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Success stories

Water, Weather and Environment

Improving flood resilience in London boroughs through data collaboration.

In this case study The London Boroughs of Hillingdon and Croydon join forces to tackle increasing surface water flooding in their fast-growing regions. This collaboration used innovative technology and data-driven solutions to improve data accessibility, operational efficiency and climate resilience for local residents.

The challenge

Visible data: A critical starting point.

Faced with a lack of reliable data for areas affected by surface water issues, Hillingdon and Croydon councils faced a challenge. The scattered nature of rainfall gauges often failed to capture critical information in specific locations, leading to incomplete insights. Despite the availability of data sources, sharing and accessing datasets proved cumbersome and inefficient. Stakeholders such as the Environment Agency, Thames Water Utilities, local authorities and others were collecting data, but a lack of consistent access hindered comprehensive analysis. This fragmentation led to delayed data sharing and reduced collaboration.

Pioneering an online data platform.

To address this data gap, the councils embarked on a pioneering journey. Their first step was to create an online platform to facilitate seamless data sharing between parties interested in surface water conditions. Working with KISTERS, an experienced data management and analysis specialist, the councils established a partnership that would transform their approach. Known for supporting environmental agencies around the world, including the United Nations’ global water quality data portal GEMstat, KISTERS brought valuable expertise to the table.

The solution

Bridging data gaps and finding solutions.

Hillingdon and Croydon worked diligently to identify and address data gaps across their boroughs. Using KISTERS’ own instrumentation, they strategically deployed sensors to monitor areas with limited or no data. This targeted approach included installing rain gauges, water level sensors and cameras in key locations prone to surface water flooding.

In Hillingdon, the tools used monitored the area’s response to rainfall and assessed the effectiveness of a sustainable drainage system (SuDS). Croydon installed three level gauges and a camera in areas prone to flash flooding, including culverts and outlets from SuDS schemes.

Enabling real-time response with reliable data.

The sensors installed quickly revealed the potential for rapid flooding in certain areas, highlighting the need for rapid response. This new challenge brought a silver lining – improving response times to minimise the impact of flooding.

The benefits

Using reliable data for proactive action.

To take effective proactive action, the councils recognised the need for highly accurate weather forecasts at a granular level. They turned to HydroMaster, a rainfall information service developed by MeteoGroup, DHI and KISTERS. This service enabled the councils to anticipate potential problems, such as storms, and take pre-emptive action to mitigate flood risks.

The power of unified data: Datasphere and HydroMaster.

Using Datasphere and HydroMaster, hosted in KISTERS’ ISO-certified data centre in Germany, the councils gained an integrated view of local and EA data. These cloud solutions effectively bridge data differences, regardless of sensor manufacturer or standards. Data is archived for future reference; automated validation processes are applied and alerts are generated for developing situations. Visual alerts and notifications enable rapid response and keep residents safe.

A collaborative way forward.

The collaboration between Hillingdon and Croydon extends beyond their boroughs. The insights gained from the datasphere platform have led to enhancements that benefit other local authorities using HydroMaster exclusively. These include the ability to view live camera images and compare sensors in a single graph.

A future of resilience

This community collaboration demonstrates the potential for resource savings through effective data sharing between risk management agencies. A deeper understanding of the relationship between rainfall, sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) and river levels has emerged, enabling rapid proactive responses to developing situations. These efforts empower local communities and authorities alike, promoting climate resilience and informed decision-making. The ongoing journey includes expanding sensor networks and building comprehensive data availability to promote a more resilient London and other regions of the UK.

Improving flood understanding for a resilient future.

Through HydroMaster and Datasphere, Hillingdon and Croydon have set a course to fully understand rainfall patterns, their impact on London and their journey from the sky to the rivers. By identifying flood-prone areas and implementing sustainable solutions, they aim to mitigate the risks of flooding, drought and climate change. This forward-looking approach aims to develop smart water management systems that reduce risks across catchments and promote a resilient future.

Ready to learn more?

If you’re interested in learning more about how HydroMaster and Datasphere can improve your data-driven decision-making and promote climate resilience, we invite you to explore our solutions. Contact us to learn how these innovative tools can empower your community to build a more sustainable future.

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