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Bridging the Gap: IIT Delhi’s Aab Prahari App Enables Citizens to Report Real-Time Flooding Incidents and Help Civic Agencies During Monsoon

By   /  July 2, 2024  /  Comments Off on Bridging the Gap: IIT Delhi’s Aab Prahari App Enables Citizens to Report Real-Time Flooding Incidents and Help Civic Agencies During Monsoon

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New Delhi: Rapid urbanization and the escalating impacts of climate change have exacerbated the issue of urban flooding (water logging) that the NCT of Delhi faces during monsoon season. There is also a need to strengthen the city’s drainage system to address this pressing issue.

Low-lying and densely populated areas in the NCT of Delhi suffer from severe waterlogging and infrastructure damage during heavy rainfall. Recognizing the need for a proactive, data-driven approach, the Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub at IIT Delhi’s Civil Engineering Department developed a pioneering mobile application called “IITD Aab Prahari (आब प्रहरी)”. The app has been designed to empower citizens to contribute to flood management.

The Aab Prahari app utilizes a citizen science approach, enabling residents to report real-time flooding incidents in and around their location. Since its experimental launch in August 2022 and its official release in September 2022, the app has facilitated the collection of detailed, geo-tagged information on flood events.

The app available on the Google Play Store (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.iitdap.abbprahari&hl=en) allows users to send photos and measurements of flood depths at specific locations, which are automatically geo-tagged and sent to a central server.

This crowdsourced data, which has been available on the central server since 2022, was instrumental in calibrating and validating IIT Delhi’s urban flood model in 2023. An urban flood early warning system for the Barapullah basin based on this flood model is already in place and can be accessed through https://jalsuraksha.iitd.ac.in/barapullah/index.html.

The real-time information provided by citizens helps water managers and researchers assess the immediate ground realities of flood events. This app has the potential to bridge data gaps that hinder effective flood response. For instance, areas with limited weather stations may lack critical information about rainfall intensity. In such regions, the Aab Prahari mobile application can indirectly provide this vital data. As a result, the app enhances the ability of authorities to anticipate and mitigate flooding impacts, leading to improved resource allocation and preparedness.

“One of the Aab Prahari app’s key strengths is its ability to engage citizens in flood management. By democratizing data collection, the app empowers individuals to play an active role in protecting their communities,” said Dr. Dhanya CT, project PI and Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Delhi.

The Aab Prahari app is adaptable, capable of being used in any geographical location and customizable to the specific needs of relevant government departments. For instance, the Public Works Department (PWD), Irrigation & Flood Control (I&FC), and Traffic Police can each benefit from the app in the following ways:

  • PWD can integrate the app’s data to identify and prioritize areas or hotspots that require immediate drainage infrastructure improvements in the short term, as well as plan for long-term solutions.
  • I&FC can use real-time alerts and GIS mapping to monitor flood incidents, facilitating more efficient deployment of pumps and other resources.
  • Traffic police can access up-to-date flood reports to manage road closures and traffic diversions more effectively, ensuring public safety during severe flood events.

“Collaboration and dialogue with these departments are initiated to demonstrate the app’s reliability and utility. IIT Delhi has implemented robust data validation and cross-referenced crowdsourced information with hydraulic models to build trust in the app’s data accuracy,” Prof. Dhanya CT added.

The Aab Prahari app significantly advances urban flood management by leveraging technology and community participation. It enhances flood response strategies, making the city more resilient and prepared. As government departments integrate this innovative tool, the potential to reduce urban flooding impacts in Delhi increases. This mobile application can be implemented in any region with similar conditions.

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