Flood response efforts get boost from new data management system

Posted 12 July 2017

Response times to flood warnings have been improved in Victoria thanks to a new flood data management system implemented by Melbourne Water. 

Melbourne Water won Project of the Year under the Floodplain Management Australia Award in May for its new flood data system.

The system combines rainfall data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology with the utility’s existing system data to estimate flood levels in real time.

Melbourne Water General Manager Waterways and Land Tim Wood said the new system will enable the utility to quickly and effectively inform authorities of potential flood threats, improving flood response times significantly.

“The flood integrated decision support system (FIDSS) is configured to consume real-time data from a variety of sources,” he said. 

“Having the latest information is vital for prompt warnings of flash floods, where even a few minutes notice can mean a substantial reduction in the consequences of flooding.”

Wood said the new system, which integrates high-quality data, floodplain mapping and modelling applications, will provide more granular information and therefore more effective warnings. 

“A number of stakeholders in our community have needed to receive flooding information. With FIDSS, the information we provide will be timelier, more accurate and more user friendly,” Wood said. 

“The data will better service the community because one element of FIDSS allows flooding to be tracked down to a roads level. That means we can look at the information and consider what action needs to be taken, including which houses need to be evacuated and what roads need to be closed.”

Wood said the system uses different streams of data to help communities become more flood resilient. 

“We knew it was very important to develop a new flood forecasting system to integrate disparate systems into one solution, making all of our modelling more efficient,” Wood said. 

“We hope the development and implementation of FIDSS in the future will assist Melburnians living in flood prone areas to put in place better plans that are specific to their area and be prepared and ready should a flood occur

“Ultimately, FIDSS is about making Melbourne safer by providing people with higher quality information about flooding – and faster – by providing the information in a timelier manner.”