Safe Cities: Flood Management (Frost & Sullivan Market Insight)


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This market insight will argue that cities and water authorities need to invest in advanced technologies, improved intelligence and, at a time when public spending is under the spotlight, understand that there can be a positive return on the investment.

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Safe Cities: Flood Management (Frost & Sullivan Market Insight)

  1. 1. Market Insight: Safe Cities – Developing a Proactive Approach to Flood Management Steven Webb, Vice President – Aerospace, Defence & Security
  2. 2. Synopsis The widespread devastation to infrastructure and human life caused by floods and tsunamis is both a global and increasingly urban phenomenon. The headlines are shocking and with the rate of urbanisation increasing, the cost to business and citizens will be substantial as extreme weather patterns become more pervasive. However, technology isMarket Insight: Safe Cities – Developing a Proactive Approach increasingly available to help mitigate and respond to disasters in a timely and effective manner, thus reducing the impact of flooding. Headlines related to flooding in 2011 and 2012 Insurers face £500m bill Russia mourns flood victims, local officials blamed Russias Minnesota, Wisconsin residents for floods. Insurers suffer emergencies minister accused local officials on Monday of not doing cope with deadly flooding (CNN losses due to a flurry of enough to prevent 171 deaths in weekend floods that raised new 12 June 2012) UK home, motor and doubts about the countrys readiness for natural disasters under commercial property President Vladimir Putin. (Reuters, 9th July 2012 claims after this summers washout Powerful Quake (Guardian, 18 July 2012) and Tsunami Beijing floods: not enough Devastate prevention. On July 21 at Northern Japan to Flood Management least 37 people were killed Thousands of in Beijing in the heaviest homes were rains the Chinese capital has destroyed, many Brazil is deploying 500 seen since records began roads were troops, a field hospital and more than 60 years ago. impassable, trains three Navy ships to help (Guardian 25th July 2012) and buses were people hit by some of the not running, and worst flooding in decades in power and the Amazon. Rivers began Severe flooding across cellphones overflowing their banks in North Korea has killed 88 remained down. March and some 70,000 people and left tens of (New York Times, families have so far been left thousands homeless, 11th March 2011) without shelter. (BBC, 10 state media reported May 2012) late on Saturday, threatening to make the SE Queensland flood death toll poverty-stricken rises to 22 (NineNews 24th Jan countrys already chronic 2011 food shortage still worse (Reuters 28 July 2012) Source: Frost & Sullivan. 1 Introduction The rate of urbanisation and importance of cities as economic powerhouses to drive wealth and standards of living is a widely accepted global mega trend. According to the United Nations the world’s urban population is expected to increase by 72% from 3.6 billion in 2011 to 6.3 billion in 2050 with urban areas absorbing all of the population growth during this period plus continuing migration from rural areas. Rural populations are expected to decline at a global level after 20211. In addition migration to floodplains of urban areas will put larger numbers of people at risk from flooding. In East Asia alone this is forecast to rise from 18 million in 2000 to 45–67 million by 20602. 1 World Urbanization Prospects, The 2011 Revision, United Nations Economic and Social Affairs 2 Foresight: Migration and Global Environmental Change (2011) The Government Office for Science, London © 2012 Frost & Sullivan
  3. 3. Cities are competing with each other more than ever before. They are competing for inward investment from multinationals and they are competing for talent to drive wealth creation and standards of living. Increasingly city authorities are realising that to attract business and talent they need to do more than delivering the right fiscal tools or building infrastructure. Businesses want reliable and uninterrupted productivity and employeesMarket Insight: Safe Cities – Developing a Proactive Approach want security and safety. With many of the world’s most populous cities situated in areas that make them susceptible to environmental disasters, the need to protect business and populations from flooding is becoming increasingly important. Resilient systems and processes are essential. Predicting and preventing these threats is important on many levels. Gaining early intelligence of a likely disaster enables city authorities to execute disaster management plans and to minimize injuries and loss of human life. It also allows cities to be proactive and to manage the disaster more efficiently leading to less damage to city infrastructure and limiting the loss of productivity. Citizen safety and business productivity are two of the to Flood Management most important concerns of the city mayor’s office. By limiting the impact of disasters, such as flooding, cities can reduce the threat from knock-on effects. For example the Tsunami in Japan resulted in a nuclear situation whilst the flooding in New Orleans led to severe infrastructure damage, social unrest and increased crime. This market insight will argue that cities and water authorities need to invest in advanced technologies, improved intelligence and, at a time when public spending is under the spotlight, understand that there can be a positive return on the investment. Industry Drivers and Restraints Key Market Drivers Underpinning all of the key market drivers are the challenges related to climate change. Extreme weather, tsunamis and flooding are all threats to urban populations, critical assets and business. Providing adequate and timely protection of these becomes a political issue if and when there is human loss, cuts in power or loss of productivity.  Urbanisation: Cities are becoming larger and more complex and with many of the world’s largest urban populations living in close proximity to rivers, deltas and coast lines, providing improved protection is essential. Widespread flooding and rising sea levels is an increasingly topical subject and in some cases will feature highly on political campaigns, especially following a breach of flood defences. © 2012 Frost & Sullivan
  4. 4.  Critical Asset Protection: Most cities are built on natural flood plains together with critical assets including power facilities, grids, transportation links (airports, terminals, rail lines) and communications. Ensuring that these critical assets are protected is an important consideration for city and state governance. It requires multi agency cooperation and funding to ensure that the threat of a flood is limited.Market Insight: Safe Cities – Developing a Proactive Approach In economies where critical assets are privatised, for example the UK, it will be necessary for private and public sector cooperation on flood protection initiatives.  City Competitiveness & Business Continuity: Nation States and cities compete for business to generate wealth, jobs and attract new talent. A city with inadequate flood protection will find it challenging to attract new business especially in an increasingly global economy where a flood can impact entire supply chains with global ramifications. Vivek Vaidya, Vice President, APAC, Automotive & Transportation highlights the impact on the automotive industry after the floods in Thailand which led to many of to Flood Management the largest car manufacturers signalling profit warnings and led to discussions about the relocation of operations to other countries such as Indonesia and Vietnam. “The recent inundation of floods in Thailand has not only had a major effect on local automotive production and supply chain disturbances but is also likely to have short term effect on regional and global supply of automotive parts and vehicle exports. Thailand is currently experiencing the worst flooding in the last five decades and it is affecting automotive production. 26 of the 90 provinces in Thailand have been affected by floods and assembly plants and parts maker factories located mainly in and around Ayutthaya and Pathumthani provinces were also affected. Japanese OEMs such as Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Nissan and American OEMs such as GM and Auto Alliance (Ford and Mazda) have assembly locations in Thailand with a combined annual production capacity of approximately 1.7 million – 1.8 million units.”  Enabling Technology: In the past sensor technology, IT, analytics and communications were not sophisticated enough for authorities to detect, plan and respond efficiently to potential flooding. This has changed as the technology evaluation below will show. New sensors, analytics and modelling that help authorities to detect and assess the impact of potential floods whilst faster communication and more interoperable networks permit timely and effective response. © 2012 Frost & Sullivan
  5. 5. Restraints & Challenges  Financing: Adopting adequate flood defences can be an expensive project in this time of austerity. The industry tends to take a reactive approach to flooding, looking to expand or enhance flood defences and disaster management processes followingMarket Insight: Safe Cities – Developing a Proactive Approach an event. The financial challenges of providing better flood defences are more severe in emerging economies where governments and city authorities lack the capital to invest. In such economies private financing initiatives are key.  Industry Conservatism and Education: The flood prevention and disaster management industry tends to be fairly conservative and risk averse when it comes to new technology adoption. The impact of technology failure can have significant consequences and therefore there is a reliance on tried and tested techniques. Take dike management for example. In Holland the stability of dikes is still tested today as it was at the start of the 20th century with teams of people knocking on the dikes and listening for defects. Any new technologies need to be run in parallel with existing to Flood Management techniques to prove their viability.  Collaboration and Coordination: Key challenges exist in achieving a co-ordinated response to floods. Often, multi agency participation is required including those responsible for river systems and water management to the various first responder communities. There is also an international context as rivers often cross international boundaries. Events and actions in one country may impact the result of a flood in another. Understanding the water patterns upstream and across borders can greatly aid intelligence and response downstream. International collaboration is essential for managing flood response effectively.  Resilience & Response: There are issues related to how states recover from a flood. From a coastal perspective how does a government authority restore communications quickly so that the emergency services can deploy a rapid response following a flood? Due to significant technology and systems improvement the ability to detect floods and the likely impact is improving. However, after detection a response is needed. Building resilience into the system is essential if there is to be an effective response. Technology Developments The development of technology is centred on improving sensor technology, sophisticated modeling and decision making tools, and advanced communications. From a sensor perspective there are significant technology developments within universities but also through investment by industry. Developments focus on ensuring dam and dike stability whilst also monitoring water levels in rivers, reservoirs and tidal areas. Frost & Sullivan’s © 2012 Frost & Sullivan
  6. 6. Technical Insights team has identified several novel technologies over the last few years that can help solve current challenges.  Engineers at the University of Missouri-Columbia have developed a sensor system that will enable remote monitoring of Tainter gates in dams. The Tainter gate sensorMarket Insight: Safe Cities – Developing a Proactive Approach measures the amount of strain being applied on gates to ensure the timely maintenance and prevention of malfunctioning in aging dams. The sensor system can also be developed as a portable measurement system in future.  To help deal with the possibility of flash floods Texas AgriLife Research have developed a flood warning system that is part of the Blackland Research and Extension Center’s Fort Hood Water Quality Monitoring project to help protect Fort Hood, Texas, one of the largest armoured posts in the US with 40,000 people based there. The Flood Alert System via Telemetry (FAST) incorporates stream level sensors that are attached to mobile phones so as to notify the Fort Hood Range Control at the low-water crossings. Sensors have been installed at six such low water crossings to Flood Management across Fort Hood. These alerts are in turn transmitted by the mobile phones to a Blackberry that is located at the Fort Hood’s Range Control office. The Blackberry then sends out a text message with location details about the flooding to specific personnel who can take necessary action, thereby facilitating early warnings to the soldiers and block access to the crossings. Equipped with an Internet address, each remote station and the stream levels can be monitored in real-time from computers at Blackland with data being uploaded every 10 minutes. There are plans to automate the warning lights and crossing gates and also adding sensors that can determine the sediment loading and nutrient loading. And lastly, there is also interest in combining weather data comprising of measured precipitation, radar precipitation, soil moisture conditions, and so on with computer modelling prediction.  Researchers at the University of Southampton, UK, developed a sensor device that can provide warnings in the case of flash floods and landslides. This technology was developed in 2003 with the aim of measuring climate change by deploying a sensor probe under glaciers. These probes were small and wireless with a small low power computer and radio inside it. This would enable the collected data to be stored and transmitted to a web server that could be accessible from any location. These sensors can also be deployed for applications such as flood monitoring and landslide prediction in areas such as South America and Asia. The data collected by the sensors could aid in timely evacuations. People being affected could also check the flooding conditions and safety of their homes via a website.  In another project that was sponsored by the Iowa Flood Center, the researchers from the University of Iowa developed an electronic automated sensor capable of measuring the height of the water in a stream and wirelessly transmit this data to a © 2012 Frost & Sullivan
  7. 7. central location on a timely basis. The sensors are mounted underneath the bridges and incorporate a sonar signal to measure the distance of the surface of the water from the sensor. This information can provide vital information about the stream flow as well as the flood stage. A prototype of this sensor was deployed in 2009 on a local bridge. Efforts are being made to bring down the cost of the system which atMarket Insight: Safe Cities – Developing a Proactive Approach present is priced at about $1000 per unit.  General Acoustics, a company located in Kiel (Germany) specialise in ultrasonic level gauges and wave measurement systems. These systems provide the level and wave measurement station (LOG_aLevel), with data and a measuring range of up to 10 meters and a measuring resolution of 1 millimeter. Wave and water level monitoring can provide useful information for people living in the coastal areas. Based on such information, it would be possible to predict storm tides, floods, or even tsunamis. Early warning of Tsunamis in high risk regions is essential to allow sufficient time for evacuation. Advances in sensor performance and decreasing prices means that more sensors will be to Flood Management deployed in flood regions. However, having a proven sensor technology is only part of the water disaster management jigsaw. Collating information from a wide range of sensors, interpreting the results, predicting impact and delivering an effective emergency response operation is vital if the information gained from the sensors is going to deliver real value. In a European Commission funded project, UrbanFlood, sensors are being used in Boston, UK, to detect changes below the ground in temperature, moisture and movement to help detect instability issues in flood defences. The data is transmitted to a central control room for investigation. Similar projects are also in operation in Germany and the Netherlands as part of the initiative. UrbanFlood, a consortium of organisations including Siemens, HR Wallingford, TNO, STOWA, Cyfonet and the University of Amsterdam, is investigating the use of sensors within flood embankments to support an online early warning system, real time emergency management and routine asset management. In the future Frost & Sullivan expects more innovation around data analytics and tools for policy decisions, processes and resource optimization, management and decision making. Innovation around C2 platforms focused on connecting all emergency services with the field data and more focus on resilience will continue. There will also be developments around Early Warning Systems. The prevalence of smart phones and social media offers governments and emergency responders new opportunities to communicate with the public in advance of a potential disaster. © 2012 Frost & Sullivan
  8. 8. Advanced Analytics and Predictive Modeling for a Safer World The integration of technology and provision of decision making tools linked to effective disaster management planning is key to timely response.Market Insight: Safe Cities – Developing a Proactive Approach AGT International, based in Zurich, Switzerland, are an organisation focussed on providing safety and security solutions to critical national infrastructure and city organisations. AGT’s ReadyMIND, platform enables the integration of best in class sensors and modeling technology to offer a comprehensive Flood Early Warning and crisis management solution. Commercial off-the-shelf sensors may be used, and both historical and real-time data is available from many sensor networks over the web. AGT is able to predict the time and location of dike breaches and natural floods, enabling authorities to apply preventative measures and prepare for ensuing crises. The development of a flood over time is modelled and predicted by the system, and is input into e.g. flash flooding prediction, modelling and simulation capabilities. The system to Flood Management employs sensors embedded along dikes and natural water routes, as well as sophisticated analysis packages that assess factors such as dike stability and rate of precipitation. The data is transmitted and integrated to generate a Unified Situation Awareness Picture (USAP), and the advanced flood modelling software then predicts flooding patterns, offers mitigation plans, proposes evacuation routes, and recommends courses of action and resource allocation. This functionality enables the system to be used as a tool for policy development, crisis management and operational planning. AGT have active projects in the Netherlands and China where they have a partnership with the Yellow River Conservancy Commission (YRCC) to implement the first milestone in a long-term program surrounding the AGT International Flood Management System (FMS) in the Yellow Rivers local environment. Other notable integration and/or system projects include IBM and the University of Texas at Austin who have developed an analytical tool that speeds up simulations of river flow. This allows faster flood predictions and by combining with advanced weather simulation models, river sensors and radar precipitation tracking the authorities and emergency services plan effectively in advance of flooding. Nokia Siemens Networks managed a project related to the Katulampa, Indonesia, water weir system, enabling early warning for floods in the greater Jakarta area through the use of visual monitoring (CCTVs) and text messaging to help the government effectively maintain and operate its flood control tools and processes. SAS, a business analytics software and services organisation, has been actively involved in supporting the International Organisation for Migration with flooding in Pakistan. The focus of the project has been on using analytics and applying business management tools to support effective disaster response. © 2012 Frost & Sullivan
  9. 9. Conclusions In these times of austerity the temptation is for government to limit investment and persist with traditional flood defence techniques rather than investing in high end predictive intelligence tools to aid emergency response. Proving the return on investmentMarket Insight: Safe Cities – Developing a Proactive Approach is not always easy and it often takes an event to trigger a review of the existing infrastructure and investment in new, more effective solutions. The Return on Investment discussion has traditionally centred on loss of life but it’s difficult to demonstrate the risk and quantify the potential impact. Proving the impact on business continuity and the infrastructure costs of a flood is also difficult. It’s better for organisations to focus on the operational costs of testing dike stability and flood defences and the improved financial benefits of leveraging technology. Technology is now at a level where there can be significant gains for governments, city authorities, water boards, emergency services and importantly citizens and commerce. Industry and government need to continue to partner with each other to run new systems to Flood Management alongside existing technologies to provide a safer urban environment for all. About Frost & Sullivan Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, enables clients to accelerate growth and achieve best-in-class positions in growth, innovation and leadership. The companys Growth Partnership Service provides the CEO and the CEOs Growth Team with disciplined research and best-practice models to drive the generation, evaluation, and implementation of powerful growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan leverages 50 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from more than 40 offices on six continents. To join our Growth Partnership, please visit © 2012 Frost & Sullivan