HR Wallingford’s space-based dam monitoring system gets go-ahead for expansion

8 August 2019

HR Wallingford has announced it will broaden its space-based dam monitoring system, DAMSAT, to include water dams in a bid to reduce the risk of failures. The expansion is possible after the UK Space Agency extended funding for the project following a pilot study to monitor tailings dams used to store toxic mine waste in Peru. 

Over the next two years, HR Wallingford will use DAMSAT software to monitor movement at several water dams in the Cerro de Pasco region of Peru. The system uses Earth Observation (EO) techniques – including the analysis of spectral responses and iron traces from satellite images as well as data from navigation systems – combined with real-time in-situ devices

The consequences of water dam failures can be catastrophic. Earlier this year a breach at Tiware dam in India flooded seven villages and swept away 20 people, according to local media reports. DAMSAT could help to prevent such devastation by alerting authorities of problems with structures before they are at risk of failing, says the compant

‘DAMSAT allows authorities to monitor dams remotely, particularly useful in isolated locations or where there are concerns about dam management,” explained Marta Roca Collell, project manager

HR Wallingford leads the research consortium alongside international partners. The group is sponsored by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP), a five-year, £152 million programme designed to partner UK space expertise with overseas governments and organizations to deliver sustainable, economic or societal benefits.



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