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 localized 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.
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Planning time: 1 - 2 years
Implementation time: 2 - 5 years
City authorities and citizens from the 3 pilot cities. Citizens have been actively involved in the monitoring of rainfall and pluvial flooding, making use of low-cost sensors and web-based technologies. Project partners: VUB-HYDR (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Department of hydrology and hydraulic engineering); TU Delft (Delft University of Technology); - ICL (Imperial College London); IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis); VUB-SMIT (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Studies on Media, Innovation and Technology); EGEB (Etats Généraux de l'Eau à Bruxelles); LGiU (Local Government information Unit); RainPlusPLus Ltd.; RPS Group; Disdrometrics B.V. > now: BluChain; TaipeiTech (National Taipei University of Technology).
The project coordinator VUB-HYDR and the app developper IASSA collaborate to keep the app available for up to 1 year after the end of the project. Flood reports can be created everywhere around the world, but there is no will at this stage to extend the notification feature beyond the pilot cities. The coding for the app is open source (Github).
Citizens and city authorities. Citizens give their input via- and benefit from the mobile and web app. When operationnal, the FloodCitiSense tools can facilitate urban management by helping city autorities to (1) take appropriate decisions before and after flood events and (2) interact directly with citizens (e.g. flood warnings).