Early warnings in the event of heavy rainfall prevents damage and saves lives
With the support of EDAG Production Solutions GmbH & Co.KG (EDAG PS), the District of Fulda launches its lighthouse project for an early warning system for heavy rainfall. As part of a program initiated by the state of Hesse, a multi-stage eRisk management project for an early warning system for heavy rainfall is being funded to the tune of € 830,000. Initially, it is to be rolled out in the four pilot towns of Eichenzell, Ebersburg, Burghaun and Neuhof before the end of 2022. At the end of next year, a total of 19 cities and towns in the district are then to follow suit.
The early warning system for heavy rainfall developed by Spekter GmbH from Herzogenaurach collects and evaluates the weather data from the sensors and measuring stations installed in real time. It is currently the only system on the market that, in the event of imminent danger, alerts the authorities, emergency services and citizens in several stages via app, email, text message or phone call. Especially where heavy rainfall is concerned, time is of the essence – emergency services can be informed in good time and can therefore protect the municipal properties affected, and the population.
In the project, which was funded by the Hessian Ministry for Digital Strategy and Development, Fulda's regional water authorities put together an interdisciplinary project team consisting of representatives from the Land Registry Office in Fulda, from Spekter and from EDAG PS.
EDAG PS and Spekter are jointly responsible for the implementation of the system. To this end, the EDAG PS team will have installed some 200 sensors by 2023: In sewers, on bridges, in public buildings and on rivers and lakes. The sensors are fully automated, and make various measurements including rainfall, water levels and drainage behavior. In the process, the data is bundled in a cloud and combined with data from the German Weather Service. If critical values are exceeded, the alarm chain is put in train. When the sensors are being mounted, they are adapted to the conditions in the different communities, taking heavy rainfall hazard maps and on-site inspections as the basis. This guarantees fail-safe installation of the sensors on roofs, bridges, in sewers and other locations.
"We are pleased to have been able to gain EDAG Production Solutions, with its extensive expertise, as a partner for these important tasks," said District Administrator Bernd Woide. Dirk Keller, Managing Director of EDAG PS stressed: "With the know-how we possess, there are many ways in which we can contribute to such a significant project. We are helping to ensure that our region is protected in the event of heavy rainfall or flooding."
EDAG PS has developed another important component in the project, namely a digital heavy rainfall participation platform. This is an interactive website that is already available for residents to use, so that they can report hazardous situations that have already occurred in the entire Fulda region. These might involve overflowing sewers, over-full ditches, and culverts clogged by wood or other debris. The data from these regional heavy rainfall hazard maps is transmitted to the relevant towns and/or authorities, where it can be evaluated and arrangements made for preventive countermeasures if necessary.
"In line with the motto 'many eyes see more', this early involvement helps to ensure that hazards are identified and remedied before heavy rainfall even occurs," explains Dirk Keller. According to District Administrator Bernd Woide, the importance and urgency of the pilot project are evident: "Unfortunately, flooded cellars, underpasses and streets were regular occurrences in the Fulda region last year in June. One of the reasons for this is our location Central German Uplands, where water cannot always drain away quickly and easily." For this reason, the local authorities decided that it was time to adopt new hazard prevention methods. Last year's flood disaster in the Ahr Valley also shows how important the project is in the Fulda region. "Here, it was made painfully clear just how quickly people can lose their possessions, and even their lives," said Woide. As the early warning system for heavy rainfall is to be extended to cover the entire Fulda region, a wide variety of conditions has been incorporated.
"We could therefore be receiving enquiries for the early warning system for heavy rainfall from cities, towns and local authorities in the near future," said Dirk Keller. EDAG PS would then be willing to act as an implementation partner, if required: "We have the necessary structures and capacities to be able to react promptly and quickly."
You can find out more about Fulda's heavy rainfall participation platform here.
Images: EDAG Production Solutions has already installed more than 60 sensors in the Fulda region. Photo: EDAG Group