Balearic Islands use ADASA’s Real-Time Hydrometric Network for Flood Alerts and Prevention

2021-03-22

  • The installation of 20 new digital gauging stations plus digitalisation of 21 existing stations will give real-time water flow measurements across 41 flood-risk watercourses.
  • This €1.2m project will optimise water resource management through improved data reliability vital for hydrological planning and further studies.

ADASA has teamed up with the Balearic Islands’ Department for Environment to install a new Real-Time Hydrometric Data Network across the region. After more than 40 years' collecting data, the current network's lack of maintenance is quickly making it unfit for purpose. The scheme will remodel and modernise the Balearics’ region water management, which is managed by the Islands' Water Board.

The €1.2m project involves installing 20 new hydrographic stations; 12 in Mallorca, six in Menorca, and two in Ibiza. A further 21 existing stations will be remodelled and digitalised. Together, they will provide a continually accessible data stream about the rapid evolution of possible flash floods covering 41 flood-risk watercourses.

Previously, the Balearic Islands’ Flood Risk Management Plan identified the riverbeds and streams at greatest flood risk; strategically-located gauging stations will now play a fundamental role in monitoring them. Real-time information will send alerts when flows reach dangerous and possible overflow levels and record hydrological phenomena characteristics for future study.

The Balearics Islands’ hydrological basins follow a seasonal flow directly associated with rainfall. During the summer dry season, the water network remains completely dry, except for a few specific exceptions. However, the Islands’ western Mediterranean climate makes them prone to episodes of very intense and localised rainfall. These episodes cause flash floods that bring water damage and occasionally loss of life.

It is clearly of massive importance to the Balearics to forecast and accurately observe rainfall, issue early warnings and predict how the water basins react to flash floods.

Miquel Mir is Minister of the Balearic Islands’ Department for Environment. Speaking at the project launch, he said the new system “…will give real-time monitoring of all water levels, from flow to speed and height.” The new network also lays the necessary foundations for future additional monitoring capacities such as watercourse modelling and predictive early warning systems.

Furthermore, the newly-installed stations feature low-energy consumption equipment, including sensors for measuring water levels, temperature, conductivity, and precipitation. A mixed datalogger and single-board CPU system — based on a LoRaWan modem and Raspberry solution — make them compatible with the Balearic government’s network. Communication stability and data delivery in any situation come via a failure switch between LoRaWan and M2M with the MQTT protocol.

Each station permits basic data quality management and the possibility of implementing advanced functions for calculating variables. This covers areas such as the application of rating curves for calculating discharges, or cumulative values in case of rainfall. Transmitted data can be visualised in real-time and presented in diverse formats through a web application. The app also allows remote consultation of what is happening at every point in the network. ADASA will train local staff in every aspect of the network’s operation, capability and maintenance to permit a smooth technology transfer.

Anticipated benefits include greater station data reliability that will facilitate hydrological planning and studies, including better knowledge of flows infiltrating the aquifers.

ADASA has been pioneering national and international water solutions for more than 20 years. This project consolidates our position as the market’s leading provider of customised solutions for the digital transformation of water management for water authorities.