Live rainfall data on Mumbaiites phones

PUNE: Mumbaiites can soon see the live rainfall updates on their phones, after every 15 to 30 minutes. According to the planning of Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), with 200 to 250 installed Automatic Rain Gauges (ARG) across the state, people will be updated about rainfall in a particular locality of Mumbai.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) along with Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune will install and maintain these rain gauges. While sharing details of this first-of-its-kind project M Rajeevan, MoES secretary, said that IITM is designing and working to establish a network of at least 200 to 250 ARGs in Mumbai that will provide real-time rainfall information. Additionally, we also plan to install a radar that will also supply rainfall details for every one kilometre area.

These two data sets will be combined to prepare a spatial map, using which live rainfall details can be shared with people and for its effective use this service will be introduced on mobile phones. At present, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) owns two ARGs at its observatories in Colaba and Santacruz. After severe flooding in 2005, BMC had installed some rain gauges.

“It is true that we have a limited number of Automatic Weather Stations and AWGs in our cities and we are consciously working to increase our network under the Urban Meteorology project. Initially, it will be undertaken in metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai,” said Rajeevan.

The main aim of this project is to ensure safety of people by monitoring water levels, especially after heavy rainfall in any area. According to Rajeevan, through this network it is possible to get an overall picture of every locality and this information would be sent to alert people. Once operational, the ministry plans to replicate similar networks in other Indian cities, the senior MoES official said.

“Once fully operational, we can even attempt to predict water levels in the city during the rainy season. This task is very complicated as we will also need to study the area’s topography, its drainage system, sea tides in case of coastal cities, along with rainfall…but people need such customized services,” said Rajeevan.

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