Shanghai Water Authority Prevents Flooding with Echelon's Technology

April 5, 2005
Remote monitoring and operation of flood gates allows quick response to rising waters

Echelon Corporation, a supplier of technology for the widely-used LonWorks control networking platform, announced that the Shanghai Water Authority is using Echelon's technology to prevent flooding in the Taihu River Valley in the Shanghai region, an area covering almost 37,000 sq. kilometers and home to over 30 million people. The Chinese Ministry of Water Resources initiated a $9.8 billion (USD) plan in 2002 aimed at raising the standards of anti-flood projects to shield the area's largest and most important cities and industrial centers and help protect the region from a recurrence of the flooding disasters of 1991 and 1999. Natural disasters, including flooding, cost China over $22 billion (USD) in 2003 alone. The Shanghai project is a two-phase project that is designed to regulate water flow in the region to reduce flooding and provide a platform for water quality monitoring, and is being reviewed to potentially become the basis for a national water resource management model.

"It is essential that we implement flood control and water management measures in China and especially in the region surrounding Shanghai," said Mr. Chen Mei Fa, Chief Engineer, Shanghai Water Authority. "A LonWorks based system using Echelon's control networking products was chosen because the critical nature of the project required absolute reliability, extreme flexibility and expandability as conditions and demands change, and an ability to act upon information in real-time with utter confidence."

The LonWorks based flood control system provides water level data in real-time, enabling the water authority to see conditions across the entire region as they develop and make decisions to protect areas downstream from flooding or overflow. The system optimizes operations with simultaneous control of all flood gates and pump stations in the region, and provides a platform to cost-effectively modify or expand the system in the future. Should water levels reach flood stages, notification is sent to the central control office, allowing officials to take immediate action to remotely close the flood gates. Each station is also fitted with a video camera to provide visual confirmation of conditions, further reducing costs and the amount of staff required to oversee operations.

Shanghai Water Authority turned to Shanghai Gao Cheng Technology Co. Ltd., a LonWorks systems integrator specializing in water resource management and technologies, to implement the flood control system. The solution uses products with embedded Echelon control networking technology as well as IP integration products supplied by Echelon.

"The reliability and advanced web features of Echelon's Internet Servers are essential to the success of this application," said Mr. Fan Yong Shen, Shanghai Gao Cheng Technology Co. "The ability to combine information networks with control networks is the essential capability provided by Echelon's products -- enabling a very low cost and effective means of gathering data from multiple, remote locations and transmitting this data over the Internet to make critical, potentially life saving decisions."

"We are excited by the potential economic and human benefits of the Water Authority's application of our technology," said Lawrence Chan, Echelon's vice president of Asia Pacific and Japan. "This project serves as another example of the broad range of important applications for Echelon products and as a model for what can be done throughout China to help reduce the effects of flood disasters. If the model is successfully replicated, we believe that such projects represent a significant revenue opportunity in China."

A system using similar Echelon products is currently being used to increase safety in coal mines in the Shanxi region of China. The system remotely monitors and controls ventilation systems in the mines to reduce dangerous gas levels and help decrease the number and frequency of mining accidents in China.

Source: Echelon Corporation