Emergency Water Information Network (EWIN)

Flooding is a global problem and as a representative example, Mexico is currently struggling to manage flood situations which are increasing in regularity and severity. Many developing countries have substandard flood monitoring infrastructure. However, in common with the UK, they have state-of-the-art cellular mobile phone systems. In this research, expertise in water engineering and radio communications from the UK and Mexico have been combined to design a cost effective flood forecasting system based on hydrology sensing and mobile networks. Recent events such as hurricane Patricia in Mexico (October 2015) has emphasised the need for systems that can predict the dynamic behaviour of large-scale water flows. Currently, management of flood situations in many developing countries is carried out through prediction of water behaviour (Hydro Meteorological Warning System). This system is based on estimates of rainfall, runoff and water levels. In Mexico two central registers and rain measuring stations are used to gather data. The data collected is compared with pre-established risk thresholds which determine whether a warning should be issued. In general, the rainy season in Mexico occurs during the summer and fall, starting in May and ending in October. Along the main waterways, the change in state is dynamic between dry and rainy both in terms of the water volume in the channels and the vegetation on the banks. Vegetation in Mexico is normally sparse but grows quickly and in abundance during the rainy season. During flood events, new rivers form along river beds that are normally empty. These conditions are typical of flooding in many countries. In order to develop a real time flood forecasting system, several areas of research need to be investigated. These include: data sensing at the appropriate location and time, wireless transmission of flood data, sensor data fusion, model generation and prediction at the remote weather station. This multidisciplinary research project is addressing each of these areas by employing UK expertise in Water Engineering and Radio Communications to complement the research base in Mexico.

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CC BY-NC-ND 4.0