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Case Study: From Droughts to Deluges: Melbourne's Flood Monitoring Gets Smarter

Natural disasters currently cost Australian economy about $ 40 billion per year and it will rise to more than $70 billion by 2060. (Reference: Deloitte Special Report)
Picnic area underwater due to flash floods

Client: Melbourne Water

Technology used: NB-IoT

Industry: Water Utility

In the arid regions of Melbourne, where rain is scarce for most of the year, monitoring flood conditions in water channels and creeks becomes a challenging task. For a large water utility company responsible for managing water resources, staying vigilant during the rainy season is crucial to prevent potential flooding incidents. To address this concern, a groundbreaking flood monitoring solution has been developed, integrating DUS2-N with conditional transmission technology. This cutting-edge approach not only conserves battery life but also ensures real-time flood detection and timely response.

The Challenge: Rainy Season in a Drought-Prone Region

Melbourne's climate poses a unique challenge for water utility companies. The majority of the year remains dry, making it difficult to predict when and if rainfall will occur. However, during the rainy season, sudden downpours can lead to flash floods, potentially causing significant damage to infrastructure and affecting local communities. The need for continuous flood monitoring arises, but with limited battery resources, finding a balance between monitoring frequency and power consumption becomes imperative.

The Solution: Ultrasonic sensors with Conditional Transmission

To address the limitations of continuous monitoring, a novel solution was devised. Ellenex Ultrasonic sensors equipped with Conditional Transmission were deployed in strategic locations along water channels and creeks. The devices utilize Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) technology, allowing for efficient long-range communication with minimal power requirements.

The key innovation lies in the implementation of "conditional transmission" on

Ellenex devices. Instead of constantly transmitting data, which drains the battery quickly, the devices now perform periodic water level checks every 5 minutes while in sleep mode. Daily transmissions are set for regular data reporting.

Automated Response to Flood Conditions

The heart of this solution lies in its adaptive capability. When the water level remains below a predefined threshold, the IoT devices continue their 5-minute interval checks and conserve battery power with the once-daily data transmission. However, when the water level surpasses the threshold, the devices intelligently switch to high-alert mode. They automatically increase the data transmission frequency to once every minute, providing real-time updates about flood conditions.

The Impact of IoT Sensors during Floods

The integration of IoT sensors in flood monitoring has proven to be transformative in optimizing resource management and mitigating flood-related risks. Here are some key statistics showcasing the efficacy of this approach:

  1. Battery Efficiency: With conditional transmission, IoT devices experience a significant reduction in power consumption during non-flood periods, leading to a battery life extension

  2. Real-Time Flood Detection: The adaptive nature of the devices allows for immediate detection of flood conditions, reducing response times compared to traditional flood monitoring methods.

  3. Cost Savings: Optimized battery usage not only reduces the need for frequent replacements but also lowers maintenance costs, resulting in cost savings

  4. Environmental Impact: By reducing battery waste and optimizing energy usage, this flood monitoring solution contributes to a greener and more sustainable approach to flood management.

The water utility company in Melbourne has revolutionized flood monitoring in the region. With conditional transmission technology, IoT devices strike a harmonious balance between timely flood detection and battery conservation, making them ideal tools for resource-constrained environments.

As we look to the future, the lessons learned from this successful implementation can pave the way for similar applications in other regions facing similar challenges. By leveraging technology to its fullest potential, we can build resilient systems that protect communities and preserve resources, even in the face of unpredictable weather patterns.


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