Urban flooding is a global phenomenon posing a big challenge for many of our countries due to deficiency of sufficient drainage infrastructure. Problems connected with urban floods range from localized to major incidents, resulting in cities being inundated to a few hours to several days. The overflow-related impact can be widespread, including damage of civic properties, relocation of peoples, deterioration of water bodies, the spread of epidemics and so on.
The City of Kolkata
Situated along the banks of the river Hooghly, the metropolis of Kolkata is the largest urban centre in the state of West Bengal and also the seventh biggest in India. The metropolis is a dominant commercial and financial hub of Eastern India. Still, the urban centre is also one among the world’s most flood-prone coastal cities. Global Warming and Climate Change have put the city at profound risk of serious and intense rainfalls during monsoons and cyclones.
Kolkata’s flat deltaic land in the form of a bowl is among the major cause of recurrent flooding in the region along with poor urban planning and development, encroachment of water bodies, inadequate drainage systems, an increase in extreme weather events, and lack of preparedness being others ravaging the metro city.
With the vision to assist, construct the city of Kolkata smart, safe and resilient, the authorities of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), proposed for a Comprehensive City-Level Flood Forecasting and Early Warning System to manage recurrent floods efficiently. The design and implementation of the Flood Forecasting and Early Warning System were funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
M/s TARU Leading Edge Pvt. Ltd was awarded the job to enforce the entire task for which it floated a tender to carry out the work. We, Phoenix Robotix Private Limited, specialized in providing complete IoT based solutions submitted the quotation with our solution and were qualified based on our experience and expertness.
The most challenging part of the project was to design a monitoring system from the Kolkata city perspective. The core city has several lifting pumping stations to drain out the surplus of accumulated rain waters through outfall drainage channels into the river Kultigong, but due to the tidal nature of the river, the drainage canals suffer badly in discharging water.
Thus, in order to ameliorate the existing drainage capabilities, the entire drainage system of the city needed to be modified which would have cost a great deal of time and money.
Thus, maintaining the limitations in view an alternate option was designed that would expect into the total of rainfall happening in the city at any period of time, how much of the water is pulled out with the help of pumping systems and how much water is staying back, therefore minimizing the sufferings of people during rainfalls by raising awareness of the peoples through web/mobile applications and public display boards.
The Aurassure solution for flood management is an automated flood monitoring and warning system consisting of a wide range of sensor nodes utilizing IoT & Big Data technologies. The system also consists of an automated notification and warning systems that can effectively disseminate flood warning information’s to help decision-makers and authorities to prepare and mitigate cities during a possible result of a catastrophe.
Deployment of The Project
A citywide survey was held out and 450+ locations were identified to deploy sensor nodes to gather and transmit inundation level data. The sensors were deployed at different vulnerable locations of the urban places which usually gets flooded during an event of heavy rainfall and rising tide. The locations include installation of devices at sewerages, drainages and pump stations to monitor the functional condition of the pump (on/off) and also the water levels at penstocks and sumps. The sensing elements are also outfitted with local trips and warning devices to warn the pump operators whenever the water level goes beyond the allowable levels.
The real-time information collection system was an indispensable component of the proposed flood forecasting and warning system aimed at providing real-time information over the net to enable preventive actions and reaction.
The system includes a GSM communication system for uninterrupted data transmission from sensors in real-time to cloud/local servers. Dual SIM facilities were provided for most of the critical nodes for uninterrupted transmission of data, with data backup of more than 2 days in case the GSM network breaks down.
The data gathered by the nodes (with GPS location tag) are transmitted to our IoT platform where the data is stored and analysed. This analyzed data can be visualized through our interactive and user-friendly dashboards for easy reading of information. The IoT platform allows the user to check trending data from sensors in real-time and receive word of advice and notifications whenever parameters threshold is breached. Our dashboard built for the metropolis of Kolkata allows users to determine the status of the sensors every 15 minutes and receive notifications, alerts in case the threshold parameters are breached. This comprehensive early warning system offers the citizens real-time information about the condition of the city during an event of rainfall. Additionally, the city and traffic authorities will deliver access to information in order to produce and analyze statistics to better manage city utilities and vehicular congestions. The application platform also allows users to remotely configure, calibrate and debug the device (through domain name) thus reducing the manual time and effort on the site.
Aurassure flood forecasting and early warning system is the first-ever comprehensive city level early warning system in India, designed to provide forecasts as well as real-time updates from sensor nodes.
“The system is singular in the sense they are accompanied by environment and weather sensors for year-round environmental monitoring, providing information on temperature, humidity and air quality across the city”
The information availed from the sensor nodes will help facilitate informed decision-making before and during and after an event of a disaster.
This comprehensive city level disaster and environmental monitoring can be used to address larger urban climate variability related challenges and will reduce economic loss and impacts on livelihood, improving flood awareness and safety at the community level.
The data generated will be automatically analyzed with global information system data of Kolkata city and the information will then be shared with citizens and community groups through mobile alerts and radio/television messaging, to help them plan their daily activities, such as commuting, based on early warning and real-time inundation status.
**The Flood Forecasting and Early Warning System #FFEWS were unveiled by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation #KMC on September 27th, 2018 in presence of Asian Development Bank Officials #ADB. The officials of both ADB and Kolkata municipality were happy and satisfied with our solution. The system facilitates plug-n-play features with the possibility of adding more sensors and data points so that the system can be enlarged in future as required.