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Berger boss and IHK want early warning system

Cronenberger Woche, 31/08/2021

"The floods will come again," Dr. Andreas Groß is certain: "We can't wait years now, we have to do something quickly – now," the head of the Berger Group made an urgent appeal to the city, the Wupper Association and politicians in the city triangle as well as in the state and federal government at midday today, Tuesday, August 31, 2021. But Groß didn't just call for action, he also delivered: The Kohlfurth-based entrepreneur has developed an Internet-based warning system - the so-called "Bergische Hochwasserschutz-System 4.0" could provide early warning of impending flooding along the Wupper in the future.

"We're burning for it," Andreas Groß also expressed himself personally "emotionalized" by the topic of "flood protection": In the storm disaster on July 14/15, his Heinz Berger Maschinenfabrik in Kohlfurth was ultimately also hit itself (the CW reported). About 7,200 square meters of the total production area of about 8,000 square meters at the Kohlfurth bridge were under water – the Dörper company estimates the damage at about 850,000 euros.

Flood disaster: 300 million euros in damage to IHK companies

Andreas Groß does not want to be surprised again: The Berger boss has developed the concept for a flood protection system along the Wupper River. The Bergische Industrie- und Handelskammer (IHK) has Andreas Groß on its side not only because he is its vice president. IHK President Henner Pasch and Chief Executive Michael Wenge also pledged their full support to Groß, because the floods in July hit around 1,500 companies in the city triangle – estimated damage: around 300 million euros.

In order to prevent a catastrophe of this magnitude from happening again, and so that companies and residents can be warned of approaching floods in good time, Andreas Groß and the Chamber of Industry and Commerce want to have close-meshed measuring sensors installed along the Wupper and its tributaries. Combined with forecasts from the weather service and information from the Wupper Association, this would make it possible to predict water levels and possible floods better and earlier – and, if possible, also via quick information sent directly to cell phones via citizen apps.

Become a model region with flood protection system

Together with the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Berger boss now wants to quickly get all those involved on board, such as the cities bordering the Wupper, the state, the Wupper Association, or even public utilities and the University of Wuppertal, in order to quickly get the "Bergische Hochwasserschutz-System 4.0" off the ground - perhaps as a model region, so that the system can then be made available to other regions at risk of flooding. IHK President Henner Pasch was confident: The mayors of the three Bergisch cities had understood "that things have to move quickly now," Pasch reported after initial talks: With 300 million euros in damages in the Bergisch IHK area alone, "this must be affordable," the IHK boss was convinced.

And Berger boss Andreas Groß put on the pressure: "Now the iron is hot, now it has to be forged, now we have to do it...!"