Using state-of-the-art technology, the national forecasting system is designed to work under the many challenges presented by the tropical Malaysian environment. It is based upon a three-stage process to develop the system and forecast floods. First, our engineers set up the system by gathering historical rainfall and flow data as well as creating models of the runoff, river channels and flood plains; Second, the data are combined with weather forecasts and on-the-ground measurements to predict water levels; finally, the system is set to run operationally and continuously, with forecasts and warnings automatically generated. A national control centre disseminates flood warnings to each state’s flood response teams, and warnings are also made available to the public via an app.
Emma Brown, project director, says: “At HR Wallingford, we have been involved with the design of flood management schemes for over 70 years, and bring our knowledge and experience to help communities that are vulnerable to flooding around the world. The nationally-consistent approach to flood management taken by Malaysia really raises the bar for early-warning systems around the world. And given that flooding is likely to get worse in many areas of the world, I am hopeful that governments and agencies will prioritise implementing similar initiatives wherever they can save lives.”