South Caernarfon Creameries is an important employer in its region of Wales, however the business faced significant flood risk as a result of the river Afon Erch. Here’s how the sensors were used to mitigate the threats
South Caernarfon Creameries (SCC) is a Welsh company that primarily makes cheese and cheese-related products.
The business is an important employer in the area, with 190 members of staff on the book.
The creamery is set within 37 acres of land, which crosses the Afon Erch. They have two main sets of buildings in an industrial-type site, one on either side of the river.
The site for the Creamery was carefully chosen.
Rhydygwystl was selected due to its convenient location, being on the border between Llŷn and Eifionydd.
These two areas of North West Wales were and still are renowned for their grass growing capabilities due to enjoying mild drifts from the gulf streams of the Atlantic.
“The company simply cannot afford to take any risk regarding potential flooding incidents.”
However, there is a low bridge which can overspill on to the road causing flooding if it gets blocked by debris during heavy rainfall.
SCC wanted to mitigate this flood risk, and was working its insurance company, Liberty, to come up with a solution.
A spokesperson said: “With a cheese stock holding worth up to £15m, and the site deemed as being within a flood zone, the company simply cannot afford to take any risk regarding potential flooding incidents.”
Liberty brought in Previsico to provide sensors that could monitor the flood threat. These were placed on the upstream side of the bridge and other at-risk locations through the site.
The IoT sensors mean that SCC can be notified if water levels in their proximity rise to the point that flooding is a possibility.
The sensors also detect when drains and culverts are flooding, allowing blockages to be cleared where needed.
If a sensor is triggered by rising water levels, a notification is sent via the customer portal. If the risk of flooding is severe, an SMS message is sent direct to the client.
“Once installed, we immediately saw the benefit that the live river level data gave us”
A SCC spokesperson said: “Our insurers Liberty suggested a trial of the Previsico sensor system. Once installed, we immediately saw the benefit that the live river level data gave us and how this would help us in the event of potential flooding.”
Jonathan Jackson, Previsico’s CEO, said: “We have successfully trialled the sensors in a range of UK locations and were impressed with the results, including Whalley, Lancashire, where a flood was averted after risk mitigation measures were taken.
“Because we install the sensors in ordinary watercourses close to the insureds’ premises, we get a very precise and relevant picture of what’s happened locally.
“It generates personalised alert that will give the insured time to prevent or prepare for a flood, thus reducing the amount of damage and insurance loss that could be incurred.”
Next, Liberty and Previsico assisted SCC with the creation of a robust emergency response plan (ERP). This formed part of a wider Business Continuity Plan, which is informed by data and diagnostics from the sensors.
Consequently, the cheese producer now has clear actions in place when a flood alert is issued.
“Agreeing to install the Previsico sensors will only strengthen [our] long-term insurance cover.”
SCC said: “We are now confident that we have a robust plan in place that will stop any flood water reaching the inner buildings.
“Acquiring building insurance whilst the site is classed as being within a flood zone is difficult. We have a good relationship with Liberty and agreeing to install the Previsico sensors will only strengthen that long-term insurance cover.”