Monitoring Flooding in the Philippines

The Philippines, and especially the Manila region, are among regions of the world most prone to flooding. One such feature of these places is that, during tropical rainfall, the run-off of the water from mountain uplands to the Manila basin occurs at a rapid rate and dense urbanization further accelerates the flow. Furthermore, Manila is mostly constructed on lowlands that are subsiding into the surrounding earth due to the scale of groundwater extraction and the sheer weight of the urban concrete and steel.

Another discernible factor is that the storm surges from typhoons can now extend their force up to 20 km inland. It is also anticipated that this century the Philippine coast will experience a Tsunami up to 10 meters high and therefore have to deal with the resulting aftermath.

The Manila metropolitan area is subject to flooding from tropical rains, storm surges and Tsunamis

The Manila metropolitan area is subject to flooding from tropical rains, storm surges and Tsunamis

To mitigate and manage these potentially disastrous flood risks, the Philippine Department of Science and Technology (DOST) initiated the National Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) program. NOAH deploys state-of-the-art mapping,  communications, sensor, and computing technology to make sure the ‘at risk’ communities are provided with at least six hour’s notice of any impending flooding. “What we wish to achieve is to save lives and property using brainpower and the latest tools,” says Raymund E. Liboro, DOST Assistant Secretary and co-executive director of NOAH.

Utilizing a wide range of progressive technology, NOAH projects have adopted highly advanced approaches, including the newest weather data collection and forecasting systems, LIDAR 3D terrain mapping and Web Geographic Information Systems,  Internet-accessible flood information networks and an entire spectrum of remote sensors and communications systems.

Urban flood stations update water levels every 3 minutes using an ultrasonic sensor, camera, data logger and cellular modem.

Urban flood stations update water levels every 3 minutes using an ultrasonic sensor, camera, data logger and cellular modem.

Senix Ultrasonic Water Level Sensors

For NOAH to be effective in its service, it relies on Senix ToughSonic ultrasonic sensors for accurate and up-to-date water level data. ToughSonic sensors are placed on hundreds of coastal tide gauge platforms positioned so they can provide a suitable range of tsunami and tropical storm surge warning data. They are also put onto similar platforms that will observe flooding across the archipelago’s 258 rivers. Flooding on urban streets is being monitored using the very latest flood warning system.

The Philippine Metro Advanced Traveler Information System (PhilMATIS) can alert residents and re-direct traffic away from more than 180 flood-prone streets using urban water level monitoring stations in conjunction with sophisticated traffic reporting system. By re-routing traffic to safe streets based on real-time water level and traffic data, communities can work around the debilitating traffic jams that may increase risks to life and property and severely hinder efforts of emergency response systems and personnel.

Since 2008, Senix has provided ToughSonic water level sensors to DOST programs. The configurability and flexibility ToughSonic sensors are equipped with enable researchers to fine-tune the settings for a configuration unique to each flood monitoring application. Once a particular sensor configuration is established, it can easily be copied over to subsequent sensors for easy, fast and consistent sensor commissioning. These attributes and deployment of the ToughSonic sensors in harsh coastal environments has allowed DOST to expand and maintain cutting-edge systems.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Senix Corporation.

For more information on this source, please visit Senix Corporation.


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