Relying only on manual precipitation measurements to manage reservoirs, the Irrigation Department of Sri Lanka was often unprepared for flood waves, resulting in rapid releases, breaches, and increased flood damages. The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) was asked by the Irrigation Department in January 2015 to provide a solution for improving flood resilience. The department needed data on hourly rainfall intensity so it could prepare reservoirs to receive and store intense rainfall, but traditional weather stations were too expensive for this application.
To provide an effective and affordable solution, IWMI developed a low-cost mobile weather station that transmits data through SMS, using open-source hardware and software. Five stations are being piloted in the catchment of the Nachchaduwa reservoir in Anuradhapura. The operation and maintenance of the stations are being studied to identify avenues for technical and policy development to better support flood risk reduction policies.