Slowing the Flow in Yorkshire

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In November we visited Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire to install sensors for a very interesting project sponsored by the Environment Agency. With the National Trust an organisation called Moors for the Future have been working on a series of natural flood management (NFM) interventions aimed at slowing the flow of floodwater at its source.


With the help of local volunteer workgroups making natural flood interventions, such as woody debris dams and small structures in streams, water from the hillsides is delayed as it runs into the streams and rivers below. The impact of this should be seen further down the catchment where communities have seen devastating floods in the past decade. As more water is held back the peaks should reduce, reducing the chance of overtopping and slowing the flow.


To record the affect of these interventions we are monitoring at 7 points on Crimsworth Dean Beck and Hebden Water using our 2nd generation LPWAN monitors. The results can be seen on Things Calderdale's graphs. As we gather more data we can really see how this catchment responds, and develop further visualisations to understand how the area is affected by heavy rainfall.

During the installation we added gateways which provide coverage for Flood Network and The Things Network deep into the valley of Crimsworth Dean Beck where no mobile signal could be received. 

We will return in March for optimisations and a private training workshop, so get in touch if you'd like to know more. In the meantime, if you want to volunteer for a Slow the Flow work party keep an eye on

Our LoRaWAN Future

Although we've been quiet for nearly a year, we've been beavering away on the technology and have now moved to using LoRaWAN low-power wireless connectivity. This means we can operate in any area that already has LoRaWAN coverage with The Things Network.

We're also in the process of deploying pilots to several local authorities. The modules are ready for programming and we've already deployed The Things Network coverage in Cardiff and Oxford.

We'll have more information on that as it progresses, but for now, enjoy a photo of boxfresh LoRaWAN modules. 

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What to build at Flood Hack 16

At Flood Network we're creating a network of flood sensors across the UK using Internet of Things technology. It's installed by people like you, by community flood groups and even by local authorities, to give a better picture of flooding. You can see the map we created at

This weekend we're coming to the Open Data Institute Floodhack 16 in Leeds, where we'll be demonstrating how it all works. But even when you're passionate about the content looking at data can sometimes be a bit dull. That's why we love to see people use it to make applications. This could be:

  • An application like Fergus' cycle path tracker which shows when a particular cycle path in the Cherwell Valley is likely to flood
  • A way to warn your community to start their flood readiness plans
  • It could even be something for farmers to warn them their livestock is at risk

We can make data available as MQTT or can post to a REST endpoint, so bring your tools and your Edward Tufte books and see what you can create. 

Also joining Floodhack are some ambassadors for The Things Network - a free and open network that enables the Internet of Things. Our new Flood Monitor kits are compatible with this network, so you'll be able to put sensors in a TTN area without putting up a base station. We'll have some sensors to experiment with and we'd love to test our Things Network sensor if anyone has the hardware.

Our Things Network compatible sensor

Our Things Network compatible sensor

Andrew Back (Wuthering Bytes) is one of the team behind ThingsCalderdale. Expect to see more sensors appearing in the Calder Valley soon.  Julian is part of the ThingsMcr team and I will be representing  ThingsOxford, which is now in the works.

Technology aside what we want is for people to understand their role in flooding and how they can be more prepared. To join a flood monitoring network gives the community an awareness of its waterways and it gives us a great use case for the Internet of Things to have a positive impact.

So come along to Floodhack in Leeds and let's build something amazing.

Flood Monitors in Dorset

We recently installed our first sensor in Dorset, by the River Winterborne. This includes a rather different installation which shows the water levels in a pump & sump system for a 16th century cottage rather than the river level. The sensor in the sump tells us when the water levels below the property are rising and when the pumps are working to 'bail out' the site.

We're awaiting Environment Agency approval for a second installation above a stream culvert since this watercourse is under their management. When we get approval we'll publish the levels.

Flood Network Map Launches

After many months of experimentation and development we're proud to release the Flood Network map:

It's great to see Oxford on the map, as it's the home of Flood Network and the original project which started this off. We're at the cutting edge of the Internet of Things and flooding and Nominet have done great things to help us make this a reality. If you want to know more about their involvement, have a look at this video and blogpost:

Join Us

We want people to engage with their rivers and improve resilience to flooding. We're doing that by looking for communities and individuals to become Floodwatchers or adopt a Flood Monitor, which is a small device which can be put at the end of a garden or under a bridge or floorboards to measure the water levels. By installing or adopting a Flood Monitor you can contribute to the bigger picture and improve flood risk and forecasting models, and you can also just watch those river levels when you're not nearby.

We Can Help Your Flood Response

Flood Network is working with the public sector to improve street-level observation and alerting during flood events and we're always looking for more enthusiastic innovative local authorities to join our network. 

For more information call us on 07771 537574 or email

- Ben Ward, Director

Groundwater Rising: New Data in Oxford

Before: The ditch, dry in summer. Highest recent levels were above the footbridge deck.

We're starting to see the winter season have an effect on the Flood Network in Oxford. Up in Wolvercote a ditch which is normally dry in the summer months has shown a rise of 10cm in the last few weeks. This is a good indication of the groundwater in the area and is a useful reference where it can have an effect further downstream.

The Flood Network Map, showing our sensor level rising.

After: The ditch has started to fill and shows a rise in groundwater.

If you know a good location which is relatively free from foliage above water then let us know. Become a Floodwatcher: Join Flood Network

What is Crowdsourced Hydrology?

An Oxford Flood Network Community Sensor installed over the Thames.

An Oxford Flood Network Community Sensor installed over the Thames.

"What is crowdsourced hydrology data and can it help us respond better to flooding?"

Ben will be asking that question when he speaks in the Flood Tech Theatre on the 14th October at Flood Expo exhibition in Excel London. 

We're also exhibiting, so get some free tickets and come down to see us. We'll have a live demo of the Flood Network's first deployment in Oxford and we'll be right in the middle of the UK's top event about flooding, including equipment, barriers, vehicles and more. Have a look at the website and get a ticket.

If you want to know more about what we're doing to improve flood data then sign up for our news updates or find us on twitter at @flood_network

Meet us at BGV Demo Day

For the past 12 weeks we've been on the summer 2015 cohort at Bethnal Green Ventures - an accelerator programme for people who want to change the world using technology.

Bethnal Green Ventures invest in and support great teams with new ideas to help build solutions to social and environmental problems through an intensive three-month programme.

With BGV's funding from Blackstone, Nominet Trust, Nesta and the Cabinet Office and their programme of expert workshops we've developed the idea from a community sensor network into a sustainable business model to address the needs of local authorities and flood risk modellers.

How those 12 weeks have flown by. On Wednesday 16th September we'll be pitching to a room of 100+ people, explaining why Flood Network is an idea that can change the world.

The Team: Tom Nickson (L), Ben Ward (R)

If you want to come and support us, invest in us or just fancy some drinks then free tickets are available here:

If you want to know more about what we're doing then let us know:, Twitter: @flood_network or join our mailing list below.

Otherwise we'll see you there.