Technological advances in flood damage prevention

Did you know that floods are the #1 natural disaster in the US alone? Insuring a home or an apartment can become quite pricey and many can’t afford. Between 2010 and 2014, the average claim for flood damages totaled almost $42,000, but between an 11-year span up until 2014, total flood claims had totaled to more than $3.5 billion per year! That’s approximately $27.5 billion dollars worth of damage. However, there are new measures and technological advances that help prevent flood damage compared to 2005. As the new era of technology arises, we’ve been able to find new ways to prevent damage and loss.

Flood in urban area - street detail with water flowing
Flood in urban area – street detail with water flowing


In recent years, a new technology done by the RAMWASS research project has been able to predict river floods in advance using a gauging and measuring tool in various zones. While tested in major rivers, this device can work amongst every single river possible. This gauging tool also claims to help prevent floods that are caused by human related activity as well as unfortunate climate change.

How does this device predict floods?

By using DSS, satellites and sensors are able to monitor ground activity by forming 3-D models with the conclusions and results found. This then calculates the speeds and flow of the river as well as current and potential elevations. This device also maps out risk zones as well as possible flood times for those in the area.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

DSS isn’t the only way flood damage is prevented by technology. Remote sensing is also making its way as a leader in the industry. The Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development have been utilizing geographic information systems as well as remote technology to help distinguish early warning signs to warn Eastern African countries. This technology is able to identify different types of soil, water resources, areas with crops and more to help prevent flood damages and promote food security since food is quite scarce in some parts.

Satellite systems: Today versus back then

Satellites today are far more superior to what they used to be, which allows the lag time to become greatly reduced. When lag is reduced, flood damages can be prevented as residents can be warned quicker. For an example on how this is done, take a look at the Pacific Tsunami Warning System. This system features a device on a buoy in the water that uses sensors to detect changes. This information is then pinged up to a satellite with a refresh rate of every 15 seconds.

In conclusion

There are many systems developing and growing every day to help predict insane weather patterns as well as rising levels in oceans and rivers to help prevent flood damage. Within the past two decades, there have been immense improvements that have helped save millions in damage claims. As scientists work harder, flood prediction systems will only grow from here on out and hopefully there will be ways to prevent flooding entirely.