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Mumbai/New Delhi, June 12, 2020
iFLOWS-Mumbai, a state-of-the-art Integrated Flood Warning System for Mumbai, was launched jointly today by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Union Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan through video conferencing.
The system will help make the city become more resilient, by providing early warning for flooding especially during high rainfall events and cyclones. It will be possible to have an estimate of the flood inundation three days in advance, along with 3-6 hours Nowcast (immediate weather updates), an official press release said.
It will be very useful, especially if people need to be evacuated from low-lying areas as we will be able to forecast 12 hours in advance that a particular spot may get flooded. The system will also forecast the rainfall in each pocket.
In his address, Harsh Vardhan congratulated the scientists at Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) who developed the system. “Mumbai floods, especially those which 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 in Chennai,” he added.
MoES scientists have developed an early warning system for the tsunami that has never given a false alarm. This service has also been extended to the countries in the Indian Ocean region, he added.
Thackeray congratulated the MoES and IMD scientists for accurate prediction of Cyclone Nisarga and monsoon in the state. Early prediction of Cyclone Nisarga by IMD helped the state government to stave off a disaster and prevent loss of lives, he said.
M Rajeevan, Secretary, MoES said that more than 160 observatories and four more radars (to be used by next monsoon season) which have been ordered for Mumbai will enable forecasting of rainfall with a precision of 500 metres and every 15 minutes. About the flood warning system, he said, “We are happy that we could complete the development of iFlowsMumbai project in time.”
Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said iFlowsMumbai can be a model for the rest of the country. On the occasion, a video of Mumbai Flood Warning System was screened and a digital brochure of the system was released. K S Hosalikar, DDGM, IMD Mumbai was also present at the launch.
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, riverbank breach, storm surge, obstruction of flow due to roads, buildings, rail lines, high tide and sea-level rise.
i-FLOWS is built on a modular structure and comprises 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 three 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 make 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.
Mumbai has been facing floods with an increased periodicity which brings the city to a standstill in spite of its natural and stormwater 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.