Floods are sometimes unpredictable and very powerful, but with the help of the Internet of Things (IoT) and early alerts and warnings technology, flood forecasting is not impossible. With early warnings, people can be removed from areas that might be flooded, and emergency management and first responder agencies can plan their resources and personnel accordingly.
Since LCRA is based in Austin, Texas, it has the experience of dealing with one of the riskiest flood areas in the nation. Central Texas, given its steep terrain, has shallow soil and high rainfall rates. FRG is leveraging LCRA’s expertise in managing floods through two separate projects:
The IoT low cost flood inundation sensors project is working on a sensor technology that monitors flood-prone areas in real-time and detects as well as alerts officials, industry leaders and citizens to potential threats. Business partners are designing a network of low–cost sensors, which will rapidly measure rising water.
The smart alerts project will enable first responders to receive data from the IoT flood sensors instead of having to physically assess the flood area. The project is developing a software technology to collect this data from flood sensors, analyze it and send it as geo-targeted alerts to the individuals who are affected by the event. This includes the public, first responders and emergency managers.
By early 2018, nearly 300 sensors will be delivered to S&T for field deployment, testing and evaluation. The cost of these sensors are expected to be 20 times less expensive than what is used today, at less than $1,000 per unit. S&T will work with LCRA and the industry performers to operationally assess the IoT flood sensors before commercialization and community adoption.