Radar Rainfall Monitoring and Nowcasting System for Urban Flood Management in Singapore

Accurate quantitative rainfall prediction at high temporal and spatial resolution is vital for flood management and operations at Singapore’s National Water Agency PUB.

Yet, it is a challenge to obtain such accurate rainfall data and forecasts in Singapore, where convective storms are common and rainfall is typically very local.

H2i has been working on a project to develop a high-resolution rainfall detection and forecast system based on state-of-art X-band weather radar technology.

X-band weather radars are compact, cost effective and energy efficient. They can also provide near real-time and high-resolution rainfall data.

This project’s nowcasting model has been providing rainfall data to PUB’s system with promising results. It is in the process of being improved further and evaluated based on a sufficient number of rain events to ensure the required accuracy is achieved.

Working with weather radar specialists from the radar supplier Furuno, H2i has been developing this system for the PUB since June 2016. It is expected to be completed by December 2018.

This project will create opportunities for the development of a commercial X-band radar rainfall monitoring and nowcasting system that could apply to flood management in other cities in Asia.

H2i renews contract with Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI), Singapore

The Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI) has renewed its contract with the Hydroinformatics Institute (H2i) to monitor and understand the seasonal changes in water characteristics and current circulation in Singapore’s coastal waters.

TMSI, Singapore’s leading institute for tropical marine science as well as environmental science, has worked with H2i since 2015.

The new contract will run to 2019, with an option to be extended to 2020.

Using state-of-the-art technology, H2i and TMSI measure the quality of Singapore’s coastal waters over various time periods. The results allow for a better understanding of seasonal changes and how they impact the quality of Singapore’s waters.

More details about the project are available here: http://www.h2i.sg/staying-current-on-coastal-water-processes/

Learning to float in a data driven business

As a geography undergraduate looking for an internship, I had hoped to land in an organization that would give me a glimpse of the subject as it was applied. At the Hydroinformatics Institute, I got that - and more.

Over the last two months that I have spent at H2i, which helps countries and companies manage the earth’s most critical resource, I have had a close up view of how big data and technology intersects with the environment. For a student who had, till now, gleaned her water knowledge largely from textbook and theory, the experience has been both intimidating and eye opening.

Learning to handle data was initially mind-boggling. But what seemed to be a blur of numbers on an excel sheet has since started to make sense. Thanks to the patience of my colleagues, patterns began to emerge, about rainfall and floods, or about climatic patterns, and I learnt to see the stories that the numbers presented.

But beyond seeing those stories, I’ve also had opportunities to learn to tell some stories, and how narratives are critical to science and technology – more than just data scientists need to understand what the numbers mean. To that end, I had a chance to create several articles about our projects for our website and LinkedIn page. When I participated in the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW), for example, I heard about the many complex water issues the world faces today and wrote about the innovations that are helping the world manage them better.

While my time here has been short, it certainly has given me a deeper understanding of the complexities of water management and what companies like H2i are doing to help governments and corporations deal with them.

As I continue my studies in geography and sustainable development, it is with a view to return to the sector, so I can do my part in creating a better future. When I do, I am sure the blur of numbers will all make even more sense.

Thank you, H2i, for giving me this opportunity.

H2i expands its project management team

Ms Nishtha Manocha has joined the Hydroinformatics Institute (H2i) as a project manager (hydrology).

Nishtha’s years of experience in the fields of hydrology, climate adaptation, real options and water policy makes her an expert in developing adaptive solutions to combat uncertain climate change.

Nishtha received her Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering (Chemical Engineering) from Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal, India in 2011, and obtained her Master’s degree in Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resource Management from National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2013.

Mostly recently, Nishtha completed her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering, in the area of ‘Infrastructure Investment under Deep Uncertainty’.

Nishtha has also received several international awards. She was the recipient of the “2014 Singapore-Netherlands Sustainability Award” and was also recognized with the “President’s Award” by the Ministry of Environment, South Korea during the Asia Pacific Youth Parliament for Water. She was also the representative of the youth of Asia Pacific at the Stockholm World Water Week in 2014.

She looks forward to leading the team in new projects that will allow H2i to create an even bigger impact in the field of water management.

Welcome to the team, Nishtha!

H2i expands hydrological modelling team

The Hydroinformatics Institute (H2i) is growing its team of hydrological modelers and we would like to warmly welcome our newest addition, junior modeler Zhang Yuxi.

Yuxi recently graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and holds a degree in Environmental Engineering. Her final year project combined her interests in environmental issues and civil infrastructure - she studied the potential impact of climate change and fertilizer application on water quality in the Gardens by the Bay lake system.

She looks forward to learning from our experts and tackling even bigger projects.

Welcome on board, Yuxi!

H2i specialist shares strategies to tackle Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) at leading water conference

Harmful algal bloom outbreaks like the one that turned the Singapore River green in October 2017 may be predicted earlier and better prevented with the help of technology, Dr. Jingjie Zhang told attendees of the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) on Tuesday afternoon, July 10th, 2018

“As water quality deteriorates rapidly worldwide due to climate change and anthropogenic activities, the prediction and control of algal bloom becomes increasingly important. Technology that gives us access to real-time monitoring and the capability to predict   the change of the water quality in the water bodies could be key to preventing such outbreaks”, said Dr. Zhang who was invited by Xylem, a global water technology company, to speak to the audience of international water specialists attending the three-day event at Marina Bay Sands.

The conventional way of detecting algal blooms requires time to wait for the water samples to be lab-tested. Timing is critical in ensuring that the algal bloom is controlled, any delays could potentially worsen the outbreak. Hence, PUB, Deltares, NUS and H2i have worked together to develop an integrated monitoring and prediction system for algal bloom prediction, which can combine lab tests, online sensors and advanced modelling techniques.

This integrated modelling system combines results from several different models, namely, the water quality model, catchment model, hydrological model and emission model and can be implemented in the Operational Management (OMS) platform for daily operation and management. This system allows us to monitor and predict the change in water quality and test proper mitigation measures to be implemented.  By combining real-time data from online sensors with integrated data assimilation techniques and process-based modelling system, we can prevent outbreaks of harmful algal blooms.

The talk also sparked a discussion about the possibilities of how to better combine different techniques and advanced tools to improve the integrated online-sensors and modeling approach for better monitoring and early-warning and prediction of algal blooms.

SIWW is Singapore’s leading water conference and the global platform to share and co-create innovative water solutions. SIWW draws crowds of over 20,000 to exchange innovative ideas, tap global business opportunities, and showcase leading technologies.

H2i seminar at SIWW 2018

Improving algal species predictions and forecasting with combination of real-time sensors and water quality modeling: Singapore Reservoirs as Case Study  by Dr Jingjie ZHANG, Chief Water Quality Specialist of H2i and Visiting Research Professor of SUSTec Shenzhen, China 

DATE       : Tuesday, July 10th

TIME       : 4.30 pm

VENUE    : Level 3, Room Heliconia Jr. 3412