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Mini hydropower, Natural Disaster, self-activated early warning gauges andsafety and survival rate of poorly prepared communities..


Description

Summary

Almost 220 million people worldwide have been affected by natural hazards, such as typhoons/hurricanes, heavy rainfalls, torrents and floods during the last 20 years (EM-DAT). The torrents and torrential floods for instance, can cause even more catastrophic disasters, such as landslides or mudslides, especially during extreme weather events. Due to the climate change, many regions in Americas, Europe, as well as Asia & the Pacific (APAC) have to deal with water-based disasters more often than ever before. Although national, regional and international disaster management policies have been established, the disasters continue to exist, mainly in rural riparian and deltaic territories.

In many cases, when an extreme hazard occurs in an unprepared area, the outcome is the same; lack in efficient early detection, response and resources, such as energy, especially for the isolated rural populations. While disasters can become extremely harmful to societies, properties and the environment, focusing on the protection against them one-sided, sounds insufficient. Significant discoveries have been made in emerging technologies and response techniques; yet, the field of utilizing disasters or at least a portion of their energy for our own benefit is still undiscovered.


Proposals

The Renewable Energy Generated by the Impacts of Natural and Accidental Disasters (REGINA) research proposes a scheme that allows the partial “cultivation” of the energy waste from water-related natural hazards (torrents and torrential floods) in order to generate renewable energy. Briefly, the REGINA proposes the use of small scale hydropower generators that provide power under normal and extreme conditions connected with self-activated early warning gauges in order to boost the safety and survival rate of poorly prepared communities.

This research refers to isolated communities living in riparian and deltaic territories with poor disaster preparedness mechanisms; therefore, it is aimed to be portable and easy-to-build (DIY), so it can be easily relocated and re-used by the communities in different areas based on the threats they face. It should be mentioned that the REGINA follows the principles of the “Agenda 203 for Sustainable Development” and its main objectives are focused on:

Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG7) and

Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG11)

Since its primary objectives are (i) the conversion of “energy” from water hazards to renewable energy (SDG7) and (ii) the self-activated disaster warning mechanism based on the level of disaster (SDG11). Furthermore, the philosophy of this research is based on the actions of the UNESCO Chair Con-E-Ect) that highlight the elaboration of an International Common Strategy for the Conservation and Ecotourism of Riparian and Deltaic Ecosystems. It should be stated that the supervisor of this project is the UNESCO Chairholder of Con-E-Ect. For more information please visit: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs and  http://unescochair.teiemt.gr/


What actions do you propose?

According to the research plan, the REGINA units will be developed in riparian and deltaic areas where disaster-affected communities with limited access to energy and poor disaster prevention and resilience practices reside. The main idea is to generate and provide clean energy, during a water-based hazard, while the local populations are alerted to evacuate their location for their own safety. The water flow from torrents and torrential floods will automatically initiate small scale power generators, capable of producing sufficient electricity to power shelters and other safe zones for a specific period of time (batteries in safe zones will also store this energy for later use). Furthermore, the “smart” gauges will be able to observe the water level of rivers and when critical levels are reached, they will self-activate multiple warning mechanisms (e.g. sirens, lights, voice messages on speakers) to inform the people for their evacuation. The gauges will act autonomous and will be activated only when the water levels are critical. Under normal conditions, the REGINA will behave as a small scale hydropower generator that produces electricity from the river flow for the needs of the communities (e.g. providing power for schools, medical units, agricultural purposes, safety, livelihood, etc.). Waterproof cables will transfer the electricity from the generators to the requested locations.

 

Due to its mobility, small size, multi-functional features and resistance to water damages, the REGINA units can be applicable in a plethora of locations, regardless the climate differentiations, unlike other mechanisms of similar concepts that must be permanently established to produce energy or forecast disasters for specific climates. The REGINA units are expected to be low cost and easy to construct, de- and re-construct based on the needs of the communities. They can also be established near water dams, and other surface water facilities that require water flow. Regarding the development of REGINA units, this research will use technologies that already exist in order to develop this program; the REGINA’s innovation lies in the “union” of two different fields; renewable energy and disaster preparedness and hopes to change our thinking for natural hazards by enhancing the stability and the socio-economic growth of those in need. Furthermore, this research will promote disaster mitigation, prevention and response mechanisms, disaster education and training programs, DIY resilience techniques for properties, emergency behavior codes, etc. to the affected communities for strengthening their resilience against such threats. By focusing on local and mostly agricultural communities located in high flood risk areas, it is hoped to provide sufficient necessities for improving their life quality and for assisting local governments with limited funds in local disaster mechanisms. Currently, efforts are made to select pilot communities in riparian areas of Central/South America and Southeast Asia.


Who will take these actions and which types of actors are involved?

S. Schismenos is a Research Assistant at the Research Center for Soil & Water Resources and Natural Disaster Prevention (SWAN), National Yunlin University of Science and Technology (Taiwan). He is the Focal Point of UNESCO Chair on Conservation and Ecotourism of Riparian and Deltaic Ecosystems for the Wider Region of Asia and Pacific. He collaborates with the National Council for Protected Areas (Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas, CONAP), the UNESCO MAB Maya Biosphere Reserve (Guatemala) and the UNESCO MAB Trifinio Fraternidad (Guatemala/El Salvador/Honduras). Moreover, he is a Member of the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY) and a Young Scientist of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Programme (IRDR). His research interest includes the fields of disaster management, renewable energy, water resources, environmental sustainability and emerging technologies

A. Castaneda is a Faculty Member of the Secretariat of Planning and Programming (SEGEPLAN) and Technical Advisory of the Presidency of Guatemala (Guatemala). She collaborates with the National Council for Protected Areas (Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas, CONAP), the UNESCO MAB Maya Biosphere Reserve (Guatemala) and the UNESCO MAB Trifinio Fraternidad (Guatemala/El Salvador/Honduras). She specializes in energy systems not connected to electricity grids, public policy matters, national development, international cooperation and linkages between the Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030) and Climate Change

D. Emmanouloudis is the Vice Rector of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology, Professor at Department of Forestry and Natural Environment Management and the Director of the Laboratory of Mountainous Water Management and Control & of Laboratory of Geology and Petrography (Greece). Additionally, he has been appointed by UNESCO as the Chairholder of the UNESCO Chair on Conservation and Ecotourism of Riparian and Deltaic Ecosystems (Worldwide). 

G. Zaimes is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Forestry and Natural Environment Management, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology. He is the Deputy Chair of the UNESCO Chair on Conservation and Ecotourism of Riparian and Deltaic Ecosystems. He holds a PhD degree from the Department of Natural Resources Ecology and Management, Iowa State University (USA)

L. Socarrás is the Director of the Institute of Energy Resources, Universidad Galileo (Guatemala). From 2008 to 2016 she was the Commercial Manager of the Caribbean Commercial Company S.A, COMCARSA that is a hydroelectric generation company (Guatemala). She participates in the Joint European-Latin America Universities Renewable Energies Project (Germany), the Latin American Energy Organization (Ecuador) and the Association of Renewable Energy Generators (Guatemala). 


Where will these actions be taken and how could they scale?

Each Regina Unit will involve a Mini/Grid Hydropower generator combined with at least one gauge for water level measurement. Under normal conditions, the REGINA will produce electricity for the community needs (e.g. power to schools, medical units, etc.). Under extreme weather phenomena, the REGINA will provide energy to specific zones/spaces (e.g. shelters) while it will alert local populations for their immediate evacuation. The warning mechanisms will be autonomous, that means, they will be activated on their own when the water levels are critical. The REGINA focuses on isolated communities living in riparian and deltaic areas with poor disaster risk reduction mechanisms and energy insufficiency; therefore, each unit is aimed to be portable and easy-to-build (assembled, disassembled and reassembled) by the communities themselves, in different areas based on the threats they face.


In addition, specify the countries where these actions will be taken.

Guatemala


Country 2

Honduras


Country 3

Nicaragua


Country 4

Greece


Country 5

No country selected


Impact/Benefits:


What impact will these actions have on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?

Almost 220 million people worldwide have been affected by natural hazards, such as typhoons/hurricanes, heavy rainfalls, torrents and floods during the last 20 years (EM-DAT). The torrents and torrential floods for instance, can cause even more catastrophic disasters, such as landslides or mudslides, especially during extreme weather events. Due to the climate change, many regions in Americas, Europe, as well as Asia & the Pacific (APAC) have to deal with water-based disasters more often than ever before. Although national, regional and international disaster management policies have been established, the disasters continue to exist, mainly in rural riparian and deltaic territories. In many cases, when an extreme hazard occurs in an unprepared area, the outcome is the same; lack in efficient early detection, response and resources, such as energy, especially for the isolated rural populations. 


What are the most innovative aspects and main strengths of this approach?

The Renewable Energy Generated by the Impacts of Natural and Accidental Disasters (REGINA) research proposes a scheme that allows the partial “cultivation” of the energy waste from water-related natural hazards (torrents and torrential floods) in order to generate renewable energy. Briefly, the REGINA proposes the use of small scale hydropower generators that provide power under normal and extreme conditions connected with self-activated early warning gauges in order to boost the safety and survival rate of poorly prepared communities. This research refers to isolated communities living in riparian and deltaic territories with poor disaster preparedness mechanisms; therefore, it is aimed to be portable and easy-to-build (DIY), so it can be easily relocated and re-used by the communities in different areas based on the threats they face. It should be mentioned that the REGINA follows the principles of the “Agenda 203 for Sustainable Development”. 


Costs/Challenges:


What are the proposal’s projected costs?

Table 1. Project Development Cost Categories

No. Description
(The following categories will apply for the REGINA research in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua)

A) Grant Deliveries (US$), B)Additional Required  Costs (US$)

1.Payments of Salaried Employees

a.120,000

b. 30,000

2. Payments of non-Salaried Employees

a.30,000

b. 5,000

3. Payments of Freelance Professionals

a. 80,000

b. 5,000

4.Telecommunications

b. 2,000

5.Consumables and Stationery Expenses

b. 4,000

6.Promotion and Advertising

b. 30,000

7.Research Expenditure on Technological Innovation and Pilot Research (including environmental, technical, feasibility, socio-economic impacts, legal services, etc.)

a. 120,000
b. 20,000

8.Personal Computers (PCs), Scientific Instruments, other hardware and software tools

b. 10,000

9.Third Party Fees and Services

b. 3,000

10.Travel, Accommodation and Subsidence

b. 30,000

11.Publishing  Expenses (including articles, scientific reports, etc.)

b. 3,000

12.Required Educational and Training Programs (community-centered themes that include the use of REGINA units, disaster education, ecotourism strategies, evacuation map designs, etc.)

b. 6,000

13.Other Expenses

b. 2,000

Total  Grant (US$): 350,000

-Total Additional Required Costs (US$): 150,000

Total Estimated Costs (US$): 500,000


About the Authors


References


What enabling environment would be required in order to implement this proposal?