As the global climate continues to fluctuate, water disasters are on the rise. The United Nations (UN) recently reported that harmful water events top the list of the world’s most destructive disasters. The number of water-related disasters has increased by a factor of five over the past 50 years, driven by climate change and weather extremes (and also, at least in part, higher population density and better reporting). And while the death toll of these events have leveled out over the years due to better warning systems, the economic toll of the crises has not. Over the same time period, costs related to water emergencies averaged out to $202 million USD per day.
The rise in water disasters presents an urgent challenge. Here, we’ll outline the growing problem and discuss how the convergence of technologies such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), advanced data collection, and enterprise software integration form a vital tech toolkit for water disaster management.
Water disasters worldwide
No country or region is immune to water disasters. Climate change, extreme weather patterns, and human behavior all affect the damage water disasters cause. The Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) divides water disasters into three main types:
- Meteorological events, particularly convective storms, extratropical storms, and tropical cyclones. In September 2023, for instance, Cyclone Daniel devastated the city of Derna, Libya, smashing dams and killing thousands.
- Hydrological events, such as floods and the resulting mass movements. Haiti flooded in June 2023, displacing thousands of residents in an area still recovering from earthquakes.
- Climatological events, especially extreme rainfalls, and their opposite, droughts. For example, northeastern France was hit with a record rainfall in early November 2023. Rivers broke their banks, dissolving roads and forcing thousands to evacuate.
Not only can water disasters be acute, as in the case of the flash floods in Los Angeles in August 2023, but they can also be chronic. For example, Flint, Michigan is still dealing with the lead contamination crisis nine years after it switched from Detroit’s water supply to the Flint River. Water-borne illnesses also continue to be a persistent issue – according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), almost half of hospital beds worldwide contain patients suffering from a water-related disease.
The sheer magnitude of the risks involved underscores why water disaster management has become an imperative worldwide. As we grapple with the enduring repercussions of water disasters, the role of technology in mitigation becomes increasingly vital.
Water disaster management with Fulcrum’s tech trio
Within the Fulcrum platform, the convergence of three critical technology tools – Geographic Information System (GIS), advanced data collection, and software integrations – creates a comprehensive toolkit for water disaster management. This combination elevates real-time response and fortifies predictive and planning strategies for tackling water-related crises.
1. Geographic Information System
Geographic information system (GIS) technology brings revolutionary detail to water disaster management. Rather than merely monitoring information, GIS allows organizations to build interactive models by analyzing geospatial information in real time. Combining local topographical markers with regional weather standards, for instance, can unlock valuable information about possible future flood trends. This is particularly when combined with the details of larger climate changes.
2. Advanced data collection
All best practices for water disaster management start with rigorous data collection. Accurate data allows not only for disaster planning, but also for prediction. For example, authorities can map out potential flood zones in detail, accounting for shifting variables like construction projects and runoff. With a baseline established, it becomes much easier to issue early warnings, not to mention to deliver necessary emergency resources.
Data also delivers insights that make long-term planning more feasible and robust, building in an extra layer of protection for the people whose lives and livelihoods are on the line.
3. Integrations with other software
Rivers and waterways often cross town, state, and even international borders. This means many local, regional, and national authorities need to continually monitor and assess for flood conditions. More importantly, those authorities need to share information and strategies. However, many enterprise software systems can impede that vital sharing process. Today’s water disaster management requires a flexible, agnostic platform that allows for comprehensive multi-team analysis.
Fulcrum’s role in mitigating water disasters
Fulcrum’s robust toolkit for water disaster management combines GIS, broad data collection capability, and agnostic integrations with enterprise software. This empowers responders with accurate geospatial insights, timely on-site data, and a holistic view of the crisis, enabling decisive action. As water disasters test communities worldwide, Fulcrum’s tools ensure a prompt, coordinated, data-driven response that minimizes the impacts and increases insights.
Ready to explore Fulcrum’s disaster solutions? Don’t miss the chance to see how Fulcrum’s tech trio can empower your response to water disasters – talk with one of our Fulcrum experts today!