RIVERSAFE: Riverbank Surveillance Based on Fiber Optic Sensors

Tragic flood events occurred in the Veneto Region in October 2010 have highlighted the extreme weakness and vulnerability of the riverbanks in that area. The Bacchiglione, Frassine and Alpone rivers broke out of their dikes causing severe damages. Riverbank collapse processes are of different natures, but in most cases they are due to variations in the seepage flow, usually localized along preferential paths across the embankment or its foundation layer. In the light of these considerations, the project RIVERSAFE aims at the development of an innovative early warning system based on Fiber Optic Sensors (FOS). The system should allow continuous and distributed control of the physical parameters that describe local stability of a riverbank. Optical fibers are capable of detecting temperature variations related to dike localized seepage. Moreover, FOSs can be sensitive to small deformations occurring in the embankment before the collapse. The optical cable is cheap, robust and can be easily installed inside the existing riverbanks along considerable length. The system that will be developed will also work as a useful tool for monitoring riverbank state of health (safety assessment), a task that nowadays is carried out by means of visual inspection only.

Funding source  Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Padova e Rovigo

Period     2012-2015


Project Leader: Prof. Paolo Simonini.
– ICEA Department, University of Padova.
– National Research Council (CNR-IRPI)

Contact     Luca Palmieri