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Hydro-meteorological monitoring system improves service and protects Buenos Aires from floods

Buenos Aires, Argentina

At a Glance

After a storm flooded the city, killing almost 100 people and causing close to $103 million in damages, the city decided to mitigate their risks by expanding the use of technology. To do so, the city installed sensors in over 30,000 storm drains that measure and alert the city if flooding is predicted.

Problem Addressed

In recent years, Buenos Aires has set records for rainfall and heat waves, and the intensity of storms and flooding is expected to increase. The frequent floods have caused property damage, loss of income, negative public health impacts, and impaired living and working conditions.

Buenos Aires used/is using sensors and a hydro-meteorological monitoring system to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

Buenos Aires deployed a hydro-meteorological monitoring system to provide reliable and accurate information needed for planning and emergency management, risk management and flood mitigation, as well as for monitoring and protecting water resources. The monitoring system consists of a network of interconnected sensors that measure speed, direction and level of water in the sewage drains and feeds the data to city IT systems that are tracking additional meteorological, hydrological, and environmental parameters, setting off an alarm if flooding is predicted. When combined with other weather reports and citizen alerts on social media, the city can now determine in real time which areas need immediate support. Using the system, Buenos Aires is better equipped for emergency management by pre-empting social and medical assistance needs; predicting and monitoring weather phenomena; automatically operating pumping stations and floodgates; issuing warnings to key institutions and the public; and sending cleaning crews to compromised drains.

Outcomes

  1. In 2014, Buenos Aires experienced the most rainfall ever registered in the city’s history – but unlike in 2013, the city did not flood!
  2. The average time to resolve a complaint plunged 93% without additional budget, allowing the city to fix more problems in less time.
  3. The city saw an uptick in almost all satisfaction indices including the storm water drains index (19 to 56).

Who Should Consider?

Communities that experience regular flooding, but do not have the resources to make major infrastructure retrofit investments.

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