Extraordinary flood risks require extraordinary technology
A variety of factors make the Philippines, and especially the Manila region, among the most flood prone in the world. Tropical rains flow rapidly from mountain uplands to the Manila basin where dense urbanization accelerates run-off. To make matters worse, Manila is built on lowlands that are getting lower due to ground water extraction and the weight of urban concrete and steel. As a result, typhoon storm surges can now extend up to 20 km inland. In addition to these weather risks, the Philippine coast is predicted to experience a Tsunami up to 10 meters high in this century.
To cope with these extraordinary flood risks, the Philippine Department of Science and Technology (DOST) launched the National Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) program. NOAH uses the latest mapping, sensor, communications and computing technology to provide vulnerable communities with at least 6 hours notice of impending flooding. “What we wish to achieve is to save lives and property using brainpower and the latest tools” says DOST Assistant Secretary and co-executive director of NOAH, Raymund E. Liboro.
NOAH projects incorporate a wide range of advanced technologies, including LIDAR 3D terrain mapping and Web Geographic Information Systems, weather data collection and forecasting systems, Internet-accessible flood information networks and an entire spectrum of remote sensors and communications systems.
Senix Ultrasonic Water Level Sensors
For water level sensors, NOAH relies on Senix ToughSonic ultrasonic sensors. ToughSonic sensors are deployed on hundreds of coastal tide gauge platforms that provide tsunami and tropical storm surge warning data. They are also deployed on similar platforms that monitor flooding on the archipelago’s 258 rivers. The newest flood warning system is being deployed to monitor flooding on urban streets.
The Philippine Metro Advanced Traveler Information System (PhilMATIS) combines urban water level monitoring stations with sophisticated traffic reporting systems to warn residents and to re-direct traffic away from more than 180 flood-prone streets. By routing traffic to safe streets based on real-time water level and traffic data, communities can avoid the paralyzing traffic jams that can increase risks to life and property and severely hamper emergency response efforts.
Senix has provided ToughSonic water level sensors to DOST programs since 2008. The built-in flexibility and configurability of ToughSonic sensors allow researchers to fine tune a configuration for each unique flood monitoring application. Once a sensor configuration is established, it is simply copied to subsequent sensors for fast and consistent sensor commissioning. The combination of flexible configuration, easy commissioning and durability in harsh coastal environments has helped DOST expand and maintain these cutting-edge systems.