After the floods in West Germany in 2021, it was once again in the spotlight the hazard of heavy rain and floods. Was this a new threat? Absolutely not. More than a dozen of floods had occurred in the past 100 years, causing life losses and big destruction to cities and infrastructure. But, contrary to society’s perception, “the number of deaths from natural disasters has halved in the last 100 years” according to Regina Gnirss (R&D, Berliner Wasserbetriebe). During the closing ceremony, she added “sometimes due to the development of increasingly sophisticated early warning systems”. Exactly what SENSARE aims to become.
Short and intense rain frequency is increasing and scientists project it will continue to grow as the planet heats up. As a consequence, while urban areas develop and become densely populated, the damage potential grows too. Against this background, the project SENSARE started in 2018 with the objective of developing a real-time warning system, an online platform accessible to all relevant stakeholders to deliver information quickly for better risk management and damage prevention in cities.
While SENSARE was developed in Berlin, at the closure presentation Andreas Krüger (representative from the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure) emphasized its importance and the transferability of its results to other cities in view of climate change and the past extreme heavy rain events. On the same line, Dr Birgit Fritz Taute (Senate Department for the Environment, Transport & Climate Protection) reiterated SENSARE’s relevance for Berlin and advocated continuing research in this area.
Josephine Filter, one of the project managers, moderated the hybrid closing event, where Daniel Sauter (project manager) and Dominik Kolesch (BWB / SENSARE doctoral student) first gave an overview of it and its results. Later the attendees had a first live insight into the real-time warning platform developed, and during the afternoon the leads of the respective work packages presented and discussed the results in detail.
The Palleten-Lagen, our outside event location
The project was funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and was developed by an interdisciplinary team from public facilities, three IT companies and one university. It finished with successful results after three years of work of our member InfraLab Berlin (Berliner Wasserbetrieber, BVG, BSR and Stromnetz), the companies e.sigma, Smart City Solutions, Urban Software Institute, and the university partners from the Institute for Mobility and Transport and the Chair for Urban Water Management at Technical University of Kaiserslautern.
This big project also collaborated with the fire brigade, the police and, the Traffic Information Center of Berlin. The Senate Department for the Environment, Urban Mobility, Consumer Protection and Climate Action was associated with the project to ensure city demands and ideas were well presented in the development of the project.
SENSARE shows the importance of collaboration among infrastructure partners, science and industry.
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