First appeared in

Asian Development Bank

100 Climate Actions from Cities in Asia and the Pacific


A real-time urban flood forecasting and warning system was built for Pudong New District in Shanghai covering 1,210 square kilometers of rapidly developing urban area east of Huangpu River.

The coastal metropolis Shanghai is susceptible to flooding due to its low-lying terrain, massive urbanization and location downstream of the large Taihu Basin. Although local water authorities were collecting weather and hydrological data, more intelligent data technologies were needed to help make the right decisions for flood prevention and management.

A digital urban flood forecasting and early warning system was built to integrate all of the data and support water management, enabling flood risk evaluation with just a few clicks. With the help of meteorological forecast estimates, real-time rainfall and river level data received from stations all over the Pudong New District, rapid forecasting technology allows online monitoring and simulation of flood events, providing a prediction of the scale, timing, and location of impending floods.



The early warning system improves response management of watershed and flood management agencies, allowing them to optimize utilization of flood management infrastructure especially where there is limited flood carrying service capabilities.

Shanghai has implemented a real-time flood warning and forecast system, based on a range of digital inputs (photo by Ewaters Environmental Science & Technology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd).

The Challenge

Factors such as rapid urbanization, a dense river network, relatively flat terrain, and a strong tidal influence make Pudong vulnerable to extreme weather conditions, storm surges, and climate change.


Environment The flood forecasting and warning system gives timely notice for drainage operations, reducing damage to surrounding ecosystems and communities.

Social The system allows delivery of better water safety services, supports flood risk assessment, information dissemination, and strengthens overall flood management, including preparedness, response, and recovery.

Economic Early flood warning minimizes human fatalities, injuries and health risks, and infrastructure damage and reduces costs related to post-flood rehabilitation and rebuilding.