How Internet-of-Things technology can assist with Urban Rainfall and Stormwater Management Systems

Uni: js5079 (Joshua Strake)

Links: SGIM, SGIM 2Array of Things, Urban Flooding

Sustainability Problem(s): Water, Safety

A growing challenge as storms become more intensely localized and the adage ‘when it rains it pours’ becomes more literal is the issue of what to do with all that water in an urban space. In nature, the water is efficiently absorbed into soil and supports trees and other flora. However in a city, the lack of these trees and soil is felt in two ways: first, the rain water has nowhere to be absorbed into and can result in flooding and contamination of the city’s water supply, and second, all that water can cause serious damage to ‘gray’ infrastructure that isn’t designed to handle a sudden deluge – things like streets, drainage pipes, and sidewalks.

This is where Chicago’s new initiative, the ‘Smart Green Infrastructure Monitoring’ (SGIM) project steps in:

Summary of SGIM

  • Utilizing IoT technology, SGIM looks to track rainfall conditions on Chicago’s streets. In addition to total rain, it also tracks thinks like temperature, moisture, air pressure, and other weather indicators.
  • SGIM is in beta right now, being tested in three locations. It is being tested in conjunction with green infrastructure, such as plant banks, and porous water-absorbing roads.
  • The goal of the sensors would be to best understand where changes are needed in Chicago’s water management infrastructure – sensors don’t absorb water, but they help understand where the problems are and how much infrastructure change is needed.
  • Chicago actually has a strong record of utilizing IoT to make the city ‘smarter’, and SGIM falls within the logic of their larger city-wide ‘Array-of-Things’ plan for a smartly monitored city.

Stakeholders

1 – City Digital, developers of SGIM

2 – City of Chicago policymakers, specifically their wastewater treatment plan executors, and their Array-of-Things project leaders.

3 – Citizens of Chicago who’s businesses and homes would be affected by wastewater

4 – Green Infrastructure and SGIM sensor builders and installers.

Three Deployment Steps

First, continue with the testing phase and make sure the project is working as desired

Second, establish a broader installation plan with the office of the city of Chicago

Third, engage manufacturers, contractors, and wastewater managers to produce, install, and use the data.

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