Improving Accuracy of Measuring Stream Discharge for Reducing Flood Vulnerabilities

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The participants and resource persons of the Stream Gauging Training
Photo credit: Deependra Tandukar, ICIMOD

ICIMOD took another step in improving the quality of hydrometeorological data collection that will contribute to reducing flood vulnerabilities in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) countries. In collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and ICIMOD member countries, ICIMOD trained 20 operational hydrologists from the national hydro-meteorological services (NHMS) of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan in correctly measuring stream discharge. The training was organized by ICIMOD and WMO, hosted by the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) Nepal and held in Dhulikhel from 27 September to 2 October 2015. Experts from the USGS and ICIMOD conducted the training.

The participants were trained about hydrodynamics, stream discharge measurement techniques, types of instruments used for discharge measurement and methods for analysis and computation. Although experienced in performing discharge measurement in their countries, participants expressed unanimously that the training enlightened them about other methods of measuring discharge, learn how other countries are measuring discharge and clarify their longstanding queries on discharge measurement with experts. Participants also acknowledged that the topics on developing rating curve, interpolating missing data and applying quality checks were the most useful and will improve their discharge measurement practices.

Participants conducting stream gauging in the Rosi Khola
Photo credit: Mandira Singh Shrestha/ICIMOD

A field visit was undertaken to the Rosi Khola in Panauti to demonstrate stream gauging using the wading method, one of the most conventional methods of measuring stage discharge. The participants conducted discharge measurements in small groups and cross checked with other groups. An automatic water level monitoring station using radar technology, rainfall measurement using tipping bucket and a data collection platform which records and transmits data from the site was also demonstrated to the participants.

The training was organized as part of ICIMOD’s initiative on establishing a regional flood information system in the HKH Region (HKH HYCOS) in close collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the six regional partner countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. The overall objective of the initiative is to minimize loss of lives and livelihoods by reducing flood vulnerability in the HKH region with specific reference to the Indus and Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna river basins by strengthening regional cooperation for sharing flood data and information among the member countries. The initiative is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Finland.

Discharge computations being conducted by participants in the field
Photo credit: Mandira Singh Shrestha/ICIMOD

In order to sustain the initiative, the project has focused heavily on enhancing the technical capacity of partner organizations on flood forecasting and communication aspects and sought public private partnerships, especially with telecom operators, for disaster risk reduction. The training on stream gauging was to train operational hydrologists/practitioners or trainers, including office and field staff on collection of good quality data vital for providing reliable flood forecasts.