Annual Report 2015: Facilitating regional cooperation

Community-Based Flood Warning Grows in India; Expands to Nepal, Afghanistan

When water levels rise in flood-prone rivers, villagers are increasingly able to react quickly enough to save lives and livelihoods – whether they live in Assam, India, or the Koshi River basin of Nepal, or, in the latest upscaling of a successful ICIMOD initiative, in Afghanistan.

Community-Based Flood Early Warning Systems (CBFEWS) are low-cost, community-run systems that are easy to run and repair, give speedy warnings when rivers rise, and are being piloted, improved, and operated through ICIMOD programmes across the Hindu Kush Himalayas.

ICIMOD’s focus has been on developing and disseminating technology that can be operated by communities themselves to generate warnings to villages downstream. This approach, beginning with a project in Assam and expanding through piloting and feedback, is now being taken to three additional rivers in India, three sites along Nepal’s Koshi River basin, and the Baghlan region of Afghanistan.

As the work upscaled and evolved, partners from Afghanistan and India even joined colleagues in Nepal for a CBFEWS training that was ICIMOD’s first regional training after the quake, with participants braving aftershocks to come to Nepal and learn to install and operate the early warning instruments.

Research and development for the evolving CBFEWS technology is done at the Godavari Knowledge Park, where new technologies are tested as part of continuing efforts to upscale the programme across the Hindu Kush Himalayas.

ICIMOD has focused on developing and disseminating technology that can be operated by communities themselves