In most cities, including Bengaluru, if there is 12.5 mm of rain in 15 minutes, some parts will be vulnerable to flooding,’’ KSNDMC Director Srinivas Reddy said.

Reddy says the unique flood warning system has been developed by KSNDMC, IISc and a Bengaluru-based private firm. “The Union Ministry for Science and Technology had invited various innovations. There were over 200 applications from across the country of which 19 were selected and ours is one them.” Reddy said they have rain gauges at 100 locations across BBMP limits that will tell us how much rainfall was recorded in a particular area. With the help of sensors fitted in storm water drains, they can get a better picture of flooding too.

“The local civic authority should give us details about the original depth and width of the drains. The sensors will give us precise data on how much water is flowing and how much more water the drains can take. This will also give us a picture of how much silt is filled in a drain. Periodically, we can alert the civic agency which can remove silt making flow of rain water easier,’’ he added.

Explaining further, Reddy said the sensors will send them colour-coded alerts. “Yellow being mildly vulnerable, followed by orange and then red being the highest level of warning. When water fills a drain and overflows, a red alert is sent. This warning is sent as SMS alerts to civic agencies,’’ he added. This can be used by civic agencies to send out alerts to residents residing vulnerable areas, he added.

How it works

Shubha Avinash, Project Scientist, Hydrology Section at KSNDMC said the sensors are fitted in the drain and the data can be read on another mounted equipment outside the drain.  The mounted equipment works on solar energy. “We can set the sensors for each drain depending on its capacity. Once the water flow crosses the threshhold, an alert will be sent to the respective civic agencies. A loudspeaker can also be fitted along with sensors, which can sound alerts for the benefit of people residing close by. All these sensors are GPS-enabled ,’’ she said.

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