Constructing a brand new flood protection system for a megacity the size of Bangkok is unthinkable, both in terms of cost and practicality. But what if digital technology could empower the metropolis to use existing infrastructure to better predict and quicker respond to heavy rainfall?
This is the goal of the Decision Support System (DSS) for Bangkok, Thailand, under the Global Future Cities Programme SEA. The team of engineers, analysts and computer scientists from Mott MacDonald are working to improve the city’s capacity to prevent and mitigate flooding through a proactive, evidence-based approach. Collaborating with Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), the team is developing a Decision Support System (DSS) for Flood Management to improve flood prediction, emergency preparation and response in one pilot catchment area of the city.
The DSS will be developed in Mott MacDonald’s smart infrastructure platform Moata, which visualises the performance of water assets, enabling optimisation and focused maintenance. Moata comprises sensors installed at critical points of the water or wastewater network, collecting real-time information on flow rates, water levels and pressures. The team can then use this data to create powerful models – a digital twin of the water assets – that automatically monitors water flow.
The project feeds off a decade’s worth of development to deliver a comprehensive pilot project in just six months. Bangkok’s existing rainfall radars will be upgraded using sophisticated algorithms to provide improved forecasts of how much rain will fall and where across the city, unlocking value from historic investments in hardware.
Those forecasts will be combined with flood model results using machine learning to provide real-time predictions of flash flooding, enabling BMA to improve their operational response by deploying staff to where they will be needed most in response to intense rainfall. Flood hazard mapping will also be produced to inform potential mitigations, with the most appropriate options selected based on a holistic cost benefit analysis, accounting for gender, equality and social inclusion.
Bangkok is Thailand’s biggest urban centre, and one of the world’s megacities with a population of over 14 million. The rapid urban expansion of Bangkok fuelled by its population growth over the past few decades has put incredible strain on the city’s infrastructure. Among these challenges, Bangkok suffers from severe annual flooding, caused by intense rainfall, land subsidence, runoff from higher surrounding areas, and fluvial and tidal flooding of the Chao Phraya River. The heavy rainfall combined with urbanization of natural retention areas has worsened the flood risk, representing a significant threat to not only the city’s infrastructure, but the people who live in the thriving city of Bangkok.
The intervention teams are working closing with the BMA’s future system users to develop various education and capacity building activities to impart skills and transfer knowledge. These valuable sessions will help support the successful delivery and ongoing integrated planning for flood risk control for the city of Bangkok and its most vulnerable communities.
As Global Future Cities delivery partner, Mott MacDonald are responsible for delivering the UK Prosperity Fund’s Global Future Cities South-East Asia Programme - 13 projects in 9 cities across 6 countries for 3 years. Mott MacDonald are providing technical assistance for a set of targeted interventions to encourage sustainable development and increase prosperity, based on three thematic pillars: urban planning, transport and resilience.