The Environment Agency are the leading public organisation for protecting and improving the environment in England and Wales.
Around 5 million people, in 2 million properties, live in flood risk areas in England and Wales. The Environment Agency has an important role in warning people about the risk of flooding, and in reducing the likelihood of flooding from rivers and the sea.
The Environment Agency has developed a new Flood Risk Management Strategy. This new approach moves away from the traditional focus of defending against floods to managing flood risk. Flood warnings comprise of several processes including weather, river and coastal conditions, forecasting river and sea levels, disseminating flood warnings, and influencing those at risk to the effective action to prepare for and respond to flood warnings.
The Environment Agency's Requirements
The Environment Agency’s original telemetry systems, commissioned by Servelec Technologies in 1989, served both the Anglian and South West regions well but they were very close to the end of their technical lifecycles. Leading edge technology was therefore needed to replace the existing systems and to provide flow modelling, weather radar and more importantly, flood forecasting warnings.
The existing telemetry systems provided the foundation upon which the region has implemented additional sites and is currently developing a sophisticated Flow Forecasting Modelling System, AFFMS. The telemetry systems had a resilient, open and flexible design incorporating the weather radar display software STORM.
The SWANTEL (South West and Anglian Telemetry) project was initiated to enable the capture and subsequent storage of data in an Oracle database relating to climatic conditions throughout the South West and East Anglia regions of the UK.
The SWANTEL system needed to enable joint system management to be undertaken. This requirement implied that the system should be uniformly configured to the same standards in both regions and required that the system should be resiliently connected across the Wide Area Network.
The Environment Agency awarded Servelec Technologies a contract valued at £1.6 million to design two regional schemes to improve flood forecasting in the Anglia and South West regions.
The aim of the project was to improve The Environment Agency's ability to forecast floods and droughts and to monitor pollution. The Anglian region covers more than 27,000 km2 and is the home to more than 5 million people. The Anglian region telemetry system links to over 900 outstations across the region. The South West region covers approximately 24,000 km2 and has a population of just under 5 million (however the region hosts some 15 million visitors each year). The South West system links to 600 outstations of various manufacture located across the region, in both cases the system supplies data based on river level, river flow, rain gauge and associated equipment.
The new system offers a quicker, more accurate and detailed information service in the South West and Anglian regions and partner related strategic initiatives in the Midlands, Thames and The Environment Agency Wales regions. Alan Stubbs, CEO of Servelec Group, says "We are proud to provide Anglia and the South West with leading-edge web technology to deliver accurate flood forecast information, enriching the quality of life for the people who live there".