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MottMcDonald

Annual review 2022

Digital insights improve flood resilience in Bangkok
Future-ready cities for south-east Asia

Digital insights improve flood resilience in Bangkok

Localised tropical rainstorms are increasingly frequent and severe in Bangkok, and they bring sudden floods that cause huge disruption. To respond proactively, Thailand’s capital needed an early warning system so, under the Global Future Cities Programme, a pilot was initiated – led by Mott MacDonald. Real-time stormwater flood forecasting was considered an impossible task before our pilot. “Previously it had been accepted these events propagate too quickly to develop a warning system,” says Sharla McGavock, our principal hydrologist. Now, in this project for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, we have created a blueprint for monsoon flood alert systems to help cities around the world. We began by optimising the city’s rain gauge network and rainfall radar assets, then created a predictive model through machine learning. Finally, we integrated all real-time data and model outputs in our Moata Smart Water app. This produces live two-hour forecasts of how a storm will develop, updated every 10 minutes, including locations and extent of flooding. “This application of machine learning to enable real-time stormwater flood forecasting is ground-breaking,” says Sharla. “The time it takes to convert rainfall forecasts to flood maps has been reduced from hours to just seconds.” This lets cities get ahead of a flood and take a proactive response, targeting resources effectively.

Localised tropical rainstorms are increasingly frequent and severe in Bangkok, and they bring sudden floods that cause huge disruption. To respond proactively, Thailand’s capital needed an early warning system so, under the Global Future Cities Programme, a pilot was initiated – led by Mott MacDonald.

Real-time stormwater flood forecasting was considered an impossible task before our pilot. “Previously it had been accepted these events propagate too quickly to develop a warning system,” says Sharla McGavock, our principal hydrologist. Now, in this project for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, we have created a blueprint for monsoon flood alert systems to help cities around the world....

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Project summary

Project

Bangkok smart flood management decision support system

Client

UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Location

Bangkok, Thailand

Expertise

Climate resilience, smart flood management, rainfall radar, hydraulic modelling, machine learning, data science, digital integration

17km²

pilot area

30

seconds for predictions that used to take 30 hours 

Sharla McGavock

Find out how we can work together

Sharla McGavock

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MottMcDonald

Annual review 2022

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