InfoWorks ICM and ICMLive in Japan

Recently I had the fortunate experience of visiting the Japan Sewage Works Exhibition ’17 at the Big Sight, Tokyo with our Japanese distributors, Emori Infotec (, to meet our Japanese customers and learn how they are using Innovyze software such as InfoWorks ICM and ICMLive in Japan.

The exhibition was a fantastic opportunity to meet our customers who are using ICMLive. I had the opportunity to meet MetaWater ( who have been undertaking pilot studies as part of the Breakthrough by Dynamic Approach in Sewage High (B-DASH) Technology project ( to use ICMLive to provide a monitoring system, forecast sewer water levels, to support flood preparation and improved operation of the sewer system.

The pilot project was carried out in Fukui, the capital city of Fukui prefecture on the west coast of Japan, with a population of approximately 265,000. Fukui has a warm and temperate climate with on average 2400mm of rainfall per year. The rainfall events appear to come from nowhere (‘guerrilla’ rainfall) with very short, intense rainfall.

High Resolution Rainfall Radar data for the study area was collected via Furuno Radar and automatically harvested and imported into ICMLive. The observed radar has a spatial resolution of 50m and a temporal resolution of 1 minute. Forecasted rainfall had a spatial resolution of 250m and a temporal resolution of 5 minutes. The rainfall radar data is also output to a website as in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Public Website for the pilot study (created by MetaWater) showing the forecast rainfall radar data for Fukui, Japan.

The rainfall data is then used within ICMLive to allow the running of a live forecast model which is a 1D-2D coupled model. The model provides simulation outputs including water levels and flood extents for up to 30 minutes ahead. This data is then output from ICMLive and presented on a website that the local residents can access, allowing them to take actions to prepare and improve their resilience to the forecasted flooding. The website users can use the website to see current observed levels together with forecasts for 10, 20 and 30 minutes.

Water levels are also presented graphically and schematically, representing observed water levels, 30 minute forecast water levels, pipe levels, ground levels and threshold levels of levee protection.

Figure 2: Public Website for the pilot study (created by MetaWater) showing the observed (blue trace) and forecast water levels (Red) within Fukui, Japan.

Flood extent maps are also provided representing the spatial coverage of the flooding.  The flood extents are distinguished into 3 levels of severity, no data (ie, no flooding), warning of minor flooding, warning of dangerous flood levels.

Figure 3: Public Website for the pilot study (created by MetaWater) showing the map view which would show the spatial extent of flooding for Fukui, Japan. The key shows dangerous levels of flooding in red, warning level of flooding in yellow and no data in grey.

As well as providing information to residents, the ICMLive output also allows operators to see what is going on within the system.  By utilising the forecasted levels, pump operators can initiate real-time control of the pumping and drainage of the sewer system before the rainfall actually occurs, allowing capacity to be provided within the sewer system and help alleviate any flooding as a result of the forecasted rainfall.  As well as allowing system optimisation, this also allows energy optimisation which is an important concept in Japan currently.

Figure 4: Operator view for the pilot study (created by MetaWater) with a map view showing water levels and the suggested pump operation. The red circle suggests to the operator that based on forecasted levels the pump should be switched on to create capacity in the sewer system.

ICMLive can also be configured to send out alerts to operators and key personnel when certain alert thresholds are met both with observed and forecasted data.

The pilot study in Fukui, demonstrates the use of ICMLive to utilise rainfall radar data, provide flood forecast outputs which can be presented to inform operators, to allow them to make decisions which could alleviate flooding, and residents who can mitigate against the impact of flooding.

After the success of this pilot study, as well as others in Hiroshima City and Toyama, the use of ICMLive for flood forecasting and operational modelling is being rolled out across Japan.

Also, as part of the exhibition, a meeting was held where government guidelines were announced detailing the modelling of sewers.  InfoWorks ICM was one of the three software packages which were identified as being suitable for the recommended modelling of sewers in Japan.

Figure 5: Japanese Ministry of Land, infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Modelling guidance showing InfoWorks ICM as one of the 3 recommended software packages for sewer modelling.


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    About Duncan Kitts

    Duncan Kitts is a Senior Support Engineer with Innovyze in the United Kingdom, specializing in River modelling and 2D modelling. He has over 9 years experience of modeling the key hydraulic processes involved in both fluvial systems and urban drainage environments. Duncan is responsible for providing support of both infoworks ICM and Infoworks RS.
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