Government authorities have an enormous responsibility in the field of flood protection. A reliable infrastructure for flood risk management allows the authorities to respond effectively and therefore to prevent damage and save lives. It was about 15 years ago when Deltares started on the development of a generic ‘Flood Early Warning’ system, Delft-FEWS. Since then, the users have invested more than 30 million euro in this open software and its use. Delft-FEWS is a generic and flexibly configurable data management platform that can be used in a range of different disciplines, one example being operational forecasting systems focusing on high water and flooding, drought, water quality or groundwater. But 'water information systems' are also widely used, particularly by Dutch water authorities, for historical measurement series and data analysis. There are two Delft-FEWS releases a year. They are available to all clients throughout the world.
Simone van Schijndel tells about Delft-FEWS
Our Delft-FEWS software was in use in more than 40 countries in 2014, with over 50 unique applications. In many countries (such as the Netherlands, the United States and the United Kingdom) it has been the official national system for hydrological forecasting for some time now. Furthermore, in 2014, we supplied the national system for the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia. Our activities are continuously expanding around the world. In South America in 2014, they included the implementation of high-water forecasting systems in Bolivia and Colombia. And in Vietnam, as part of a World Bank project, we are looking at how the national meteorological service can structure its forecasting and warning services as effectively as possible. The number of Delft-FEWS applications for coastal high-water forecasting is also on the increase across the globe.
In 2014, our work included systems for Abu Dhabi and Mauritius with the aim of forecasting water levels and wave conditions resulting from extreme storms at sea. In addition, there were new applications in 2014, such as the use of Delft-FEWS to determine flood risks in Brisbane and the surrounding area.
Every year, users from around the world meet to share their experiences at the international Delft-FEWS User Days, which were organised for the tenth time in 2014. In addition, we organised a user day in Australia for the first time in 2014 and there will be a second edition in 2015. We are also making preparations for a meeting in North America.
The more time we have to make decisions and come into action after a threat has been identified, the better. Delft-FEWS provides an extremely flexible and powerful data management shell that allows forecasters to identify imminent threats faster, and often more accurately.