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Hitachi

Hitachi Power Solutions Co.,Ltd.

Utilizing the Real-Time Flood Simulator
“DioVISTA/Flood”
in Research on Measures Against Frequently Occurring Inundation of Rivers

Dr. Kentaro Taki, Associate Professor,
School of Environmental Sciences,
the University of Shiga Prefecture

Every year in Japan, flood disasters occur due to torrential rains and typhoons caused by climate change. “We would like to minimize the flood disasters caused by inundation and avoid the loss of human lives in any type of flood.” With this in mind, Dr. Taki, Associate Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Shiga Prefecture, is conducting research on policies and plans to realize a sustainable river basin society*1, focusing on the mutual relationship between water circulation in the river basin and social systems. Hitachi Power Solutions' Real-Time Flood Simulator “DioVISTA/Flood” plays a key role in this research. We interviewed Dr. Taki, along with Dr. Yamaguchi of the Research & Development Group at Hitachi, Ltd. who is the developer of DioVISTA/Flood, about the possibilities of measures for River Basin Disaster Resilience and Sustainability by All that will be created by DioVISTA/Flood.

Challenges

  • There is no general-purpose software for River Basin Disaster Resilience and Sustainability by All, and the analysis method differs for each contractor, making it impossible to evaluate risks from a unified perspective.
    In addition, the outsourcing cost is large.
  • We would like to check the cause of the incident before conducting the disaster site investigation, but it can not be analyzed immediately.
  • Analysis that needs a lot of information about rivers, floodplains, etc. requires enormous labor and time to set up and execute.

Effort Background

Where there's a will, there's a way. ~Being introduced to DioVISTA/Flood

Flood control which prevents inundation of rivers and develops revetments and reservoirs has a variety of aspects. From the standpoint of river management, it is important for the water to safely flow through the channel according to established flood standards. In addition, from the standpoint of disaster prevention and crisis management, emphasis will be on how to take measures after inundation, and from the standpoint of the regional economics, how to ensure business continuity. Although the emphasis is different, there is one objective of flood control. It is protecting people's lives and livelihoods.
Dr. Taki, who researches River Basin Policy and Planning in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Shiga Prefecture, accumulated multifaceted experiences and insights related to flood control during the 18 years at his previous job as a staff member of the Flood Management Policy Office at the Shiga Prefectural Office, which involved flood control in the prefecture, as well as during the time he was transferred to an office in the United States of America. With this broad knowledge, he emphasizes “it is key to set the most important goal for minimizing flood disasters, which is to prioritize human life in any flood.”
“I've been interested in how to mitigate flood disasters since I was a university student majoring in civil engineering. When I was an employee of the prefectural government office, I was involved in creating a flood disaster risk map for Shiga Prefecture using software, and I struggled with calculation results that changed depending on the contractor, even though the original data was the same. For prefectural residents who see the results, what's most important whether their house is flooded and how much it is flooded, but the result changes every time the calculation contractor changes. Moreover, I was really irritated by not understanding why the calculation results were different, because the program was a ‘black box’ that didn't reveal its inner process. In addition, it was imperative to have software that could uniformly derive the inundation risk throughout the entire river basin to make a policy (implementation in society) of River Basin Disaster Resilience and Sustainability by All that includes measures not only in river areas but also in catchment areas and flood plain areas,” Dr. Taki said.
Dr. Yamaguchi, the developer of DioVISTA/Flood at Hitachi's Research & Development Group, was impressed by Dr. Taki's ideas published in the “JSCE Magazine” by the Japan Society of Civil Engineers. “I was surprised that the prefectural government would do so much, and I contacted him to suggest that he try using DioVISTA/Flood, which was under development. If engineers like us thoroughly improve the software so that Dr. Taki and others involved in hydrological engineering can focus on their main work, I think we will be able to reach our goals soon. Dr. Taki says ‘Where there's a will, there's a way.’ I believe that Japan will significantly change if this type of effort becomes widespread.”

Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Policy and Planning, School of Environmental Sciences, the University of Shiga Prefecture Dr. Kentaro Taki

Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Policy and Planning, School of Environmental Sciences, the University of Shiga Prefecture
Dr. Kentaro Taki

  • *1 River basin society: a society that is established in a river basin formed by elements of the natural environment such as rain and by people's lifestyles