National Training on Operationalizing Bangladesh’s National Flood Information System

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A national training workshop on ‘Flood Information Systems and Hydro-Meteorological Stations’ was jointly organized by ICIMOD, the Bangladesh Water Development Board, and the Bangladesh Meteorological Department. The workshop was conducted as a part of the Finnish Government-funded Hindu Kush Himalayan Hydrological Cycle Observation System (HKH-HYCOS) project. The training was held at the office of the Bangladesh Water Development Board in Dhaka from 18–20 March 2014. HKH-HYCOS is aimed at improving flood risk management in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, for which the development of flood information systems is integral and requires the institutional capacity building of stakeholders in installing, maintaining, and operating flood information systems.

“Bangladesh is prone to flood disasters and real time flood information adds a lot of value to flood forecasting”, said Mr Md Mosaddeque Hossain, Superintendent of Engineer of Bangladesh Water Development Board, in his keynote address. He also added that Bangladesh, as the lowest riparian in the Ganges-Bhramaputra-Meghna basin, stands to benefit from the project by access to real time hydro-met information from upstream riparians. Mr Ahmed Arif Rashid, Head of Planning Division at the Bangladesh Meteorological Department, noted in his welcome remarks that the HYCOS project is building the capacities of national hydromet authorities on the installation and operation of hydro-met sensors and database management, and that participants should take the opportunity positively and ensure that Bangladesh becomes sustainable in terms of operating these systems independently.

Both speakers thanked ICIMOD and Real Time Solutions for their help in setting up hydro-met stations in Bangladesh, upgrading existing equipment, and building the capacity of staff from the two mandated agencies in Bangladesh. Vijay Khadgi, Assistant Coordinator of the HKH-HYCOS project at ICIMOD, concurred that "flood information has the power to save lives if made available at the time and point where it is most needed". A total of 29 hydro-met stations have been installed in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Pakistan and technical staff from these countries have received training on their operation and maintenance as part of HKH-HYCOS project. 

Over the three-days workshop, theoretical and hands-on training were provided to nearly 20 staff from the Bangladesh Water Development Board and the Bangladesh Meteorological Department, focusing on:

  • standard operating procedures associated with the oversight of hydro-met stations and equipment
  • the data management system, including data collection and transmission, data validation through quality control, data visualization, and presentation
  • national and regional flood information systems

Immediately following the training, staff from the Bangladesh Meteorological Department proceeded to install a meteorological station in Srimangal under the supervision of the trainers. This site has been upgraded under the HYCOS initiative. Four hydrological stations will be upgraded by the Bangladesh Water Development Board staff in April 2014.