The high plain areas of the river network draining to the cities of Padua and Vicenza (Alto Adriatico) are characterized by an extraordinary wealth of water resources, due to its geological formation and a very close relationship between surface water and groundwater feeding regional aquifers.
The area supports industrial, agricultural and hydroelectric activities but its rivers present flood risk. Yet droughts have also occurred during recent years, highlighting intensive and often conflicting usage of the resources (irrigation and hydroelectric uses in contrast to recreational use, tourism, natural and environmental aspects).
In this context, WeSenseIt will provide a vital contribution to the water resources planning and management, and flood and drought forecasting, as it will involve the community and promote concerted and coordinated actions in order to empower citizens to observe and understand water related risks and contribute to/adopt appropriate policies.
Vicenza, April 25, 2014
WSI technology was used during a real national emergency that was caused by the discovery of and necessity to defuse a bomb from World War II situated in the city of Vicenza. AAWA, together with the University of Sheffield, KNOW and QUINARY, developed a mobile application and organized the training of civil protection volunteers to use this application. This technology allowed the monitoring of the volunteers activity during the evacuation operations of more than 27,000 people. At the same time social media was also monitored in order to verify the absence of persons within the evacuation area. These monitoring operations were followed by the project partners within the Control Room together with the Director of the National Civil Protection (Dr. Franco Gabrielli). For the given support the City of Vicenza addressed to the project a thank you note.
The national mass media followed the event and highlighted the important role played by the procedures developed within the project.
AQUADIKE – WeSenseIt Exercise
Vicenza, March 30, 2014
A civil protection exercise was organised on the morning of Sunday, March 30th by the Alto Adriatico Water Authority and the Municipality of Vicenza, with the involvement of 134 volunteers and fifty technicians and researchers . The exercise, called ” Aquadike WeSenseIt” was the result of the synergy between the Civil Protection of the City of Vicenza and the Basin Authority and has had the dual objective to test the new mobile barriers for the hydraulic safety of the city and test the application (implemented for Android smartphones and provided by the project) that allows the exchange of information between citizens and the Civil Protection Authorities.
The exercise was an opportunity for the Civil Protection organizations affiliated with the City of Vicenza, to experience the installation of the mobile hydraulic defences that the city council has recently adopted to mitigate the risk of flooding in the central area of Vicenza. The volunteers assembled 30 anti-flood devices along Bacchiglione River (Largo Goethe). Men of civil protection have also installed in different critical points of Vicenza other mobile devices consisting of parallelepipeds denominated ” aquadike “, which,filled with water and suitably coupled to one another, form a waterproof barrier. The two different mobile devices offer the possibility of not having to employ the more traditional sand bags for the realization of temporary barriers during an emergency.
In the course of the exercise the WeSenseIt application for Android smartphones aimed at the exchange of information between citizens and the Civil Protection Authorities was also tested. Staff and volunteers, provided with fifty smartphones and located not only in the city but also throughout the catchment area of the Bacchiglione River, had different tasks: to send real-time hydrometric data from the instrumentation installed in the territory of the municipalities of Schio , Marano Vicentino and Costabissara, through the experimental app WeSenseIt and by QR -code technology; to monitor the level of the rivers upstream of Vicenza (in strategic places along the rivers Bacchiglione, Retrone and Astichello, and the tributaries Timonchio, Leogra and Orolo); to monitor any flooded areas of the city of Vicenza. They had to transmit information about their position and their activities with the app REPORT, and report flooding areas or level monitoring using the app WeSenseIt.
At the Municipal Operations Center in Vicenza project researchers have followed and coordinated through a web interface the operations of the volunteers. They have acquired and processed information from the operators and volunteers. These data were supplemented with information coming directly from citizens through the monitoring of the main social networks like facebook and twitter.
Saturday, March 22, 2014 : Participants equipped with smartphones were invited to take part in a collective day of training, where they were instructed on the use of the applications. Each participant received the instruction manual and a task list (different depending on the assigned task) with a description of the activities to be performed during the morning of 30 March.
Saturday, March 29, 2014: CFD (Operations Centre of the Veneto Region for the forecasting and of the flood events and their consequent effects on the territory) issued an alert bulletin.
The forecast confirmed the worsening weather conditions and showed the evolution of the flood of the Bacchiglione river. For logistical reasons related to the actual duration of the exercise, the passage of the flood wave has been “contracted” from 24 to 6 hours.
Sunday, March 30, 2014: the Mayor ordered the opening of COC (Municipality decision room and control room in emergency phases) starting at 6:30 am. The activities of the volunteers take started at 7.00 am and finished at 13.00.
At the end, participants were asked to complete questionnaires relating to the evaluation of the applications, in order to gather practical suggestions for their future improvements.