DAMSAT harnesses satellite technology to remotely monitor water and tailings dams. The system helps to reduce the risk of failure of these structures and protect people and ecosystems downstream of dams.
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Craig Goff, technical director at HR Wallingford said: “At HR Wallingford, we believe that the sky’s the limit when it comes to using space technology to solve the world’s most pressing problems. These awards are a wonderful platform to showcase how the latest innovation in space data can be applied to dam monitoring to safeguard communities and livelihoods around the world.”
Developed by HR Wallingford, DAMSAT uses satellite Earth Observation techniques – including the analysis of spectral responses from satellite images and signals from navigation satellite systems – combined with real-time in-situ monitoring devices.
The technology can monitor and predict a host of safety indicators including: dam movement; leakage and pollution; and water level changes. Extensively piloted on over 30 tailings and water dams in Peru, DAMSAT is designed with the user in mind, offering a suite of individual modules that can be selected to best suit the particular dam and users’ needs.
Opportunities to employ the leading-edge monitoring are considerable. Globally, nearly 60,000 dams are registered with the International Commission for large Dams (ICOLD), which are estimated to hold 16,201 km3 of water - the same volume as around 6.5 billion Olympic-sized swimming pools.
DAMSAT’s development was funded by the UK Space Agency.