Rain Gauges to warn of flood and landslides

21 Jul 2007

Ratnapura, 21 August, 2007 – An innovative rain gauge unit with short messaging service to monitor rain fall and warn on any impending dangers of floods and landslides has been set up and tested in the Ratnapura district by UNDP and the Disaster Management Center.
The rain gauges would calculate the amount of rain fall  every one hour and send the result via a short message service (SMS) to a computerized network in Colombo and around the island (to be set up shortly).
“The significance of this particular rain gauge unit is that the information it gives is almost immediate. So, communities in areas under threat of a flood or a landslide can be immediately warned and evacuated," said Man Thapa, Disaster Risk Reduction Advisor for UNDP/DMC.
Under this pilot project in the Ratnapura district, five similar units have been placed in high rainfall and landslide prone locations. The units include lightning and power surge protection and has less than 2.5 percent chance of error.
Each rain gazer has a cup with a capacity of 2.5 ml inside the unit which collects the rain water . Each time it fills up, the cup collapses. At each collapse, the sound is picked up by a sensor that records the number of collapses. This in turn helps keep tab of the amount of water collected.

“There is a telephone SIM card inside the unit.  The pulse is sent to the SIM card and modem inside the unit, which transmits the sms indicating the amount of rain fall every hour,” said Asanga Indunil one of the ITI project officers on site.
This information is recorded by a computer at each location to monitor and assess the situation. These computers are also networked to see rainfall at other locations where the units have been set up. The collated data will immediately give an indication of any possible dangers due to heavy rainfall.
The computerized network is also liked to the Metereological Dept., the Disaster Management Center and the Landslide monitoring officers and other relevant departments and personnel.
This was designed by ITI with the support and funding from UNDP and DMC.