Goa: Armed with gauges, community ready to predict rainfall and landslides | Goa News

PANAJI: Even considering that climate change has caused an increase in erratic and extreme rainfall, making landslides more frequent, especially in the Western Ghats, ordinary citizens have stepped up to monitor rainfall, forecast landslides and prevent loss of life.
On Saturday, the state will introduce ‘Satark’ – a landslide prediction system based on meteorological data – in which more than 50 citizens from different corners of Goa will be handed over rain gauges.
Citizens who receive these devices will also receive training on how to take measurements and evaluate rainfall data themselves. For each area, there will be a threshold, and once rainfall crosses that threshold, citizens can alert other members of the community to temporarily move to safer locations. Often social media and websites are used to ensure the alert reaches a wider audience.
Satark was developed in Maharashtra as a community effort of 15 citizens through crowdfunding and with the help of professional researchers.
Concerned about the increase in extreme weather events, the Goa government had formed a committee to give its recommendations to predict landslides and prevent damage from such incidents. The committee found an answer to Satark, which was already using citizen-collected rainfall data to predict landslides with almost 80% accuracy in Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri in Maharashtra.
A researcher from the Goa campus of BITS-Pilani had previously provided a vulnerability map, based on which more than 20 points in North and South Goa were identified as having a high probability of landslides.
Officials said citizens in those roughly 20 areas will receive state rain gauges on a priority basis, in collaboration with the Center for Citizen Science (CCS), the Pune-based NGO that developed Satark.
“The Indian Department of Meteorology has its rain gauges, but they cover a wider grid, whereas the rain gauges provided to citizens will help provide more local data,” an official said.
Satark proved to be a suitable model for Goa as it was designed especially for landslide forecasting in the Western Ghats and was developed by bringing together initial data from Mumbai and Goa.
Satark rain gauges will help fill the gaps where no rain gauge is currently available.
CCS researchers have found that July and August are a time when landslides are most likely to occur in the Western Ghats, and citizens receiving the rain gauges before this time should help Goa minimize landslide damage. ground. monsoon season.

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