DAMSAT progress

The impact of COVID-19 on DAMSAT

Amid the strange times we are living, we continue making progress on the development of DAMSAT whilst following the health recommendations issued by competent authorities.

Thanks to the new technology, remote working has allowed the teams in England and Peru to continue developing the final version of DAMSAT, which will be ready by the middle of this year.

During the last few weeks we have been working on the development of the Risk Analysis module for the Pasco region. This module includes models of tailings and water dams breach, flood propagation, simulations of the evacuation of people in potentially affected areas, as well as the quantification of the potential damages. We are also working on improving the visualisation of results, preparing project dissemination materials as well as taking care of administrative tasks.

Cooperation agreement between Peru and the United Kingdom

CONIDA, the Peruvian Space Agency, the UK Space Agency and HR Wallingford have signed a cooperation agreement.

This agreement represents an important step forward in the development of the project, since not only are the images of the Peruvian satellite going to be incorporated into the system to prevent the failure of dams and tailings deposits, but DAMSAT is also helping to join efforts to protect vulnerable communities and prevent environmental disasters.

The signing of the agreement was witnessed by the Vice Minister of Mines of Peru, August Cauti, representatives of OSINERGMIN, OEFA, CONIDA, officials of the British Embassy and a delegation from HR Wallingford and FUNAINHI.

The Deputy Head of Mission and Consul General of the British Embassy in Lima, Colin Gray, highlighted the importance of research and innovation projects as a way of solving the environmental challenges of our time and achieve sustainable development.

Likewise, Major General FAP Javier Tuesta of CONIDA, expressed his support for the initiative presented by DAMSAT and reinforced the commitment of  Peru to apply the latest technological advances.

Meeting at the British Embassy in Lima to sign the Cooperation Agreement and discuss the best way forward to ensure the sustainability of DAMSAT with representatives of the Ministry of Energy and Mines, CONIDA, OEFA, Osinergmin and the British Embassy

Water dam failure: space-based monitoring system gets the go-ahead for expansion

HR Wallingford will broaden our space-based dam monitoring system, DAMSAT, to include water dams in a bid to reduce the risk of failures. The UK Space Agency has extended our funding following a pilot project to monitor tailings dams used to store toxic mine waste in Peru. Ultimately the technology could be employed worldwide to reduce the risks to those living downstream of dams.

Goggle-Earth

Caption: The region of Cerro de Pasco, Peru will be monitored during HR Wallingford’s DAMSAT water dam trial.

Over the next two years, HR Wallingford will use the ground-breaking DAMSAT software to monitor movement at several water dams in the Cerro de Pasco region of Peru. The system uses Earth Observation (EO) techniques – including the analysis of spectral responses and iron traces from satellite images as well as data from navigation systems – combined with real-time in-situ devices

The consequences of water dam failures can be catastrophic. Earlier this year a breach at Tiware dam in India flooded seven villages and swept away 20 people, according to local media reports. DAMSAT could help to prevent such devastation by alerting authorities of problems with structures before they are at risk of failing.

Marta Roca Collell, project manager at HR Wallingford, said: ‘DAMSAT allows authorities to monitor dams remotely, particularly useful in isolated locations or where there are concerns about dam management’.

DAMSAT’s potential in the water sector is huge.  Globally, nearly 60,000 dams are registered with the International Commission for large Dams (ICOLD), which are estimated to hold 16, 201 km3 of water – the same volume as around 6.5 billion Olympic-sized swimming pools.

HR Wallingford leads the research consortium alongside international partners. The group is sponsored by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP), a five-year, £152 million programme designed to partner UK space expertise with overseas governments and organizations to deliver sustainable, economic or societal benefits.

GNSS equipment installed

In March, Ricardo Noguera and Maria de Farago from Telespazio Vega UK visited Colquirrumi with our partners from CIEMAM and installed the SUMMIT System: 3 SUMMIT Sensors (Global Navigation Satellite System) and their wifi antennas as well as the SUMMIT Box.

Maria and Ricardo in Colquirrumi with the GNSS equipment

Weather was not the best but everything went well and all the equipment is connected and starting to record.

Heavy rain during the installation of equipment

Visiting Peru

A team from HR Wallingford and the Fundación visited several of our stakeholders in Lima and Cajamarca in February 2019.

Preview of DAMSAT

We showed them the first version of DAMSAT, our monitoring tool for dams and other tailings deposits. Feedback was very positive and useful. We will implement suggestions in the second release of the tool.

Screenshot of DAMSAT tool
At ANA (National Water Authority) offices in Cajamarca, ready to start the presentation

Site visits in the pilot area

We also had the opportunity to visit some of our sites in the pilot area. All is ready to  install the GNSS equipment. This equipment will measure in-situ possible movements of tailings dams in two of our pilot sites.

Under the rain, checking the works for the installation of the GNSS equipment at Colquirrumi
Cerro Corona tailings dam, one of the sites in our pilot area
Hualgayoc (Silver necklace in Quechua) is one of the villages located in our pilot area