Local Communities Take Ownership of Flood Early Warning System


At the onset of the 2018 monsoon, a community in Shrikhandi Bhittamore in Bihar, India, raised funds to repair a community-based flood early warning system (CBFEWS) that had been damaged along the Ratu River near the Nepal–India border. The funds were raised by Yuganter, a local NGO, and community representatives led by the Mukhiya of Shrikhandi, Purnima Mishra. The system was repaired by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and Sustainable Eco Engineering (SEE), in partnership with Yuganter.

ICIMOD, partners, and local governments have come together to save lives from flash flooding by installing eleven such community-based flood early warning systems (CBFEWS) in nine tributaries of the Bramhaputra, Indus, and Koshi rivers in Afghanistan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. 

A team from SEE restoring the system in Shrikhandi Bhittamore

A CBFEWS provides at least four hours of lead time for vulnerable communities to respond to approaching floods. The systems, which rely on technology and human operators, have saved lives and property and established goodwill between upstream and downstream communities otherwise unknown to each other. During the 2017 monsoon floods, CBFEWS helped save 17 children on along the Koshi River, in Nepal and India. 

A Yuganter representative handing over the amount to SEE-ICIMOD representatives as Purnima Mishra observes