The monsoon woes of Bengaluru, Mumbai, and other cities are always a huge challenge to tackle for respective municipal corporations. But looks like, their cries are heard at last. Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Center (KSNDMC) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have together found a technical solution for this persistent problem, and they call it Water Level Sensor.
The team consisting of 8 members each from both institutions includes scientists, survey experts, technical experts, and others. They came together to find a practical solution for the city’s woes. “We started by studying the urban flood model,” says Dr Shubha Avinash, Scientific Officer, KSNDMC who played a pivotal role in the project.
“Water level sensors were first designed and used in June, 2019. The research and implementation of the technology was tried and tested. We were regularly monitoring water levels in stormwater drains and rainfall as well using KSNDMC data. That would give a calculation of the capacity of the drain and we could draw a conclusion on what level is alarming," Dr Avinash said.
“Under pilot study, the installation went on till December of 2019 and we continued testing and upgrading after that. The device the size of our palm and will go unnoticed. It is installed under the bridge and places like that. Initially, the team installed 26 sensors at various places in Bengaluru," Dr Avinash added.
Water level and capacity of drain are both calculated. Once the drain reaches 75% mark, the civic body is alerted immediately. The rescue team or storm water drain wing of BBMP takes necessary action accordingly. KSNDMC has real-time data of rain and the device uses this info to calculate if water levels will rise due to continues showers and drain can hold that much quantity of flow. The calculation is made location specific and hence is accurate, explains Dr Shubha Avinash.
The pilot project has been successful and is expanded now. BBMP has finished survey of stormwater drains in Bengaluru and has zeroed in 105 spots to install the devices. A tender will be flouted shortly and 105 devices are expected to be in place by the end of July.
Instrument safety is the only concern for the team now. Though the device is placed on the walls of the stormwater drains, other related equipment like sensor, receiving panel, and batteries are placed outside in a safer place. The device runs on solar power, but a battery backup is also provided to keep it running on cloudy days.
This is a smart way to tackle urban floods and promises effective management of rains this season. With water-clogged streets and loss of life and property year after year, technical help is definitely the need of the hour. Once implemented full-fledged in Bengaluru, these devices may as well be borrowed by other cities.