Over the last number of years we have seen an increase in flooding events across the Dublin region. Often caused by a combination of factors such as overflowing river banks, coastal storms or blocked or overloaded drainage ditches, the Gully Monitoring Challenge was launched in 2017 to seek innovative solutions that could improve local authority responses to flooding.
A partnership between Dublin City Council and Enterprise Ireland, as part of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Programme, Phase 1 of this project saw six companies; Blenheim, Carra, MJB Innovation, mSemicon, Voguetek and Danalto, test, trial and develop sensor products that monitor water levels within gullies and report on flooding incidents.
Working closely with the Dublin City Council’s gully monitoring team, the solutions were assessed and three companies securing funding for Phase 2. The success of the project resulted in an extension of Phase 2 where by Dublin City Council continued to work with Danalto and mSemicon to develop 50 bespoke, low-cost gully sensors that have been deployed in targeted areas, actively monitoring flooding in real-time and providing alerts to key personnel when incidents occur.
Implementing a system that provides real-time information during a flood event gives local authorities the opportunity to deploy resources to the areas that need it most. The benefits of developing solutions through a pre-commercial procurement process, such as the SBIR programme, has allowed for front-line local authority staff to co-create solutions to this challenge.