[SE25-DRR] Low-cost ICTs for flood and drought risk management and development?

DAY 2 – Thursday 28 June – 10:45-12:30
Swiss Tech | Room 1C | Level Garden
Session Leaders

Feng Mao,
University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
Dr. Feng Mao is a research fellow and project manager in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science, University of Birmingham. His research examines the challenges and opportunities of emerging open and low-cost information and communication technologies in supporting socio-hydrological resilience building, adaptive water governance and sustainable development goals. In addition, he has been involved in designing and developing low-cost wireless sensor networks, visualisations, and decision support systems for citizen science based water management in the Global South.
Jagat Bhusal,
Society of Hydrologists and Meteorologists, Nepal bhusaljagat@gmail.com
Dr. Bhusal has Doctor of Philosophy in Geography, Master in Hydrology and Training on River and Dam Engineering, Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping. He has working experiences of more than 32 years in the hydrological science related to water resources development; 3 years as the Chairman of Electricity Tariff Fixation Commission of Nepal; 6 years as the Chairman of SOHAM-Nepal; 3 years as an Investigator in the Mountain EVO research program in Nepal. He has published 38 papers in proceedings, magazines and journals. Currently, he is one of Co-Investigators in the Landslide EVO research program in Nepal.
The emerging open and low-cost ICTs such as environmental sensing, wireless communications, visualisations and data processing tools play an increasingly important role in supporting hydrological monitoring and data collection. It raises a question about how the implementation of these technologies can be transformed into applications that meet the social needs, such as disaster management and sustainable development. For these purposes, successful ICT applications rely on not only good technical design, but also well considerations of non-technical factors, such as partnership and stakeholder collaboration, pathways to achieve social impact, institutional arrangement, operational mechanism, and physical and social contexts. This session calls for papers that provide examples, demonstrations, reviews or insights in how open and low-cost ICT applications support human well-being and sustainable development goals through monitoring and managing water-related disasters (e.g. flooding and drought). The following topics will be focused: (1) Challenges, opportunities and pathways of environmental ICTs in creating social impacts for disaster early warning and reduction, and sustainable development. (2) Innovations of low-cost and open ICT applications to create resilience to flood and drought, and to reduce their damages to basic and critical services. (3) Best practices, strategies and methods that are transferrable and applicable across regions and contexts.
Panelists and Abstracts
Picture-Based Crop Insurance (PBI): Using Farmers’ Smartphone Pictures to Reduce Basis Risk and Costs of Loss Verification
Francisco Ceballos1,Berber Kramer1, Miguel Robles2
1 International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, DC, USA
2 The World Bank, Washington, DC, USA
Presenting author’s email address: f.ceballos@cgiar.org
Biography of Presenting Author: Francisco Ceballos is a Senior Research Analyst at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). His professional interest includes the design, development, and evaluation of innovative agricultural insurance projects, in particular those focused on smallholder farmers. He has worked on development projects in numerous developing countries across Africa, South-Asia, and Latin America, and his work has been published in international journals, book chapters, and other outlets. He holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of Göttingen, Germany.
This paper describes and tests the feasibility of Picture-Based Crop Insurance (PBI), a new way to deliver affordable and easy-to-understand insurance. Under PBI, loss assessments are based on damage visible in a time-series of pictures taken by the farmer using regular smartphones. PBI aims at boosting uptake by reducing basis risk and relying on direct farmer participation and the tangibility of their own pictures to improve trust and understanding. By relying on smartphone pictures on which automated loss assessment procedures can be applied, farmers can receive timely compensation without expensive loss assessments. Results from a pilot implementation in the rice-wheat belt of India speak to PBI being a feasible and valuable alternative to existing insurance products, with very limited moral hazard.
Open Source Electronics and 3D printing for Early Warning Systems: A Case Study of Chosica, Perú, during 2017 Coastal Niño
Miguel Arestegui1, Renato Gazzolo1, Miluska Ordoñez1,   Abel Cisneros1,   Emilie Etienne1,   Pedro Ferradas1
1 Practical Action Latin America, Lima, Perú
Presenting author’s email address: miguel.arestegui@solucionespracticas.org.pe
Biography of Presenting Author: Miguel Arestegui is a DRR practitioner with a background in civil engineering and physics. He works for Practical Action Latin America and is responsible of research & development within the Disaster Risk Reduction program.
Early Warning Systems (EWS) face similar challenges throughout different contexts in developing countries, for example high costs for monitoring equipment and adaptability to local particularities, affecting their sustainability, efficiency and community ownership. Unfamiliar precipitation patterns due to a changing climate in data-scarce regions makes the situation even more complex. New technologies such as open source electronics and 3D printing provide a set of tools that can contribute to address those challenges. These can complement scientific approaches.
As part of the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance, Practical Action is developing and testing monitoring stations based on those technologies. In 2017, extreme rains and water-related disasters occurred throughout Perú. These events tested our yet experimental EWS. Initial results provide evidence that those technologies can indeed tackle common EWS challenges and improve climate & technology justice.
Integrated Participatory and Collaborative Mapping Using Low-cost ICTs for Disaster Resilience
Wei Liu1, Sumit Dugar2,3, Prakash Khadka4
1 International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria
2 Practical Action Consulting, Nepal
3 Department for International Development (DFID), Nepal
4 Center for Social and Development Research, Nepal
Presenting author’s email address: liuw@iiasa.ac.at
Biography of Presenting Author: Submissions must be accompanied by an 80 word biographical paragraph of the presenting author. This information will be used by the Session Leader for introduction purposes or may also be published in conference literature.
Critical knowledge gaps seriously hinder efforts for building disaster resilience. Information deficiency is most serious at local levels, especially in terms of spatial information on risk, resources and capacities of communities. We develop a general approach that integrates community-based participatory mapping processes with emerging collaborative digital mapping techniques using low-cost ICTs. We demonstrate the value and potential of this integrated approach in flood-prone lower Karnali river basin, Western Nepal. By engaging a wide range of stakeholders and non-stakeholder citizens we quickly mapped 74 communities in 2017. The new digital community maps are richer in content, more accurate, and easier to update and share than those produced by conventional Vulnerability and Capacity Assessments. This approach provides an effective link between coordinating and implementing local DRR and resilience building interventions to designing and informing regional development plans, but limitations on technological barrier, map ownership, and empowerment potential also exist.
Learning To Cope With Water Variability Through Participatory Monitoring: The Case Study Of Mustang Nepal
Santosh Regmi1, Jagat Bhusal2
1 Nepal Hydrological and Meteorological Research Center
2 Society of Hydrologists and Meteorologists Nepal
Presenting author’s email address: sregmi11@yahoo.com
Biography of Presenting Author: Mr Santosh Regmi from Nepal, have Master’s degree in Meteorology and Hydrology from Tribhuvan University of Nepal. He has ten years of experiences in hydrological and meteorological monitoring, data analysis for water resources management and, climate and climatic variation study over Nepal. For last three years, he worked as a researcher in Society of Hydrologists and Meteorologist Nepal for Mountain EVO research project lead by Imperial College, London. He has worked in impelemnting low cost technologies on participatory approach in Mountain Evo research sites in Nepal. He has published one peer reviewed scientific paper, one under review process as lead author, and is co-author in two papers published in peer reviewed journals.  
The study evaluated the potential of participatory monitoring of hydrological variables to improve utilization of scarce water to reduce risk on agriculture during droughts. Occurrences of droughts are also likely in the high altitude Himalayan region due to climate change. The weakening precipitation is one facet of the change taking place whereas there is evidence of an increasing intensity of rainfall that often leads to snow avalanche and deadly debris flows. Low cost sensors were used to measure stream flow and precipitation. Participatory monitoring allowed communities to understand the use and management of local water resources and at the same time developed a sense of ownership of hydro-meteorological information around them. The participatory monitoring of stream flow and rainfall generate evidences by which local people experience the effect of climate change and stresses on water resources, which will also support economic development; livelihood improvement and made aware of disaster risks.
Rapid analyses of environmental strain across temporal and spatial scales
Chao Wu1
1Zhejiang University,People’s Republic of China
Presenting author’s email address: chao.wu@imperial.ac.uk
Biography of Presenting Author: Dr. Chao Wu received a PhD degree from Zhejiang University, China. From 2011, he was a Research Associate in the Discovery Science Group working on Elastic Sensor Network, and now an associate Professor in Zhejiang University. His main research focus on data analysis and modelling, mobile privacy and social network (especially semantic social network), etc.
The impacts of climate change and responses to climate change, will usher in the restructuring of energy economies, bring in new finance and aid, affect supply chains, resource transfers, migration of people, animals and pathogens. Despite such a rapidly changing reality, tools are not in place for rapid assessment and adaptive policy response. Hence, there is a need for quantitative tools that can, rapidly, organise and/or collate big data to produce knowledge on the impacts disruptions in urban life occurring from infrastructure failure, a changing climate and security threats could have on urban systems and its population.