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Preventing Floods and Sewer Overflow With LoRaWAN®

25 January 2022 / by Raphael Atayi

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Climate Change and Flooding

Floods are the most common and deadly natural disaster in the United States. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on extremes, it is clear that climate change has detectably influenced several of the water-related variables that contribute to floods, such as more powerful storms, increased rainfall, more dramatic snowmelt, and rising sea levels. To protect our cities, we need accurate, reliable, real-time monitoring of potential flood conditions that will enable us to prevent loss of life and costly property damage.

Flooding also affects sewer levels; overflowing sewers spread contamination and disease, threatening communities worldwide. Accurate, reliable monitoring and measurement of flood and sewer conditions is key to enabling smart cities to respond quickly and appropriately to rapidly fluctuating situations. Flood mitigation can be challenging, and requires a system of multiple sensors that can reliably communicate despite harsh conditions.

LoRa® and Environmental Monitoring

The long range, low power and long battery life of Semtech's LoRa® wireless radio frequency platform offers an ideal solution for environmental IoT monitoring applications that depend on battery-powered sensors. Using unlicensed spectrum, sensors featuring LoRa ICs seamlessly communicate over indoor or outdoor public, private or hybrid LoRaWAN® networks. Internet of Things (IoT) solutions enabled by Semtech’s LoRa ICs are used globally for real-time detection and measurement of environmental indicators, flagging potential problems, including potential floods, before they escalate. Thanks to the interoperability of the LoRaWAN® standard, complementary solutions can also be added to improve prediction leveraging on more insights on the conditions (manhole monitoring, precipitation measurements, etc.)

IoT Solutions Mitigate Flooding

IoT providers worldwide are beginning to offer comprehensive solutions that help monitor flood and sewer issues, reducing potential damages and costs associated with these damages, which can cripple unprepared communities.

  • StormSensor has developed a sophisticated storm, sewer and coastal diagnostics system which uses Scute sensors, leveraging the LoRaWAN standard. The sensors measure water depth and velocity, and transmit data wirelessly. This enables proactive management of capacity issues, backups and flooding across a community. The system allows users to track and prevent urban flooding, detect and measure sewer overflows and measure the impact of sea level rise on infrastructure. Coverage is comprehensive, covering the entire sewer network rather than offering strategic and less effective spot checks, tracking flow and sending alerts in real time.

  • SmartEnds, a smart sensor solutions provider, has partnered with Fluves, an IoT sensor networks developer, to provide a water level monitoring system that assesses flooding, drought, sewer overflow, salinity, leakage, and pollution. The offering, which operates on LoRaWAN networks, prevents the overflow of waste water and septic tanks by immediately alerting users that tanks need to be emptied, cutting costs and avoiding overflow issues. System sensors, which are sturdy and low cost, are mounted in drains, cisterns, tanks, sewers and bridges for widespread monitoring, which creates a grid of information on water fill levels. System data informs actions that can prevent flooding as well as respond to drought conditions.

Floods and overflowing sewers pose a threat to lives and property worldwide. Without adequate monitoring systems, these events often culminate in disasters that have severe implications for economic loss, social disruptions and damage to the urban environment. IoT solutions can’t stop floods, but monitoring data in real time can minimize damage by helping establish proactive solutions for communities.

To learn more about Semtech’s environmental monitoring solutions, visit our website.

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Semtech, LoRa and the LoRa logo are registered trademarks or service marks of Semtech Corporation or its affiliates.

Topics: LoRa, Smart Cities, Wireless RF, Internet of Things, Smart Environment, ESG

Written by Raphael Atayi

Senior Manager, EMEA System Integration Partners

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