The recent flooding that swept Slovenia, affecting two-thirds of the country and causing damages estimated at half a billion, has left many in shock. While acts of kindness, such as neighbors waking up their fellow residents, warmed our hearts, they also highlighted a glaring need: a more systematic early-warning system. In the age of advanced technology, it’s crucial we move beyond relying solely on human intuition during disasters. Here are three prominent ways, backed by global evidence, to mitigate flood risks effectively. At MERATCH we believe that by embracing these strategies in tandem, we can revolutionize our approach to handling flood-related challenges and safeguarding communities:
1. NATURAL FLOOD MANAGEMENT (NFM): HARNESSING NATURE’S POTENTIAL
One of the solutions to tackle flooding is the concept of NFM and nature-based solutions (NbS). These strategies pivot around using nature to our advantage. By restoring wetlands, planting trees, and creating water retention areas, we can slow down the floodwaters, reducing their catastrophic impacts. These solutions not only help in flood mitigation but also provide additional societal and environmental benefits, making them a double win.
Known for its expertise in water management, the Netherlands has implemented nature-based flood management strategies, including floodplain restoration, reconnection of rivers, and improved spatial planning . These measures focus on enhancing natural systems to reduce flood risks effectively.
2. TECHNOLOGICAL INTERVENTIONS: EARLY WARNINGS AND PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS
Alongside NFM, the tech world is making strides in flood management. The importance of real-time flood monitoring cannot be understated. Predictive analytics, powered by IoT devices, can provide timely alerts and facilitate quicker decision-making. This is exactly what our MERATCH IoT sensors do. It’s a reliable system monitoring the water level 24/7 and thus is able to warn residents of an impending flood hours, if not days, in advance. Thanks to IoT network and easy installation, such devices could be employed literally everywhere.
Now, imagine a future where every bridge could be equipped with a MERATCH water level sensor. This is not just a vision but a feasible solution. It offers a cost-effective and rapidly deployable flood protection strategy with benefits such as:
- Real-time flood monitoring,
- Predictive analytics based on accumulated data,
- The most economic solution with an easy plug & play installation
And as a bonus, there’s the protection of the bridges themselves by monitoring their structural health and ensuring their longevity.
3. HOLISTIC FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT: COMBINING EFFORTS FOR MAXIMUM IMPACT
A comprehensive response to flooding requires more than just individual solutions. We need a synergy of engineering, policy changes, and community engagement. Integrated flood risk management considers land use, floodplain zoning, and community resilience, ensuring that when floods do come, they find us prepared and resilient.
Singapore is a notable example of a country that has integrated flood risk management approaches effectively. Despite its small size and limited land area, Singapore has employed innovative engineering solutions, policy frameworks, and community involvement in flood management. The city-state has built an extensive an extensive 8000 km network of drains, canals and rivers to quickly channel stormwater away from developments. The water is then channeled into reservoirs. Additionally, Singapore has implemented floodplain management strategies, strict regulations for land use planning, and community education programs to enhance resilience against flooding. The integrated approach taken by Singapore in managing flood risks has garnered international recognition.
Slovenia’s recent challenges underscore our vulnerabilities when nature unleashes its power. Yet, by harmonizing nature-based solutions with technological advancements like IoT, we can shift from mere reactions to proactive interventions. Weather patterns might be challenging to predict, but with the right tools, our preparedness doesn’t have to be.