The Great Flood and future predictions

By Rev’d Dave Walker, Commercial Director

Did you know that the earliest recorded flood is that of the Great Flood detailed in Christian Bibles, Torah and the Quran? I was, therefore, amused when our channel partner in Turkey, AYKOME, informed me that they had installed an MSFM AV flow monitor in the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey at the foot of Mount Ararat. Why? Because Mount Ararat is cited as the place where Noah’s Ark came to rest after the Great Flood (Genesis 8:4).

5000 years on from the Great Flood, hydrologists and flood risk managers throughout the world might be a little nervous, but overjoyed to hear a voice from the skies giving prior warning that a flood is imminent and they should get ready.

However, lack of any divine intervention means we have to predict flood risk in a less conventional but more technologically sophisticated manner.

The race is on for water companies, software houses and hydrologists to develop a set of tools which will predict issues arising in the sewer network reducing risk and improving network resilience. A prediction is a statement about the way things will happen in the future, often based on experience, knowledge and data.

Typically, with predictions, there is a huge amount of data, time is of the essence and there is continual activity that impacts the future. Freshness of data is a key factor and plays a major role in forecasting the future course of action. Here at Detectronic we have accumulated billions of data points in our data centre archive from various sewer networks. This data is being used with live data from a number of strategic monitors to develop complex algorithms. The outcome is an enhancement of machine learning to an extent these systems are progressively becoming fully autonomous.

The challenge is a moving platform. As Albert Einstein once said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking when we created them.” The sewer network is a varying vehicle of transportation. When it was designed hundreds of years ago wet wipes did not exist and it’s only recently that we hear of miles of fatbergs being found in London’s sewers. The way we use our sewer network today is changing all the time, and it’s creating more and more challenges for us. Predicting floods and heavy rainfall is one thing, predicting the resilience of a sewer network is an even bigger challenge.

We believe that the future is an automated system providing 24/7 of autonomous decision making, delivering actionable reports at all times of the day or night. The benefits of which will not only meet but exceed the resilience drivers being placed on the global water industry. Reduction of emergency call outs, improved response time to prevent flooding and reduce pollution events; these automated decision making tools are set to save water companies hundreds of thousands in financial costs.

Detectronic is looking forward to the future, and we’re all excited to be part of the big race to better understand the resilience of the sewer network. Will these automated systems ever replace human intervention? I would say not, but they will undoubtedly improve how we manage the network going forward and enhance overall efficiency.


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