Reported as one of the worst since 1924 by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala floods have lead to tragic loss of lives and property. With more than 350 dead, and thousands rendered homeless, it’s time that while we contribute towards Kerala’s recuperation, we also allocate resources to come up with technology that prepares us for such unfortunate natural calamities beforehand. 

Google is launching AI to forecast floods in India, in partnership with Ministry of Water Resources. A pilot flood forecast system will first be launched in Patna, India 

According to Google India, AI will help to A) provide “early & accurate flood warnings, B) predict dangerous areas, and C) reach people more quickly by sending alerts through Google search.”

Central Water Commission (CWC) has entered into a ‘Collaboration Agreement’ with Google, where Google will share “tech expertise in the fields of AI”. According to official statement released by Ministry of Water Resources

“Under this Agreement, CWC and Google will share technical expertise in the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, geospatial mapping and analysis of hydrological observation data to collaborate on (i) improving flood prediction systems, which will help provide location-targeted, actionable flood warnings, (ii) high priority research project utilizing Google Earth Engine to help visualize and improve flood management and (iii) a cultural project to build online exhibitions on the Rivers of India .”

Water Resources Minister, Nitin Gadkari have exhibited hope in this flood management system.

Kudos to this effort on this tech giant’s part. We are hopeful towards this collaboration, which will communicate Google’s insights and data to effectively predict floods, and alert citizens on time. If used successfully, it could help save thousands of lives and benefit us as a community.