With floods estimated to cost Australian communities over $400 million each year and recent research conducted by NRMA Insurance showing that 25% of drivers admit to driving through floodwater even though the NSW SES advises that it's never safe to do so, it's clear that floods are both expensive and dangerous.
Additionally, research NRMA Insurance conducted with the University of NSW, shows that it takes a very small amount of floodwater to make even a large vehicle vulnerable and float away.
Early warning system
For these reasons, NRMA Insurance and NSW SES are supporting a 12 month trial of new, Australian flood monitoring technology, that aims to reduce the costs and risks associated with floods through early detection and warning.
Conducted in partnership with local councils, the trial of ‘DipStik’ technology will take place in six flood-prone regions including Campbelltown, Liverpool, Shellharbour, Coffs Harbour, Wollondilly and Dungog.
DipStik works by monitoring water levels when a storm occurs and sends warning messages to the council and NSW SES to take appropriate measures and advise the local community members of floodwater risk.
DipStik can also warn oncoming motorists and the local community of a flooded area or road through a high-powered flashing beacon.
Smart monitoring systems like DipStik can provide early warning of floods and can play a vital role in helping communities plan for and manage flood events.
Monitoring systems such as DipStik can also lead to improved understanding of flood trends in local areas.
The trial is part of NRMA Insurance and NSW SES’ commitment to help communities better understand, reduce and prevent risks associated with natural disasters.
It's hoped early warning systems can help motorists to better plan their journeys during a flood event and educate the community to avoid driving through floodwater.
The DipStik can monitor water levels 24 hours a day. Each DipStik device is powered by solar panels to ensure that no external power connections are required and DipStik can constantly monitor water levels in all conditions.
The DipStik will also work at night as there's a small battery storage unit attached to each device.
So what should you do if you see a DipStik flashing?
It’s important to heed the advice of the NSW SES and, if a member of the community or a driver sees a DipStik flashing, to never, enter floodwater.
Our advice is to listen to the local council and NSW SES, to stop when you see the warning signal or as advised by the local authorities and take an alternative route away from the floodwater.
Remember, if it’s flooded, forget it!