Real-Time Early Detection and Monitoring of Flooding Using Low-Cost Highly Sensitivity Ultrasound Sensing of Water Level
Flooding poses safety hazards to road users and emergency and maintenance crews, and may cause damage to transportation infrastructure. To keep critical highway corridors functional and to minimize the losses from flooding, accurate early detection of the rising water level is essential. Researchers in Texas prototyped a solar-powered ultrasound water level detection (UWLD) capability for a real-time water level monitoring system both for pavement and river streams and tested in Arlington, Texas from February until August 2020. The flood stage information was transmitted using a cellular module in the UWLD unit to the flood control district or sent directly to emergency command centers. The transmitted information could potentially be used to support warning or alerts for evacuations, road closures, and modifications to signal timing.
- Include water level monitoring sensors at both pavement and streamside locations for more accurate flooding forecasts. The water level monitoring of both pavement side and streamside locations enables more reliable and sensitive information to detect and forecast urban flash flooding.
- Ensure that components are selected to keep power consumption within the overall amount supplied by the solar system. Tests performed in this study revealed that the UWLD system lowered power consumption when a microcontroller was added to switch other components off in between data transmissions.
- Take the size of the water body into consideration when selecting monitoring locations. This study confirmed that the water level change at local creek or streams is a more sensitive flood level indicator than at larger water bodies where it can be more challenging to monitor flood levels.