The storm is coming:  flood abatement sensors to the rescue


Posted on: January 7, 2020 by KJ Chugh

Cities today

With urbanization, cities today have either impermeable soils or coastal communities that regularly flood with moderate to heavy rains and high tides. In addition, a few coastal cities are experiencing land subsidence where the ground is sinking as sea level water is rising. According to FEMA, approximately 20%-25% of all economic losses resulting from flooding occur in areas not designated as being in a floodplain but rather a consequence of urban drainage.

Is There a Solution to Flooding?

In the event of heavy rainfall, flooding occurs when a city’s storm drainage system does not have the necessary capacity to drain away the rain. As a result, flooding is often due to clogged storm drains. With the advent of smart cities and IoT sensors, a flood abatement solution can monitor water levels of storm drains throughout the city. With the use of artificial intelligence, this monitoring solution can detect anomalies such as clogged drains due to debris. In addition, flood sensor data -- combined with weather monitoring sensor data -- can develop predictive analytics to provide city administrators with information on what may occur during a flood and provide early warning trigger alerts. This solution saves lives and reduces damage to land and property. It is also a tool that can be used for insurance and risk assessment while helping to improve best practices for flood protection equipment providers and first responders.

Flood Abatement

With a flood abatement solution, storm drain flooding can be monitored in real-time and can assist in areas of traffic redirection during heavy rainfall. The flood abatement sensor needs to have the following criteria for successful implementation:

1) Low Power: The CPU should have a deep sleep mode for a sub 1uA current consumption with Real-Time Clock (RTC). This functionality provided years of battery life. Typically, battery life can last from 6-10 years depending upon rechargeable features and maintenance-free sensors.

2) Waterproof: The sensor needs to be in a durable, waterproof enclosure and enable users to configure the sensing solution to their requirements.

3) Connectivity: NB-IoT, LoRa, and CAT1M power-saving feature allows for longer battery life.

4) Range Finder:  A ultrasonic range finder is a cost-effective solution for applications requiring precision range-finding, low voltage operation, space-saving, and IP67 rating for weather resistance. This results in a high level of accuracy and high-resolution ultrasonic proximity detection and ranging in air.

Flood Abatement Architecture Diagram

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About KJ Chugh

Head of Smart Cities


KJ Chugh is the Head of Smart Cities for Atos North America. He and his team are relentlessly focused on efforts helping clients with smart city strategies, integrating technologies to benefit users and service providers, and making cities resilient and sustainable with a high livability experience. Prior to Atos, KJ led Nokia’s Smart Cities Business Development practice. Prior to Nokia, KJ managed smart cities strategy engagements for global clients at PwC Consulting where he assisted city governments create smart city strategy and blueprints. KJ has more than 12 years in telecommunications working at AT&T, Motorola and Broadcom Semiconductors. He has an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University and master’s and bachelor’s in electrical engineering from University of Arizona.
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