Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
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Loughborough University

5G Research Centre (5GRC)

EWIN Emergency Water Information Network


An Urgent Problem  

Flooding is already a problem all over the world, and with climate change it is predicted to get worse. The global challenge is to prevent flooding where possible, by better understanding the flow of water through landscapes. Where prevention is not possible, the goal is to reduce the impact of floods and protect populations.   

The Emergency Water Information Network (EWIN) is a project funded by the British government’s Global Challenges Research Fund. It is looking at ways to study flooding from rivers in Mexico as a representative example of a country that is currently struggling to manage increasingly regular and severe floods.   

Missing Infrastructure 

A problem common to many types of flood is that the initial source of the water is unknown. This makes it difficult to learn from past events and recognize warning signs in advance. Most developed countries have sophisticated sensor networks in place to monitor rivers and provide adequate advance warning of flooding. Developing countries often lack this infrastructure, however, in common with the UK, they do have state-of-the-art cellular mobile phone systems.  

The Emergency Water Information Network project has therefore sought to develop a cost-effective real-time flood sensing system using cellular technologies combined with hydrology sensing that can be easily deployed in developing countries. In addition, it can be tailored to the environment where it will be deployed.   

EWIN comprises three teams of researchers from the UK and Mexico, supported by SMEs with expertise in water engineering and embedded electronics. These multi-disciplinary teams have been investigating monitoring river states using low cost wireless sensor networks close to rivers. Since most of these areas have wide mobile phone coverage, we expect that multiple radio network providers will be able to provide radio coverage for the catchment area. Along with background research, prototyping sensors and flood modelling, the teams have conducted a series of highly targeted field trials.  

Loughborough University has provided expertise in water engineering and radio communications to complement the research base in Mexico from University of Colima and the National Autonomous University of Mexico. 


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