With the rainy season set in, the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) is planning to install sensors to alert danger marks in stormwater drains in Bengaluru.
According to KSNDMC, the sensors will be solar-powered and will transmit real-time information on the water level in the stormwater drains to the city’s civic body, Bruhath Bengaluru Mahnagaera Palkie (BBMP) to take further action.
On a pilot basis along with the collaboration with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bengaluru, KSNDMC has already installed 28 sensors in the city which includes Vrishabhavathi valley, Hebbal valley and Koramangala valley.
Speaking to Indianexpress.com, a senior officer from the KSNDMC said, “This sensor system will issue a warning when the water level in stormwater drains in the city reaches the danger mark. The warnings will be sent to BBMP via SMS; the civic body can immediately respond to it by sending their team to help the residents and take action.”
According to the officer, the system, which is in place in three important valleys of the city, is helping civic agencies to tackle rain-related issues. “After the pilot project we had started last year, we have decided to expand this sensor system in other SWD’s in the city,” the officer added.
KSNDMC and BBMP have already identified a total of 105 locations where such sensors will be installed. “The water level sensors will be fitted along the 804-km stormwater drain network in the city to issue flood warning. The BBMP has identified 209 flood-prone areas in the city, of which 58 have been classified as hyper-sensitive/ highly vulnerable and 151 as sensitive or vulnerable spots. The data from the sensors will be transmitted in real-time and will be colour coded: green or blue to indicate normal water level, red to indicate danger level and black to indicate flooding,” the officer explained.
The KSNDMC has fixed the sensors by using simulation models and on-site measurements of the stormwater drain, the carrying capacity of the drains was calculated and thresholds fixed. “When the water level reaches the threshold, the sensors will transmit SMS messages to the civic body,” an official added.
BBMP officials said that the sensor system which is already in place in 28 spots in three valleys is able to help the civic body to find out the water level and help in case there is an overflowing of water in the stormwater drains. An official from BBMP control room said, “the sensors which are in place from last year in the 28 places is giving us the real-time data about the water level and the immediate message once the water reaches the threshold so we can be prepared and our officials on the field can take immediate action to prevent loss of life or property by evacuating people to safer ground.”
According to officials, by next month the sensors are likely to be installed in 105 locations in the city. The KSNDMC has already floated a tender for the sensors at Rs 2 crore, which includes installation of these water level sensors, backend hardware and software work, and human resource to manage it and other things.
Last year, the KSNDMC had launched ‘Bengaluru Megha Sandesha’, a mobile app, which provides near real-time data on rain forecasts and flood forecasts for Bengaluru city. The mobile app is developed in partnership with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and funded by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. The app provides data on three main modules: live weather, forecast, and safe routes.