The government has worked in partnership with a number of stakeholders to develop the Smartwater system which will help to manage highway gully networks.
It is an innovative approach to drainage and asset management, which will result in vital flood prevention.
Smartwater is an Internet of Things (IoT) solution that will use the latest technology in the form of self learning algorithms, specialist sensor technology and multiple data feeds, all of which will be able to predict failures of highway gully networks, ensuring that any potential problems can be tackled at source.
This solution also means that the approach switches from a reactive one, where decisions are made after highway gully networks have flooded, to a proactive one which will see these failures coming before they actually occur.
Smartwater has been 10 years in the making thanks to a partnership comprising of the Department for Transport, Innovative UK and the University of Lancaster.
It is necessary too; in the UK there are in excess of 14 million gullies, of which, 80% are clean and running.
For the other 20%, flooding may occur and the Smartwater system will be able to detect this with the high-end technology used.
Not only is flooding prevented, but this keeps costs down too, both in terms of maintenance, or with damage we have previously seen where serious rainfall resulted in huge costs.
These savings are achieved because the system can provide risk-based evidence for maintenance and improvement of the gully asset.
Already, the Smartwater system – developed by InTouch – has been demonstrated, achieving 50% in savings and reducing the problem gullies from 25% to 11%.
And Joe Burns, Development Director at InTouch Ltd, believes it is “imperative” that councils use this solution.
“The government’s National Flood Resilience Review in 2016 predicted that there will be 20-30% more downpours in the future. With restraints and budget cuts, it is imperative that councils start using technology to their advantage to cut maintenance and prevent flooding.”