Smart stormwater drains reduce risk of flooding

Thursday, 29 March, 2018

Smart stormwater drains reduce risk of flooding

A collaboration between Downer, Fujitsu and EYEfi has successfully trialled a ‘smart drains’ solution that has the potential to significantly reduce the risk of flooding due to overflows from stormwater drains.

Piloted on Downer works for the Yarra Ranges Council in Victoria, the system uses a network of sonar and camera sensors to monitor water levels and potential flow rate within roadside stormwater drains, thus negating the need for manual inspections. It additionally provides real-time alerts to response and maintenance teams so blockages can be addressed before inundation occurs.

The Yarra Ranges Council faces a number of local flood management and drainage challenges, with over 4900 properties known to be at risk of flooding from waterways or underground drains. Adding to these challenges are long-term future pressures on the existing drainage system associated with urban consolidation and an increase in rainfall intensity, with approximately 7% of properties within the Yarra Ranges Council being prone to flooding.

The smart drains solution incorporates networked smart sensor, cloud technology and software developed by EYEfi to provide alerts for rising water every 15 minutes. It provides a dashboard view of input from all sensors to provide management with a clear view of drain infrastructure to identify areas of focus.

“Many of our stormwater pits, especially those in flood-prone areas, could be checked daily or several times per day,” said Yarra Ranges Mayor Len Cox. “This technology informs us quickly that there is a blockage so we can send someone there immediately and have it removed and cleaned before further flooding and complications arise. We are proud to be trialling this in the Yarra Ranges as an Australian first and, if the results are positive, we hope it can be adopted throughout the municipality.”

©EYEfi Pty Ltd 2018

The project came to fruition through a co-creation initiative in which Downer, Fujitsu and EYEfi invested in the development of the solution with a view to wider deployment to reduce the risk of flooding across Australia. The trial is currently exploring the potential of artificial intelligence, the IoT, cloud and security to innovate and minimise flooding events.

Simon Langdon, founder and CEO of EYEfi, said, “We are proud to be collaborating with Fujitsu and Downer to offer this world-first, end-to-end remote monitoring and intelligence gathering solution. This is an exciting adaptation of our Industrial IoT technology, as it solves several critical problems for end users, which is imperative when considering investing in technology solutions. We’re looking forward to the further deployment of the solution with Downer and Fujitsu’s customers.”

Jeff Sharp, group manager technology and innovation at Downer, added, “We had a concept that we believed would add value to our customers and provide a better service to their customers. We were excited to partner with EYEfi, Fujitsu and the Yarra Ranges Council to make this a reality. Downer is investing heavily in IoT solutions that we believe will drive better value for our customers and improve services, creating smarter cities.”

Mike Foster, chief executive officer, Fujitsu Australia, concluded, “This is an excellent example of how co-creation combines the best thinking from different disciplines to solve a real-world problem and create a better outcome for the community. It is great to see that our investment in this collaboration with Downer and EYEfi has the potential to reduce the risk of flood damage as we explore opportunities to deploy the technology across Australia.”

Image caption: Yarra Ranges Mayor Len Cox.

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