A half-day workshop focusing on 'A Computational Model for Flooding' in Mauritius was held this morning at Cyber Tower 1 in Ebène, at the initiative of the Mauritius Research Council (MRC). Some 120 participants from the public and private sectors were present. The Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr Yogida Sawmynaden, as well as the Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Mr Nandcoomar Bodha, also attended the workshop.
In his address, Minister Sawmynaden highlighted that in recent years, Mauritius has experienced an increase in flooding events across the island during the rainy season resulting in considerable material damage. With the development of high performing computers and advances in computational modelling techniques, he said, computational simulations are increasingly being used as an additional tool to reach a better understanding of flood events, to estimate inundation extent in terms of area and depth, and even predict the effect of flood mitigation strategies.
He pointed out that it is the first time that a computational model for flooding is being used which has been adapted by the MRC for the Mauritian context. He also dwelt on the importance of leveraging emerging IT techniques for the socioeconomic development of the country. This simulation, he added, is increasingly being used in other countries such as in USA, Europe, and China to anticipate floods so as to mitigate their effects.
Speaking about innovation, he underlined the need to transform the country into innovative Mauritius. Innovation, he underlined, demands an education system that empowers the child. He underscored that innovation will make the world a better place for the younger generation. He also recalled that Government is continuing with the digitalisation of emerging sectors. He announced that 100 open data sets will soon be released for free.
For his part, the Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport, Mr Bodha, pointed out that the rain pattern has changed and that the computational model for flooding initiated by the MRC will greatly help in flood prediction and mitigation. He recalled that Mauritius is one of the most vulnerable countries as regards the impacts of climate change and hence the need to master the terrain, predict what can happen and take mitigation measures so that lives can be saved.
Minister Bodha underpinned that Rs 60 billion will be injected over the next five years in infrastructural projects. He appealed to the population to be more responsible and accountable for their actions especially with regard to keeping drains clean and unblocked and responsible construction practices. We need to have a pattern of behavior so that we can preserve the system that we already have, he concluded.
Computational Model for Flooding in Mauritius
Today, flood effects on the built environment can be modelled accurately using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). The MRC has recently initiated a program involving application of CFD techniques to assist in developing solutions to address the consequences of the flash floods which the country has been facing lately. This initiative is in line with the Council's endeavor towards leveraging on latest emerging technologies to foster socioeconomic development of the Republic of Mauritius.
The objectives of the workshop were to disseminate the results of a flood model adopted by the MRC which has been calibrated and validated by means of four case studies in flood prone areas. The workshop showed participants the methodology, validation strategy and simulation results obtained in these four flood prone areas. The simulations closely reproduced the real flood effects observed in the regions under investigation.
This model could thus be used as a flood assessment tool by the concerned authorities to assist in predicting and mitigating the flood effects in the country. This tool can also provide an indication of flood prone areas across the country. The resource persons were Mr F. Shamutally and Mr Z. Soreefan from the MRC.