Minimizing flood risk through a community-based warning system on the Singara and Jiadhal rivers in Assam, India


A team of experts from ICIMOD and Aaranyak have installed flood early warning systems (FEWS) enabled by wireless technology along the Jiadhal and Singara rivers in Assam, India. The installation was carried out under the Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP) and is intended to minimize the flood risks and enhance the adaptive capacity of the communities. Before being installed, the FEWS were tested for six months at the ICIMOD Knowledge Park at Godavari in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal.

The team after completing installation of the water level transmitter on June 5th 2013

The first FEWS set was installed at Sagarpur village, Naboisa Circle, Lakhimpur District, on the occasion of World Environment Day – 5th June 2013. Dr. Rajiv Dutta Choudhury, District Programme Officer-Disaster Management, Lakhimpur District, Assam, was present on the occasion and observed the installation process. Two other sites were finalized for FEWS installation on the Singara river (No.1 Bogibeel) and Jiadhal river (Balisori-Renga village). 

Aaranyak staff assembling the transmitter unit during the post installation hands-on training

On 7 June, two days after the FEWS installation at Sagarpur, the equipment successfully provided a first level alarm. At around 06.30 pm, the alarm sounded when the water level suddenly increased in the Singara river following incessant rainfall in the hills and adjoining plains. A moderate flash flood wave resulted in water spilling over the banks and inundating agricultural areas. Settlements were only slightly affected. 

The ICIMOD team also delivered two hands-on training events, one on FEWS installation, the other on troubleshooting. Thirteen participants took part in the training and demonstration of FEWS installation. The FEWS equipment was handed over to Aaranyak for further installation in a brief handover ceremony. 

Formal handover of equipment to Aaranyak

The receiver unit and the enumerator responsible for relaying flood information to downstream communities

Receiver station and solar photovoltaic panel for charging the battery of the system installed in a community house