Sunday, February 25, 2007

Flood early warning system

Since my comment on someone blog is still stuck in moderation mode, I decide to post it here.


After giving it some thought, I still unable to find simple things that we (read: ordinary outsiders) can do to make people more prepared for flood or preventing flood. Many schemes need cooperation of people in charge, or a simply need a LOT of people.

One prevention scheme I can think of that requires a lot of people is: an alarm system to notify possible floods in various part of Jakarta. It requires a comprehensive survey of Jakarta.

First we identify pockets of water that happen when raining. For each pocket of water, we calculate the average height of the ground of water pocket relative to sea level. Then for every pocket water nearby this one water pocket (name: A), we identify the minimum amount of water required before water in A flow to another pocket water. Note that, we can also treat dam as pocket of water. Note also that we can consider usual places where clog in drainage system as borders of water pocket.

Thus we have a rough approximation of jakarta’s capacity to receive water from rain or other places. And using the above data, computer can simulate the movement of water that may cause flood in different water pockets (early warning system). We can also identify which clog in drainage system is vital to clear to minimize flood. We can also calculate the effect of building new malls in area of water reservoir.

The easiest time to get this data is when flooding happens. It’s too late now..

This is an ambitious project with questionable result..:-) And I don’t trust the government to do the survey since there are incentives to manipulate the data..

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