Intelligent Flood Warning System in Buon Kuop Hydropower Plant

Buon Kuop Hydropower Company has successfully studied and put into application the remote flood warning system instead of a siren warning system to help local people in downstream areas avoid unfortunate accidents, damages when storms and floods occur.

     Automation and high precision

In 2010, the Buon Tua Srah, Buon Kuop and Serep 3 hydropower plants of Buon Kuop Hydropower Company were officially put into operation. These plants are located on the Serepok River with relatively complicated topography, the length of river bank is about 60km. Along the two river banks, people open many river watering places for bathing and washing. During the dry season, children regularly swim in this river. This causes potential dangers when hydropower plants start up or discharge water for flood control. “In the early 2010s, most hydropower plants often used siren systems for warning. However, the siren can only be heard from about 5km away, and in many hidden places, local people cannot hear the siren signal, so it is very dangerous when hydropower plants carry out the water discharge”- Mr. Nguyen Duc - Deputy Director of Buon Kuop Hydropower Company said.

    Realizing these risks, the Board of Directors required studying and designing a more effective warning system. Thanks to the best efforts of workers and engineers of the Company, 3 months after being assigned this task, a fully automatic flood warning system was successfully provided, installed and put into operation.

Close-up of the automatic remote flood warning system of Buon Kuop Hydropower Company

Through researches and surveys, all along the river in downstream areas of hydropower plants, there are mobile phone signals, so the Company's engineers have thought of a flood warning model based on telecommunications waves. Based on this thinking, a device system automatically receiving calls and meeting warning signals is provided. When receiving an incoming call, this device will automatically pick up and notify the center so that the operating status will be known for sure. After that, the system will automatically turn on the power source to operate the amplifier and loudspeaker systems. Upon receiving the signal proving that devices are in good working condition, the employee will read the notice. The notice will immediately transmit to remote warning devices and loudspeakers. In case of power failure, this device will also automatically start up the backup generator. After contents of the notice are ended, the device will automatically return to the “sleep” mode.

Obtaining positive results after the first phase of putting into operation, the Company has organized many improvements to the Intelligent flood warning system, promoting the application of advances of the communication technology to facilitate the convenient, safe and effective operation. Up to now, operators don’t have to read the notice as previous, they just type notice contents on the computer, then a standard voice will be sent to stations and loudspeakers. These notices are repeated to ensure that all local people can hear clearly. “At first, people are still confused, but after a while, just listening to the signature tune, we knew right away that Buon Kuop Hydropower Plant is about to discharge water” - a resident in Duc Xuyen Commune, Krong No District said that.

In addition to notices through warning station systems, Buon Kuop Hydropower Company has also established a website with the address . At this website, residents and authorities are able to know running information easily. During the flood season, this website will be updated water flow situations and other flood-related information every 15 minutes, so that local authorities and people can actively apply flood control measures. At the same time, the Company also provides monitors to supervise observation and operation parameters of reservoirs at the Office of the Central Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control of Dak Lak and Dak Nong provinces, other tablets for the Steering Committee of Natural Disaster Prevention and Control of provinces and districts in order to timely monitor and grasp operation and regulation developments of reservoirs.

No drowning case

Until now, Buon Kuop Hydropower Company has installed a total of 20 flood warning stations along with the downstream areas. Such stations are usually located in river watering places, ferryboats across the river, river entrances etc. In addition to surveyed locations, the Company has also installed stations at the request of localities to ensure the safest for local people in the downstream areas.

     Mrs. Pham Thi Au, an official in Duc Xuyen Commune, Krong No District said that “In the past, drowned children villages and communes often occur. In the summer, children love to swim in the river, and when the water level rises, children are easy to drown. However, since 2014 up to now, when the remote flood warning system is available, the drowning of children has gone”.

Buon Kuop Hydropower Company always pays great attention to the flood warning, safety protection of dams, reservoirs, strict compliance with inter-reservoir operation procedures, and effective coordination with localities in flood and storm prevention, search and rescue operations, and absolute safety guarantee in the power generation. From the beginning of 2020 to the end of September 11, 2020, the power output of power plants of Buon Kuop Hydropower Company reached 1,310 billion kWh, equivalent to 54.6% of the year plan, and the accumulated power output from the date of putting into operation up to now is 26,167 billion kWh. Furthermore, to ensure the effective flood warning coordination, especially in the rainy season, the Company has developed and implemented according to the warning procedures. The Company also clearly knows the list and phone numbers of local government officials to actively and promptly coordinate in necessary cases.

A worker of Buon Kuop Hydropower Plant told that previously, local people are very “subjective”, when the plant discharges water, many people refuse to step ashore when security guards require to do so, now all people in the area generally agree to support the Plant. In most of the stations, people voluntarily provide power to support operations of the flood warning systems.

Appreciating the coordination in terms of flood and storm prevention of the electricity sector, an officer of Irrigation and Flood Control Department of Dak Nong Province said that: “Annually, the Department of Natural Disaster Prevention and Search and Rescue, and other downstream districts of reservoirs such as Krong Ana, Buon Ma Thuot City, Buon Don, Krong No, Cu Jut have coordinated with Buon Kuop Hydropower Company to organize propaganda programs on mechanisms and coordination plans in flood regulations and discharge of hydroelectric reservoirs with the participation of representatives of provinces, districts and communes. Particularly, the remote flood warning systems Buon Kuop Hydropower Company is currently working very effectively. Unfortunate accidents that used to happen previously are now no longer available”.

The efficiency gained from the fully automatic remote flood warning system of Buon Kuop Hydropower Company has been highly appreciated and patented by the Vietnam Electricity Corporation, and currently it is applied to many other hydropower plants. 

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