About the Project

Urban Floods

Floods are the biggest and the most severe natural disasters we face often. Floods result in loss of life and property, and in some cases, may lead to health emergencies too. Floods in urban areas are much devastating, and can even cripple the economy of the state. Ironically, most floods are not caused by weather, but by human activities like deforestation and mindless urbanisation, which have stripped away some of the free but essential services provided by the environment.

Indian cities have witnessed tremendous growth in the last few decades, accompanied by a corresponding rise in urban population. Unfortunately, infrastructure development has failed keep pace with the economic and population growth, resulting in mismanagement of resources. Changing rainfall patterns, due to both natural and man-made causes, have only made the situation worse. Cities' drainage infrastructure, coupled with soil erosion, have proved ineffective in the face of intense rainfall, making flash floods a common occurrence.

'Integrated Urban Flood Management in India – Technology Driven Solutions' aims to change this situation by leapfrogging from the current, poorly managed state to a highly efficient, technology-driven automated end-to-end management of urban floods.

The project aims to develop solutions by taking into account all the ground conditions including clogging, sewerage in drains, and space constraints. It also proposes to develop a real time flood forecasting model, which gets inputs from sensors placed at different parts of the city. The flood situation can be displayed on a computer screen using the geographical information systems (GIS), in real time. The system will also incorporate appropriate algorithms to expedite operational decisions, and enable faster communication to the stakeholders using mobile phone and internet.

The objectives of the project are:

  • To develop real-time flood forecasting models for urban areas in the country, assimilating data and information from satellite products, automatic weather stations and state-of-the-art numerical weather prediction and hydrologic models.
  • To develop operational models for real-time management of urban drainage systems using water level sensors and control systems algorithms integrated with GIS.
  • To develop models and methodologies for communicating the forecasts to different levels of decision making mechanisms.
  • To project the likely changes in the frequencies of high intensity rainfall using extreme value theory and stochastic weather generators and to examine the adequacy of capacity of the existing structural measures to cope with the changing climate.
  • To demonstrate the application of the models and the end-to-end implementation integrating the models-sensors-decision framework through a pilot project.
  • To lead the development of post-flood management training and educational material.
  • To create public awareness programs and involve communities in preparedness and post-flood rescue and recovery process.

What are the Research problems which we are solving?

  • Develop real-time flood forecasting models using data and information from satellite products, automatic weather stations and state-of-the-art numerical weather prediction and hydrologic models.
  • Develop operational models for real-time management of urban drainage systems using water level sensors and control systems algorithms integrated with GIS.
  • Develop low cost rainfall and water level sensors.
  • Project the likely changes in the frequencies of high intensity rainfall using extreme value theory and to examine the adequacy of capacity of the existing structural measures to cope with the changing climate.
  • Develop a overland 2D model and integrate with GIS in obtaining the flood maps.
  • Examine the adequacy of capacity of the existing storm water drains under climate change.
  • Developing low cost water level sensors and communication systems.
  • Develop a comprehensive decision support system for flood mitigation.

Proposed Approach

Figure: Proposed Approach.

The Novelty and Innovation in the Project:

Integrated Urban Flood Management in India – Technology Driven Solutions, brings together a range of technologies to solve the problem of urban flooding. The team comprises of meteorologists who develop newer models for better weather forecasts, engineering researchers to build low cost sensors, and, develop appropriate control algorithms. From the beginning, the project has representation from municipal bodies to ensure a proper understanding of the ground realities. To meet the future human resource requirements, the Project is already working on a multi-disciplinary curriculum development. The project also plans to develop custom software to suit local needs, thereby changing the way government bodies respond to societal needs.