November 2017 Fieldwork Mission

During November 2017, a team of nine Landslide EVO researchers from Imperial College London, Wageningen University, the University of Birmingham and Practical Action Consulting met in Nepal for field activities including site selection, community consultation and sensor testing.

We visited four landslide localities during our trip, Sunkhola, Sunkuda, Budhiganga and Chisapani, of which Sunkuda and Budhiganga were identified as potential project sites. A number of recommendations for successful implementation of the development component of the project were proposed, including having dedicated project managers on site and building networks with existing development projects in the region.

Our sensor field testing continued as we retrieved two LiDAR water level sensors, spaced 35 km apart on the lower Karnali River. The entire Monsoon season was captured well; the findings agreed with the Nepali Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) RADAR records at Chisapani. There was also good agreement between the peaks in river level and known episodes of heavy precipitation immediately beforehand. An additional LiDAR sensor was installed at Chisapani, featuring a new printed circuit board, making it more robust and simple to assemble. We were also able to test the range of our new wireless system for real-time data transmission, which is about 130–150 m (in the absence of obstructions).

We plan to return in April/May 2018 to install a dense network of rain gauges and river level sensors at Sunkuda and one additional locality, guided by the DHM and the needs of local people. We will need to think carefully about how these data can be used by the local community, and take account of variable local mobile signal strength if we want to use wireless sensor systems.