‘Red Atlas Action Plan’ and ‘CFLOWS’ in place to provide Disaster Mitigation in Chennai

On 3rd November, Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu disclosed the ‘Red Atlas Action Plan Map,’ and the ‘Coastal Flood Warning System App (CFLOWS-Chennai)’ to mitigate the floods in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Both the systems are designed to be intelligent decision support systems that would be influential in preparedness and prevention of urban floods, which is likely to be replicated in other Indian cities like Mumbai, Maharashtra. The ‘Red Atlas Action Plan Map’ is the first of its kind system prepared by the Ministry of Earth Sciences to aid Tamil Nadu government in effective flood mitigation in Chennai which witnessed the worst deluge in 2015.

What floods the city of Chennai is its combination of it being a megacity with unplanned rapid urbanisation and high population density. This intelligent flood warning system, will enable officials to get area-wise potential inundation details in 10 days advance time period during the monsoon.

In spite of the presence of three natural drainage systems – Cooum, Adyar and Buckingham Canal, the city literally went underwater in 2015 with three consecutive weather systems bringing unprecedented rain. These floods were the main reason that catalyzed the conceptualized the technology of CFLOWS by the office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Union Government.  

The ‘Red Atlas Action Plan Map’ was  prepared by the Ministry of Earth Sciences to aid Tamil Nadu government, it is a first of its kind ready reckoner designed for effective flood mitigation in Chennai. The official sources of PTI said that the aim of the atlas is to mitigate floods, preparedness, operations and management aspects, with respect to probable scenarios for different rainfall periods. The manual provides information, including on corporation wards that are likely to be affected due to flooding, and the areas that may need evacuation in Chennai taking into account all historical datasets. On the other hand, CFLOWS is a web GIS-based decision support system that can be used both for mitigation planning operations before flooding and in real time to for aspects like relief work. It integrates the needed data and outputs, derived from weather forecast, hydrologic, hydraulic and hydrodynamic models and then simulates the scenario and predict what will happen in a particular area. It consists of 6 modules, including 3D visuals of flooding in infrastructure, buildings, roads and ward boundaries.

MV Ramanamurthy, Director, National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR) said, “Based on these models a flood library, comprising 796 flood inundation scenarios, were developed corresponding to different rainfall return periods, tidal and water discharge conditions. A complete WebGIS-based decision support system has been built with six modules as per the requirement of TN government and the system will be tested this monsoon.” The over 200-page atlas was prepared by the National Centre for Coastal Research, India Meteorological Department and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting in association with TN State Disaster Management Authority and Greater Chennai Corporation.

J Radhakrishnan, the officer who heads disaster management and mitigation in Tamil Nadu, said CFLOWS would be deployed immediately. CFLOWS will be hosted and made operational at NCCR with meteorological data inputs from IMD, NCMRWF and INCOIS. It would be tested for 1-2 weeks before being integrated with TN-Smart, the State government’s disaster management portal. He added, “To begin with, the system is designed for core urban area of the city, spread across 426 sq.km. Later, it will be extended to cover the Greater Chennai Corporation limits, for which work is underway.” 

Besides NCCR, the India Meteorological Department (IMD), National Central for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (NCMRWF), Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), IIT-Madras, IIT-Bombay, IRS-Anna University and IISC Bangalore have chipped-in to realise the project. 

Leave Comments