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Support for taking decisions in extraordinary situations of overflows and flooding

This activity is closely related to the constant situation of alert regarding the possible occurrence of extraordinary situations caused by the presence of adverse hydrometeorological phenomena. It is also now applicable for significant physical or functional structural failures in the system.

Daily basin global monitoring report
Daily basin global monitoring report

For these situations, applications and computer utilities related with predefined thresholds for warnings, alerts, and alarms have been developed, which interact with a telephonic warning system and with a permanent team on duty, working on shift, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, who receive and deal with these warnings, alerts and/or alarms should the need arise. Once a type of threshold has been detected, one acts in accordance with procedures predetermined by the service, informing at least one member of the standing committee about the situation and, if necessary, 24-hour on-site shifts will be activated, with full teams of personnel who are qualified for dealing with the different adverse situations.

For the display, monitoring and daily analysis of the detection of the events and/or phenomena mentioned, apart from the data provided by a "spy" application designed and incorporated into the SAIH SCADA, there are also other applications characteristic of the SCADA that evaluate the variables obtained in real-time in accordance with the predetermined thresholds that, if necessary, activate the telephonic warning system. On the other hand, the INM, in compliance with the current agreement it has signed with the Directorate-General for Water, every day provides the Confederación, in general, and the SAIH, in particular, with weather forecasts and additional important information such as pluviometry coming from the INM radars and electrical phenomena such as lightning.

When adverse meteorological phenomena are forecast or detected, in accordance with the Basic Guidelines of Civil Protection and the Emergency Plans of each Autonomous Community, within the scope of their competencies, the corresponding operational status is declared: Pre-emergency or Emergency. When the situation of Pre-emergency is declared, an operational status of Meteorological Alert comes into effect, consisting of the real-time monitoring of the rainfall (automatically) and one of evaluation, whose frequency increases in accordance with the confirmation or not of the forecasts available. Where appropriate, a report on the evolution of the adverse rain phenomenon is drawn up and sent to the members of the Standing Committee and to other CHS users. Once the Standing Committee has seen and analyzed the report, it is forwarded to the Civil Protection Units and to the INM. The exchange of information continues until the end of the adverse situation.

In a similar way to the Rainfall Monitoring system, surveillance and monitoring applications of the levels and flows in water courses and water cumulative flows, dammed volumes and spillways in reservoirs have been designed and incorporated, constituting a second operational phase called Hydrological Monitoring. Once the data provided by the system has been collected and analyzed, according to their evolution and trends, forecasts are made (and the criteria adopted to obtain them), to complement the relevant data to support the taking of decisions in extraordinary situations. Where appropriate, they are sent to the Standing Committee, and, if necessary, to the different Confederation Units and Services involved, as well as to other Public and/or Private Organisms, such as the Civil Protection Delegations and Sub-delegations affiliated with the Ministry of the Interior and affiliated with the Autonomous Communities.

Rainfall Monitoring
Rainfall Monitoring

Rainfall evolution in time
Rainfall evolution in time

Rainfall Monitoring
Rainfall Monitoring

Adverse hydrometeorological event report management
Adverse hydrometeorological event report management

There is active participation, following the direct Orders of the Standing Committee, with the Autonomous Communities, and specifically with those that have Flood Emergency Plans.

A file of adverse events and their most relevant characteristics is always made. Based on these events, the hydrological models available are revised and calibrated. Where appropriate, they are selected as base and experience in the face of new adverse events.

It must be pointed out that in all the cases of Pre-emergency and Emergency that have taken place, there has always been full collaboration and support with those in charge of Operations, especially with the Area Manager as a coordination link with the Standing Committee.

Lastly, we must add that coordination meetings are held periodically between the different SAIHs in Spain, twice a year, promoted by the Directorate-General for Water of the Ministry of Environment, as well as collaborations with other Organisms and Institutions, amongst which we must highlight the CEDEX Centre for Hydrological Studies, the National Meteorological Institute, the Institute for Research and Agricultural Development of the Region of Murcia and the University of Valencia, in order to exchange experiences, develop and incorporate new applications and specific models for resource management and forecast when faced with situations of rises in river levels and flooding.


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