IoT used to bolster UK flood defences
IoT used to bolster UK flood defences

IoT used to bolster UK flood defences

Nominet and Oxford Flood Network are using Internet of Things technologies to help prevent and mitigate flood damage in the UK.

The UK domain name registry has also launched an interactive, online map highlighting how technology can be used to improve flood defences anywhere in the world.

The project is currently being trialled in the Oxford area and uses IoT sensors to create a localised, early-warning system in flood-prone areas. More than 30 IoT devices are being employed to monitored water levels in the streams, groundwater and basins of both the Thames and Cherwell rivers. The data is then processed and combined with information collected by the Environment Agency before being presented in map form.

Ben Ward, director of the Flood Network, believes that more insights are likely to follow as the technology is expanded.

“This map will show the water situation at street level and help people to make better decisions as when a flood occurs, we can complement existing models with live observations on the ground,” he explained. “We’ve been working with great volunteers across the city to make the Flood Network happen, and we’re keen to get more on board to get an even clearer picture of Oxford’s water situation. As the network grows and connects more places, it gathers data which can be fed back to the authorities to improve flood models, leading to better defences and emergency responses.”

In order to ensure reliable communication between the IoT devices, some of which are located in hard-to-reach places, Nominet utilises its TV white space (TVWS) database to identify which frequencies can be used to transfer information. In addition, because the IoT sensors make use of existing Internet standards, like DNS, they represent an easily scalable solution. This is particular important not only for enhancements in the Oxford area, but also to bring the technology to other parts of the UK.

Just last week, the devastation in Cumbria from ‘Storm Desmond’ provided a timely reminder of the importance of reliable monitoring systems when it comes to limiting flood damage.