Mapua engineers develop dam monitoring system
Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - March 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A dam monitoring system developed by Mapua University engineering researchers and scientists may be a crucial tool to prevent future water shortage crises, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said.

Enrico Paringit, executive director of the DOST Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology (PCIEERD), said the automated real-time monitoring system for dams and reservoirs developed by a team of Mapua University researchers was already being used by the National Water Resources Board.

Both the PCIEERD and NWRB had provided funds to the research and development of the ARMS project.

The ARMS employs wireless sensors to provide the NWRB, the regulating agency for all water resources development and management activities in the country, access to real-time data on water levels and a decision support tool for the daily management of reservoirs.

In cooperation with dam administrator National Power Corp., Mapua was able to deploy the ARMS system in the cascading Ambuklao, Binga and San Roque dams along the Agno River. 

The cost-effective ARMS system provide NWRB real-time data on water level, rainfall, humidity, temperature, atmospheric pressure, soil moisture and wind speed – all hydrological parameters necessary for monitoring water availability and managing the reservoirs.

Paringit expressed confidence that the ARMS can help government in mitigating risks in watersheds like drought and floods as it provides real-time data on the conditions of the dams.

“We can outsmart water scarcity by employing smart technologies and using real data to create science-based decisions and policies to ensure ample water supply. ARMS is locally developed, making it a cost-effective tool for our water companies,” he said.

ARMS project leader Francis Aldrine Uy said all of the data coming from the deployed sensors are received in real-time at the NWRB office.

“These data help the NWRB and dam operators in making smart decisions regarding dam operation specifically in the utilization of water,” he said.

Uy said that for data storage and archiving, the web portal “Arms4Dams” was also developed for information viewing at different access levels for the public, government agencies and other relevant stakeholders.

Uy added that these data can be used for hydraulic simulations that can alert operators on possible dam overflow, therefore providing readiness for water discharge and evacuation in the area as needed.

He expressed hopes that ARMS can be deployed in all dams in the country to help government officials and dam operators in managing water resources.

In the future, ARMS will also be installed and deployed in Magat and Pantabangan dams and reservoirs in partnership with the National Irrigation Administration.

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