Cross-learning mission to the Mekong region


A cross-learning mission was organized 20–30 April under the HKH-HYCOS initiative to its sister HYCOS initiative implemented by the Mekong River Commission (Mekong HYCOS) in coordination with World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and its member countries – Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. The 10-day learning mission was conducted in Cambodia and Thailand to understand how MRC and its partner agencies implemented the Mekong HYCOS project, especially on installation, operation, and maintenance of hydrometeorological instruments and the development of the regional flood information system.

During the visit, 13 participants representing hydromet authorities in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Nepal, and Pakistan and experts from ICIMOD visited seven hydrological stations in Cambodia and Thailand and held discussions with MRC and the Department of Water Resources, Thailand. The participants observed that the HKH-HYCOS and Mekong HYCOS had many similarities in terms of choice of hydromet instruments and problems related to accessing data in real time. 

Mekong HYCOS receives real-time data from 47 stations that it upgraded in its four member countries, and data from an additional 100 stations in the region which are provided voluntarily by its member countries. In addition, data is also ingested from other available sources such as meteorological data from the Global Telecommunication System (GTS) available through the World Meteorological Organization, and other precipitation estimates. In a similar vein, HKH-HYCOS is also developing a regional flood outlook with data ingestion from other complementary ICIMOD initiatives such as the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative and the Cryosphere Initiative, and also requesting real-time data from partners in national networks which can then be integrated into the regional flood outlook.

Key lessons such as the development of quality assurance procedures and annual maintenance charts will be incorporated into the HKH-HYCOS implementation plan. The participants, as well as officials from MRC and its member countries, appreciated ICIMOD’s work on HKH-HYCOS, which has adopted more advanced and cutting-edge technology to provide a backup data transmission system to ensure that real-time data is available to help save lives and property from floods.