Enhanced Flood Forecasting Capacity in Bhutan

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Participants, organiser and trainers

Bhutan has received additional support in enhancing its flood forecasting capacities through developing Bhutan’s national flood forecasting services from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). In collaboration with the Department of Hydro Met Services (DHMS) Bhutan, and the Danish Hydraulic Institute (DHI) (India), ICIMOD trained thirteen hydrologists on using Mike 11 hydrological and hydrodynamic models for developing flood outlooks and flood forecasts. The training was held in Thimphu, Bhutan 2–6 May 2016. The effort will contribute to improving the pilot regional flood outlook for the Ganges-Brahmaputra river basin developed by ICIMOD with support from the national hydromet authorities of Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. The pilot system has been operational since the flood season of 2014.

Conducting hands on training to the participants

The training focused on providing hands-on experience on tools and concepts used in developing Mike 11 model flood forecasting. Participants were provided experience on: 

  • installing the model, 
  • preparing data for feeding into the model,
  • working with the software’s editors of hydrological model and hydrodynamic model, and, 
  • viewing results using the integrated flood modelling in the MIKE Interface.

Trainees practiced collecting data and developing the model for the Sunkosh River Basin of Bhutan. The trainees also successfully simulated the effect of high inflows from glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) events that could arrive at the upstream of the Pho Chhu and the Mo Chhu rivers, the main tributaries of the Sunkosh.     

Conducting hands on training to the participants

The training was conducted as part of the HYCOS project to support disaster prevention and flood management in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region. The project promotes the timely exchange of flood data and information within and among the participating countries and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Finland until December 2015. ICIMOD has continues to support the programme in 2016 for building partners’ capacities. 

Karma Tsering, Director DHMS, said the National Weather & Flood Forecasting System at DHMS has the potential to produce useful weather and flood forecasts and provide warning to the public and multi-sectoral stakeholders. The information generated in Bhutan will also benefit the lower riparian countries.

ICIMOD provided the Mike 11 software to DHMS and helped the trainees install the software in their flood forecasting centre. ICIMOD and DHI have committed to continue their support to DHMS through the process of developing and improving Bhutan’s national flood forecasting services.