Internet of Things soil monitors from Yorkshire-based DalesLandNet Limited are forming an integral part of a natural flood management project on Ilkley Moor.
The proprietary devices monitor the moisture levels in four separate zones within the soil and temperature at six different points along the 500m length of the unit. Data from the solar-powered units can then demonstrate the success of the investment made in the flood management project.
Moors for the Future is delivering the Defra-funded project. It forms part of the Backstone Beck Natural Flood Management Project, a partnership between Bradford Council and the Environment Agency using natural techniques to reduce the risk of flooding from Ilkley Moor.
By building so-called leaky dams from natural, woody materials in gullies, drainage is slowed down, and the downstream flood peak is held back.
Peat bunds have also been constructed. These long, low mounds also keep water on the moor rather than flood the areas downstream.
Whilst the use of these methods is well known, monitoring their performance has been somewhat haphazard until now. The DalesLandNet soil monitors allow the amount of water held in the ground to be observed remotely and in real-time. Strategically locating a number of the inexpensive devices allows specific interventions to be managed and potentially modified to achieve the required outcome.
Such initiatives have benefits beyond flood prevention, including improved biodiversity and climate change mitigation. They are likely to form part of the forthcoming Environmental Land Management schemes, which are currently light on detail about monitoring.
Dr Neale Hall, CEO of DalesLandNet stated, “We’re excited to be able to provide the before and after data that is needed to assess the efficacy of these flood prevention measures. Funding bodies want to see evidence that flood projects are living up to their claims, but this has been difficult to prove up until now because the equipment was so expensive. Our goal is to bring the cost down for providing this data so that flooding remediation efforts can be tracked.”
DalesLandNet offers the soil monitor as well as a rainwater gauge and has several other products under development. As well as supplying the hardware, a full suite of data monitoring tools is offered, allowing the devices to be left in the field with readings made remotely.