The Environment Agency has awarded a £4.6m contract for a multi-channel system aimed at warning homeowners of flooding threats.
Supplier Fujitsu has won the contract for the agency’s Flood Warning System, which the agency hopes will improve on its current system.
The new service will extend into social media and allow users to download a smartphone app to enable citizens to receive warnings on the move. It is hoped that this, along with richer content, will enable people to react quicker and make better decisions in response to flood alerts.
Craig Woolhouse, acting director of incident management and resilience at the Environment Agency, said: “Flood warnings are a vital lifeline for people at risk of flooding, giving them time to act early to protect their belongings and get themselves and loved ones to safety.
“Our free service currently benefits 1.2m people and the new system will offer even more choice over how people receive warnings.
“Flood warnings save lives and we are constantly looking at ways to improve and expand the service so that people at risk of flooding have valuable time to prepare.”
The new system will also be used by Natural Resources Wales to provide flood warnings to nearly 100,000 people at risk of river and coastal flooding in Wales.
Andy Wall, flood risk manager at Natural Resources Wales said: “With fast responding rivers, flooding in Wales can often happen very quickly. To provide a flood warning system in this context, we need a system we can rely on to issue warnings quickly and reliably to our English and Welsh language customers.”
The current system started in 2004, as a free telephony service, and has since expanded into multiple channels.
The system, which has been delivered for the EA and Natural Resources Wales by Fujitsu, has sent more than 20m messages to the public and emergency services.
Steven Cox, Fujitsu’s executive director and vice president for public sector, UK & Ireland, said: “Based on our collaborative experience providing a very resilient service that has already proved itself time and again, it’s great to help transform the system building on some of our core strengths including cloud and digital and to help make a difference to people’s lives”.