Mumbaikars can heave sigh of relief from the annual monsoon flooding with iFLOWS- Mumbai, a state-of the-art Integrated Flood Warning System that was launched on Friday, June 12. Union Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray jointly launched the new venture through video conferencing.
The system will forecast three days in advance about the flood. It will also update weather forecast along in 3 hours and 6 hours. This would help people living in low lying areas to evacuate from the places in advance. The system will also forecast the rainfall in each pocket.
In his address, Vardhan said that Mumbai floods especially that occurred in 2005 and 2017 are etched in everyone’s memory. This highly advanced flood warning system will help the people of Mumbai in a big way. A similar system was already developed by MoES and is in operation at Chennai, he added.
He further said that MoES scientists have developed the best early warning system for tsunami in the whole world and have never given a false alarm on this issue. This service has also been extended to the countries in Indian Ocean Region who are being highly benefitted, Vardhan said.
Thackeray stated that the state-of-the-art flood warning system developed by MoES was like a gift to the people of Mumbai. In the context of the health disaster as well as the recent Nisarga cyclone, he said that both blood management and flood management are equally important.
How the Prediction System Works
The sophisticated system has been developed by the Ministry of Earth Sciences using its in-house expertise, in close collaboration with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (BMC). The system uses rain gauge data and local data such as data on land use, land topography, drainage systems, water bodies in the city, tide levels, infrastructure and population, which has been provided by BMC. Using these as inputs, the prediction system models weather, rainfall, runoff and water movement, tide and storm surge impacts based on which early Flood Warnings for the city will be provided. It will address the flood inundation due to rainfall, river bank breach, and storm surge, obstruction of flow due to roads, buildings, rail lines, high tides and sea level rise.
I-FLOWS is built on a modular structure and comprise seven modules. The Data Assimilation Module gathers a variety of dynamic data including IMD weather forecasts and under-water depth of rivers and lakes across Mumbai city. The Inundation Module will use the data to forecast flood inundation 3 days in advance, while the Flood Module will predict how the water will move across areas expected to be flooded. The Vulnerability and Risk Modules, which together comprise the Decision Support System, enables the administration to take smart decisions to manage the situation based on a scientific and holistic assessment of flooding risks. The Dissemination Module makes information available to field officials through various communication channels, enabling them to take prompt and informed field action.
How it came about
Mumbai the state capital of Maharashtra, a megapolis and the financial capital of India has been facing floods with increased periodicity which brings the city to a standstill in spite of its natural and storm water drainage systems. In a bid to aid in the mitigation of the flood prone city, Disaster Management Department of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) approached the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) to develop an Integrated Flood Warning System for Mumbai, on the lines of a similar system developed for Chennai earlier. MoES initiated the development of the flood warning system in July 2019 using the expertise of Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR), in close coordination with Disaster Management Department of MCGM.