The estimation and quality of recorded rainfall play a vital role in the performance of the European sewer systems, water treatment plants, irrigation requirements and advanced recognition of a developing flood threat. Heavy rain frequently overwhelms urban sewage systems, which cause rapid flooding in cities. The unnecessary use of water for irrigation on farms increases costs significantly. Accurate, local level rainfall data is critical for customers of weather data service providers, as they can save multimillion euros on rainfall related investment for improving these systems.
Currently, the common methods to measure rainfall include the use of rain gauges or long range weather radars. Rain gauges are used for direct measurement of rainfall intensity near land. As rain gauge measures precipitation in one single point, a network application of gauges is necessary to keep deviation less than 5 %. To own and operate an individual rain gauge often cost as much as 1100 in a month (including 25% of essential maintenance and repair cost). For a company to own and operate a network of 50 gauges the annual costs can approach 300,000 . Rain gauge networks are often poorly designed and sited which result in unreliable data that cannot be used. The loss of cost can reach 75%. Long range weather radars work as very densely situated rain gauges, but the price of long range weather radars are not affordable for large part of end-users, especially for SMEs.
Participating SMEs of the MARG project realized that there is a clear need for a cheaper and innovative measurement device. The MARG project aims to develop an innovative, accurate, real-time and user friendly measurement system monitoring spatial distribution and intensity of rain in rural and urban scale for commercial weather data and value-added forecast product suppliers.