Challenge / Goal
Urban pluvial floods occur when heavy rainfall exceeds the capacity of a city’s drainage system. In the case of extreme rainfall, rapid and abundant rainwater runoff from sealed surfaces is the dominating mechanism that leads to pluvial flooding. Due to their rapid onset and their localised nature, such floods cause significant damage to a city’s natural and built environment, and are difficult to manage.
To prevent such events, it is important to understand and predict when and where flooding might happen. To do so, local authorities need high resolution information and models for rapid and timely simulation of flood forecasts.
This is why we created the FloodCitiSense mobile and web app. Developed with citizens and city authorities, the app aims at feeding such models with a large, spatially explicit database. This includes real-time observations of rainfall intensity and collected information on the impacts of pluvial flooding. You can learn more about our app in the video.
In each city, we set up Urban Living Labs together with citizens, local institutions and other stakeholders to co- create the various solutions developed during the project.
In pilot cities, citizens played central, active role by gathering the necessary alternative rainfall data to fulfil the need for spatially distributed measurements.
--> With the FloodCitiSense app (available in Plastore & Appstore), citizens can make reports of rainfall intensity and impacts on the go.
--> Citizens placed low-cost rainfall sensors at home to help fill the gaps in cities, network of official rain gauges.
Two citizen observations were organized in each pilot city, in the summer of 2018 and in the winter of 2019, respectively. Each workshop recruited 15-25 participants, training them to ensemble the rainfall sensors and to use the FloodCitiSense App. As a result, about 60 first-generation sensors and 60 second-generations sensors have been installed in Birmingham, Brussels, and Rotterdam. Local citizens also learned to use the self-designed app to report urban flooding by sending photos and texts.
Citizens also took part in the final progress and final evaluations of the project.
Want to learn more about the lessons learned, financial details and results?