City of Bradford Joins Flood Network

The internet of things is made of people

At Floodhack last year in Leeds we made connections with people from all around the region. One of the conversations led to a discussion on how Flood Network could work in Bradford.

Fast forward to February 2017 and the first two sensors are now installed on Bradford's culverts, sending data back about levels in the city's urban water courses.

Sensor on Bradford Beck

Sensor on Bradford Beck

We recently shipped a new batch of flood sensors out to Bradford, equipped with LoRaWAN modules to get us far into the fabric of the city. 

The network was installed at the same time, managed by ODI Leeds and with legwork from Bradford Metropolitan District Council (BMDC) and Julian Tate of Things Manchester, expanding The Things Network to two locations in Bradford and soon to be more.

Measured Coverage from two Bradford's Things Network Gateways in Feb 2017

Measured Coverage from two Bradford's Things Network Gateways in Feb 2017


Much of Bradford city centre is built over the Bradford Beck, which was culverted at the turn of the 19th century. As the catchment of the Beck is heavily urbanised it is very responsive to rainfall, with potentially fast flows and high sediment concentrations [1].

In 1993 the Bradford Beck Flood Alleviation Scheme was completed - a 1.5km culvert under the north of the city, emerging further downstream on the Beck, bypassing the city centre.

Bradford Beck Flood Alleviation Scheme

Bradford Beck Flood Alleviation Scheme


The sensors report the levels at each of these locations every 15 minutes. By monitoring these two locations we can see when the culvert is taking water away from the Beck, or spot when blockages have happened. 

WHAT use is it?

Because the data is updated every 15 minutes it can be used to spot problems before they become severe. Sending staff into a flood to look for flooding is a serious safety issue, and duty managers can make decisions on how to deploy ever more limited resources.

It's currently running as a pilot for BMDC, to help understand the promise of LoRaWAN and LPWAN in general, and the data is made visible on the public map at The data will eventually be visible on Data Mill North where residents and interested parties can incorporate it into new experiments or even new business ventures.

More sensors will follow in the coming weeks as BMDC find suitable locations. We're looking forward to building relationships with local organisations and helping people to understand their relationship to their water courses.  

Would you like to know more?

We're currently registering interest for new sensors. They're priced at £270 each with a subscription of £10/month per sensor, which gives you access to the analytics tools of Flood Network and a heap of new features arriving later this year such as alerts and notification groups.