Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Inundated with the right information to protect against floods

17.05.2004


The floods of 1997 and 2002 devastated much of Europe. But can we learn and be better prepared to cope with future extreme weather? The IST project OSIRIS has developed some practical solutions to help address the challenge.



The so-called ’Flood of the Century’ in 1997, caused havoc the length of the Oder valley, flooding swathes of land in Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. The death toll was 55; the cost of damages estimated at some 3.5 billion euro; and the human cost, in terms of the trauma and loss of property and possessions, unquantifiable.

Some five years later, intense rainfall and violent storms caused another equally, if not more, devastating floods across vast areas of southern and eastern Europe, in particular in the Elbe river basin.


Three pilots in two river basins

The OSIRIS project responded by targeting citizens, enterprises, local authorities and emergency centres located in three pilot sites of two river basins: the Loire and the Oder. Their objectives: to raise awareness of the risks and involving citizens in prevention measures; to prepare effective protection and rescue strategies before, during and after a flood; and to improve access to, and quality of, information.

Various different approaches to reaching these goals were tried and tested. These ranged from information portals, more appropriate for larger river basins, where flooding can be forecasted and anticipated with 2-3 days time lag, to a local flood warning system which included a phone alert system. Such localised systems are necessary for smaller basins where flash floods that can be only be anticipated by a few hours occur.

By the time the project ended in March 2003, end-users were sufficiently convinced of the value of OSIRIS results to continue investing in their development and application. "We’ve been fortunate to have end-users in the partnership who have been really committed to the post-project phase," says Marc Erlich project coordinator within SOGREAH Consultants, an independent engineering consultancy with 800 environment and water specialists.

Etablissement Public Loire representing local authorities at all levels from the whole Loire basin, for example, is currently working on the industrialisation of two prototypes developed by the OSIRIS project. The first is a decision-support system to help local mayors prepare emergency action plans in the event of a flood. The tool is based on an open source solution, so that it can be easily adapted to other user environments.

The second is a Web-based information portal, adapting the OSIRIS prototype already developed for Klodzko district in the upper Odra (Poland), to the Loire valley. The portal ’Great Water’, now implemented on nationally by the French Institute of Meteorology and Water Management aims to raise awareness of flood risks and preventative measures and create networks of different interest groups.

"During the 1997 flood in Poland whole communities became isolated and had no access to information," says Erlich. "This portal enables networks of citizens, schools, teachers or NGOs, to communicate and exchange information on risk prevention measures."

Virtual bridges across national boundaries to manage floods

Another OSIRIS prototype attracting a lot of interest is the Web-oriented system providing information on current and forecasted water levels along the Oder valley.

The involved crisis management stakeholders in Frankfurt-am-Oder have to cope with heterogeneous information resources with a variety of proprietary formats. The demonstrator allows access to primary and secondary information resources via the Internet. It supports the typical decentralised organisation of involved organisations and authorities tackling with crises in a federal country such as Germany. Transboundary collaboration with Polish partner city Slubice on the opposite bank of the river Oder is operational and has to be strengthened through the mutual exchange of information and resources. The demonstrator architecture is document-oriented to avoid the central administration of databases, given the limited resources and staff with ICT experience within the crisis management organisation.

Users can access relevant information through an interactive map showing relevant flood prone areas situated on Polish and German sides of the river. Two information access terminals, on both river banks were implemented. "This is the first step in order to provide integrated information on a transboundary river basin," says Erlich. "It could be used as a useful model for many other rivers that cross national boundaries."

Tara Morris | IST Results
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/index.cfm?section=news&tpl=articleID=65090

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems
23.01.2018 | University of Exeter

nachricht How climate change weakens coral 'immune systems'
23.01.2018 | Ohio State University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>