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Climate change has created a number of problems including a noticeable increase in heavy rainfall. In 2014, for example, 292 litres/m2 of rain fell on the City of Münster within just seven hours. In 2017, the low pressure system named “Alfred” battered the Harz region with days of heavy rainfall (over 300 litres/m2), causing damage in and around Goslar that ran into an eight-figure sum.
The LoRaWAN concept – the result of the collaboration work between EURAWASSER and WALTER tecyard – has now been installed to warn Goslar in good time when heavy rainfall is likely, so that it can adjust its flood-control reservoirs and better protect its residents and infrastructure. These reservoirs are there to direct floodwater out of the sewer system when the weather is bad and take the pressure off the downstream open drainage systems.
Michael Figge, Managing Director of EURAWASSER
“Different types of data, such as the level of the water in the flood-water reservoirs and the amount of rainfall, are monitored in real time and then transmitted using LoRaWAN sensors. Thanks to this energy-efficient system, we will be able to handle situations – like the one in 2017 – better in the future,” explained Benedikt Winkelmann, managing director of WALTER tecyard. This data is sent by radio transmission with LoRaWAN to the internet and from there to the mobile devices of the employees on duty and to the control centres. They can then detect critical situations in good time and use the information to forecast the filling of the flood-control reservoirs.
“This buys us a great deal of time – enabling us to make the best use of the flood-control reservoirs and sewer networks and so relieve the pressure on the open water system when there is heavy rainfall. This, of course, also benefits the town’s infrastructure and protects the local residents,” commented Michael Figge, managing director of EURAWASSER. This should help minimise major damage to private buildings, the public infrastructure and water facilities and reduce the workload of the emergency services – so that the town never has to suffer again as it did in 2017.
Besides delivering data that enables dynamic control and warnings, LoRaWAN sensor networks also provide highly relevant data that can be used for improving and validating models as well as for future integrated infrastructure and town planning processes. Goslar, for example, will be using the LoRaWAN system for its winter services in the future. By measuring temperatures and moisture levels around the city, it can forecast changes in the weather so that gritters can be organised and deployed more efficiently. By doing so, other components of the infrastructure can be integrated, thus providing additional information that is vital during critical events. The technology is, therefore, helping to optimise EURAWASSER’s everyday work and paving the way for Goslar to become a smart city.