VT lead flood monitoring research in Academic-Industry Collaboration
VT, along with researchers from Trinity College Dublin, and Dublin City Council have deployed smart sensor technology to prevent flooding in at-risk areas around the city. Testing is being performed to see how these sensors can be used to benefit local inhabitants in areas of frequent flooding. Flood events are a growing issue in Ireland with regular floods along the Shannon and in Cork which are particularly costly to residents and businesses. VT’s IoT sensors can be more widely deployed than previous sensor models as they have extended battery life, can communicate over longer distances and are more affordable. When river levels rise to pre-set threshold levels, the sensors send out a warning on the user on the website, via email and SMS. Sensors are placed on a number of rivers around Dublin with the data then being analysed by PhD researchers in TCD.
- Communicate flood warnings with stakeholders
- Need a more efficient way to monitor river water levels
- Device must be low-power for long battery life
Irish cities are primarily built on the coast at river mouths to allow for trading and ease of travel, this does however lead to regular pluvial, fluvial and coastal flooding. The development of a flood warning sensor network will ensure that local inhabitants are kept informed of early flood warnings to help minimise damage to public and private property. The sensors have been deployed along the major rivers servicing Dublin including the Tolka, the Liffey, and the Dodder among others.
With SIGFOX connectivity and the Dunraven Apollo level sensors, our researchers are able to work with DCC to deploy the devices, receive river level readings and trigger alarms when flood water surpasses a designated threshold point. This allows flood resilience operations to more efficiently monitor the status of their at-risk areas, cutting down on manpower while protecting homes and business.
These level sensors can also be used to set thresholds that can be used to warn for over consumption in reservoirs, leaks or for ordering in more water supplies in the event of a drought.
The sensors use state of the art low power sensing, Sigfox radio technology to provide an efficient internet connected sensors for industry. This technology is low maintenance and efficient with up to ten years of battery life.
The sensors must be left in the river for long periods of times so that expected levels can be measured and thresholds set, they therefore require a long battery life. SIGFOX technology is the most energy efficient form of connectivity on the market. Batteries in SIGFOX-enabled devices can last up to 300 times longer than those in cellular modules.
VT’s network covers 97% of Ireland, making it ideal for river locations at source in remote areas where cellular reception can be an issue. Each sensor speaks directly to one or more base stations (comms towers), so no pairing or complicated setup is required.
As a result of this collaboration with TCD and DCC flood data will be available to be used by anyone as it is affordable and deployment is straightforward. End users can check river levels online while local authorities and municipalities will benefit from the profiling data that is so important in understanding river and tidal behaviour in real time.
These types of smart sensors provide an efficient way to protect against flood damage. VT’s low-power, long-range SIGFOX network allowed the flood sensors be deployed almost anywhere along Irish rivers and as a battery powered device they can be left in situ for constant level monitoring for years on end.
Data collected from the sensors can provide vital information in relation to the behaviour of our rivers, how they flow and how these flows are affected by rainfall. Past heavy rainfall events can be analysed to reveal the effect on water levels at various points in the catchment. When used as a predictive tool, this data can allow authorities and individuals to react pre-emptively, rather than reactively, to predicted heavy rainfall.
For more information on the VT flood research or the sensors themselves please get in touch at email@example.com