Robin Guy from OTT HydroMet believes that the worst effects of extreme weather can be mitigated by effective monitoring and alarm technologies. “Intense rainfall can be the precursor to flooding, and many of the monitoring networks that we supply include real-time precipitation monitors.”
“However, it is also necessary to monitor groundwater and surface water levels because flooding can be caused by a variety of other issues such as high tides in coastal areas, blocked or poorly designed drains and culverts, and even snow melt.”
Natural Flood Management (NFM) is now regarded as a more effective and sustainable strategy than traditional methods involving engineered flood defence infrastructure. Under NFM flood risk is addressed on a wider catchment scale so that upstream initiatives do not have negative effects further downstream.
This catchment based approach has meant that water managers are increasingly looking for solutions that employ techniques which work with natural hydrological and morphological processes and features to manage flood waters. These NFM techniques include the restoration, enhancement and alteration of natural features such as flood plains, which can help to lower peak flow and decrease flood risk. Both traditional and NFM measures can benefit enormously from the latest monitoring and communications systems.
The latest meteorological and hydrological monitoring networks employ robust sensors that are able to operate remotely on extremely low power levels with long intervals between service or calibration.
As Guy says, these technologies “are able to deliver timely warnings for extreme events; creating windows of opportunity for mitigation measures to protect lives and important assets.”