Press Release

Project for AI-supported flood warning system becomes part of the KI.NRW flagship initiative


Sensors and artificial intelligence are designed to help take the necessary protective measures in a timely manner

Detecting impending floods along rivers earlier and thus saving lives and preventing damage: This is the aim of a modern flood warning system using artificial intelligence, which is currently being developed on the initiative of regional businesses in the Bergisches Land region. The project, which has received 2.8 million euros in funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Action and Energy, will be supported from now on as a lighthouse project by the North Rhine-Westphalian competence platform for artificial intelligence KI.NRW. First insights will be available from April 24 to 25 at the polis Convention at the Areal Böhler, Düsseldorf, exhibition booth number A 05.2.

The “Bergische Hochwasserwarnsystem (HWS 4.0)” is designed to detect hazards more precisely than established warning systems and raise the alarm when bodies of water threaten to burst their banks. The funding decisions for the project totaling 2.8 million euros were presented to the project consortium consisting of Heinz Berger Maschinenfabrik, Wupperverband, Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Bergische Struktur- und Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft, Wuppertaler Stadtwerke and Bergische Industrie- und Handelskammer Wuppertal-Remscheid-Solingen by Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Action Mona Neubaur back in 2023. In spring 2024, the project was officially integrated into the KI.NRW flagship initiative.

AI plays a crucial role in modern early warning systems
“In view of climate change, it will be necessary to better protect people, as well as infrastructure, residential and industrial facilities, from extreme weather events such as floods in the future. The Bergisches Hochwasserwarnsystem project shows that artificial intelligence can play a key role in this. Cutting-edge sensor technology and AI make precise forecasts and therefore early flood warnings possible. We are convinced that this project will set new standards in the introduction of protective measures and are therefore very pleased to include the project in our flagship initiative,” says Dr. Christian Temath, Managing Director of the KI.NRW competence platform. Under the motto “Flagships powered by KI.NRW”, KI.NRW supports highly innovative and application-oriented AI projects with a high social relevance that are funded by the federal state of NRW and helps to make groundbreaking pioneering projects visible beyond the federal state’s borders.

Flood protection app for companies at risk
The warning system is designed to enable the data-driven forecasting of regional water levels and flood risks, taking into account the current weather situation and other environmental factors. A three-digit number of sensors record the water levels at bodies of water, retention basins and canals, the amount of precipitation, the underwater pressure, humidity, air pressure and temperature as well as the wind direction and strength. The artificial intelligence is to recognize patterns in this data that are associated with a rise in water levels. This sets the project apart from traditional forecasting. In future, information on local water levels, forecasts and warnings will be provided to companies at risk in real time via a flood protection app that is being developed by the Wupper Association.

Research and development work also for other regions
The know-how developed in the project can also benefit other regions. Following a successful introduction in the Bergisches Land, the system will be made available to all regions in North Rhine-Westphalia. The warning system can thus create the basis for comprehensive safety for cities and companies. The project participants will provide initial insights into the work of the joint project from April 24 to 25, 2024 at the polis Convention at Areal Böhler, Düsseldorf. The project will be presented at the exhibition booth of Bergische Struktur- und Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft mbH, booth number A 05.2.

About KI.NRW

KI.NRW is the central point of contact for artificial intelligence in North Rhine-Westphalia. KI.NRW supports the transformation of North Rhine-Westphalia into a nationwide leading location for applied artificial intelligence. The aim is to accelerate the transfer of AI from cutting-edge research to industry, to establish a model region for professional qualification in AI and to promote the social dialog about AI. In doing so, KI.NRW places people and their ethical principles at the center of the design of artificial intelligence. KI.NRW is funded by the state ministries MWIKE and MKW and managed by one of Europe’s leading research institutes in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS in Sankt Augustin.


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