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Game-changing Floodwater Tech Goes Global

Image Credits: UQ, Press Release.
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The University of Queensland’s pioneering floodwater measurement technology is set to make a global impact through a licensing agreement with a US-based company. Developed by Associate Professor Simon Albert and Dr Nick Hutley from UQ’s School of Civil Engineering, this innovative system provides real-time water monitoring during natural disasters, eliminating the dangers associated with manual measurements in hazardous conditions.

Central to this groundbreaking technology is a camera-based tool that allows remote access to critical data and informed decision-making. Leveraging advanced 3D stereo computer vision, machine learning, and cloud analytics, it accurately measures water height and velocity without the need for direct contact with the water, thus mitigating risks to personnel and equipment.

While the primary application of this tool is flood risk management and ensuring human safety, its potential extends much further. In an era marked by climate change and a growing global population, quantifying and managing water resources have become paramount.

Understanding the flow of water in rivers is crucial for striking a balance between irrigation, drinking water supply, and environmental conservation. Additionally, it plays a vital role in comprehending the impact of pollutants on river systems, particularly after extreme weather events, and their potential consequences for sensitive marine ecosystems downstream.

The company, through its licensing agreement with The University of Queensland, has brought this transformative technology to various regions, including Queensland, the Murray-Darling Basin, Tasmania, and international sites in New Zealand, Europe, and the US. Josh Soutar, General Manager of Xylem Australia and New Zealand Analytics, underscores the profound significance of this technology.

UniQuest, UQ’s commercialisation company, played a pivotal role in facilitating the licensing arrangement. UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss highlights the strength of the ongoing partnership with the American company and anticipates the global adoption of this transformative UQ innovation.

Crucially, this innovative technology didn’t emerge in isolation. It underwent rigorous field testing in collaboration with water suppliers, farmers, and communities across South and Western Queensland. These real-world trials validated the system’s practicality and effectiveness in addressing the complex challenges associated with water monitoring and management.

The University of Queensland’s camera-based system offers a pioneering solution. Its ability to provide real-time data during natural disasters ensures the safety of personnel while enabling informed decision-making. Beyond flood monitoring, this technology holds tremendous potential in environmental conservation, industrial processes, and wastewater management, making it an invaluable addition to water resource managers’ toolkits worldwide.

While the primary focus is flood risk management and human safety, this technology has far-reaching implications. In a world grappling with climate change and a growing population, quantifying and managing water resources are paramount. Understanding river water flow is critical for balancing irrigation, drinking water supply, and environmental preservation. It also plays a crucial role in assessing the impact of pollutants on river systems, especially after extreme weather events, and their implications for sensitive marine environments downstream.

In a time of increasing environmental uncertainty and the pressing need for sustainable resource management, The University of Queensland’s camera-based system offers a pioneering solution. Its ability to provide real-time data during natural disasters ensures the safety of personnel while enabling informed decision-making. Beyond flood monitoring, this technology holds tremendous potential in environmental conservation, industrial processes, and wastewater management, making it an invaluable addition to water resource managers’ toolkits worldwide.

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