Low-cost sensor networks for flood and drought monitoring and forecasting

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Civil & Environmental Engineering


"Technological developments, such as wireless communication and the miniaturisation of electronics for computing and data storage, provide great opportunities for environmental sensing. This is of global importance: large parts of the world and developing regions in particular are still very data scarce in terms of environmental variables such as precipitation and streamflow.
At the same time, stressors such as environmental degradation, climate change, and population growth put increasing pressures on water resources and aggravate water-related risks.
This PhD project will study the potential of low-cost, real-time pervasive sensor networks to monitor drought and flood risk and to support mitigation and resilience-building actions.
A first part project will focus on the development and installation of prototypes of real-time low-cost water level sensors to monitor storm surges in rivers, as well as water availability in groundwater wells and reservoirs. For this, the project can draw upon previous expertise at Imperial College London in the use of a variety of technologies for water level sensing, with current applications in Peru, Nepal, Somalia, and Tanzania.
Subsequently, new hydraulic and hydrological models will be developed to process and analyse the data, and integrate them in end-user oriented solutions such as flood early warning systems, drought monitors, and derived products such as forecast-based financing.
Lastly, working closely with end-users, specific solutions and roadmaps for their integration in operational systems will be developed in collaboration with commercial partners such as local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). "


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