New weather gadgets seen to mitigate disaster in Oro

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

WITH the recent installation of a new water level sensor at the Puntod-Kauswagan Bridge, the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) is optimistic their disaster-mitigating measures would be further enhanced.

CDRRMO weather specialist Virgil Lago said on Wednesday the device is very helpful in detecting the water level of Cagayan de Oro River as the gadget feeds data through short message service (SMS).

The sensor was mounted on the side of the bridge on Jan. 26 by a technical team from the National Disaster Management Institute (NDMI) of Korea.


In a manual provided by NDMI, the water gauge works by detecting the level of the river through the use of a radar sensor.

The device, the manual said, “measures the water level by generating a radar pulse signal on the water surface, receiving the returning echo signal and then calculating the distance to the water surface based on the duration of the round-trip of the signal.”

New weather gadgets seen to mitigate disaster in Oro
The sensor that is helpful in detecting the water level of Cagayan de Oro river was mounted at Punto-Kauswagan bridge on January 26, 2014 by a technical team from the National Disaster Management Institute (NDMI) of Korea. (Photo by CDRRMO)

One of the advantages of the radar water gauge, it added, is that it is neither sensitive to temperature nor significantly affected by the surrounding environment.

Lago said the water level sensor sends its updates to the CDRRMO computer server every 10 minutes through a text message.

Any change in the river’s water level, especially during a weather disturbance or flash flood, the CDRRMO will automatically receive the transmitted data.

“The precipitation amount data observed and measured onsite are transmitted to and the servers in Cagayan de Oro City Hall via SMS and are kept in the databases of these servers so that the administrator can check and monitor them using the observation data display program,” the manual said.

He said the device is installed with a smart subscriber identity module (SIM) card.

To ensure that the sensor would still be operational in case Smart loses its network signal, Lago said he has requested the NDMI to change the gadget’s program so he can manually override it.

Once the device’s SIM setup is reconfigured, Lago said it would be easier for them to send a text message using other cellular phone networks.

“I have already sent them (NDMI) an e-mail. We expect them to come back this April to make the program change,” Lago told this paper.

He said if the water level of the river reaches the critical point, the CDRRMO will activate the alarm system located on the rooftop of the city hall.

Waiting for installation is the rain gauge to be set up at Maasin Bridge in Barangay Nicdao, Baungon town in Bukidnon.

The rain and water level gauges and the alarm system are powered by solar panels, with an estimated life span of 20 years.

Lago said in the event the gadgets malfunction, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will handle the repair.

Alfonso Alamban, Department of Science and Technology-Northern Mindanao (Dost-10) regional director, during the recent launch of the Early Warning System for Flash Flood Alert System (FFAS), said only the DOST is allowed to do technical checkup and repair.

The FFAS instruments were donated by the NDMI to the city in an undertaking titled The Northern Mindanao Project.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 30, 2014.

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