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Glacier Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) Early Warning System in the Punakha-Wangdi Valley, Bhutan

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Glacier Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) Early Warning System in the Punakha-Wangdi Valley, Bhutan


     PROJECT NAME

    Glacier Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) Early Warning System in the Punakha-Wangdi Valley

    PROJECT LOCATION

    Kingdom of Bhutan

    CUSTOMER/OWNER

    Hydromet Services Division, Department of Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs

    CONTACT INFORMATION

    Name: Karma Dupchu

    Title: Project Manager

    Email: kdupchu@gmail.com

    Name: Sangay Tenzin

    Title: Deputy Project Manager

    Email: sangaytenzin74@gmail.com

    CONTRACT NUMBER

    DOE/HMSD/UNDP-GEF/2009-2010

    CONTRACT VALUE

    $1,030,000 total

    AWARD DATE

    March 29, 2010

    COMPLETION DATE

    September 2011

    EQUIPMENT

     17 siren stations

    2 automatic weather stations with water level

     4 automatic water level stations

     1 Control Center

     17 Whelen OA-1 sirens

    23 9210 data loggers

    6 Dual orifice constant flow bubblers

     Customized Siren control GUI

    Customized web page for data display

    TELEMETRY

    Iridium

    SCOPE OF WORK

    Four water level sensors were placed at four glacial

    lakes that are susceptible to GLOF events. Two of these sensors detect whether lake levels have dropped suddenly and two detect whether the outlet streams have risen suddenly. Two additional water level sensors detect a sudden rise down stream of the glacier lakes.

    If user defined threshold values are exceeded sirens are activated that are located down stream and in

    the populated areas.

    PROBLEM SOLVED BY PROJECT

    Prior GLOF events caused loss of human life &

    property damage. The most recent was October

    1994. Sutron’s new system will warn the people to

    evacuate prior to a GLOF event, thus saving many

    lives.

    PROJECT CHALLENGES & SUTRON SOLUTIONS

    The remoteness of the glacier lakes is a major challenge. No roads to transport equipment reach the glacier area. All equipment must be brought in via mules or Yaks which takes 9 days each way. There is a 100 lb weight limit per animal. Multiple site trips had to be planned with large numbers of people and mules (two people have to carry the larger items).

    The weather at the upper stations is forbidding so construction must be scheduled between May and

    September. Telemetry for the system was a major challenge since there are no telephone lines or cell towers in the upper portion of the Project. Sutron used Iridium Satellite Communications for the stations.

    Inconsistent internet service (Control Center) was overcome by installing a BGAN terminal so that if regular internet service goes down, the satellite internet service will be used.

    INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS

    The original tender specified radio communication for the Project. Repeater stations between the glacier lakes and the control center were too expensive so Sutron proposed using Iridium to reduce costs & improve reliability.

    • 17 siren stations
    • 2 automatic weather stations with water level
    •  4 automatic water level stations
    • 1 Control Center
    • 17 Whelen OA-1 sirens
    • 23 9210 data loggers
    • 6 Dual orifice constant flow bubblers
    • Customized Siren control GUI
    • Customized web page for data display

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