Experts scope requirements for a national Water Information System for Afghanistan


A technical meeting was held in Kathmandu on 19–20 January 2019 to move forward with the development of a roadmap for implementing a national Water Information System (WIS) for Afghanistan. The meeting brought together staff from the Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) – Government of Afghanistan; Kabul University; Kabul Polytechnic University; the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO); and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM). Todd Lovell, Manager of the Australian Water Resources Information System (AWRIS) at BoM, shared his experiences of implementing Australia’s national WIS and its continuing implementation today, providing practical advice on managing and operating a WIS. CSIRO staff also discussed the science behind the WIS, including the development of internationally adopted water data transfer standards. 

The team established the primary purpose of the WIS (to support water resource development and provide a centralized service to collect, analyse, and report quality-assured water data); determined objectives and requirements to meet those objectives; presented a preliminary analysis of key stakeholders (e.g. supporters, data providers, users); and identified skills required to operationalize such a system. The meeting outcomes will be compiled to inform the next step, which is the development of several implementation options to inform the final implementation roadmap.

Participants discussed the development of a roadmap for implementing a national Water Information System (WIS) for Afghanistan (Photo: Ayub Shinwari)

The team worked through the following topics for completing the draft of the scoping requirements document:

Purpose and objectives

  • Requirements to meet those objectives

  • Existing infrastructure, systems, and gaps

  • Stakeholder analysis (to identify key stakeholders and elicit their requirements and expectations)

  • Current capabilities (baseline) and those required to operationalize a national WIS

The discussions were informed by lessons learnt in the implementation of Australia’s national WIS (AWRIS) with the BoM, a 10-year journey that is still ongoing.

Experts from CSIRO during the technical experts’ meeting in Kathmandu, 19–20 January 2019 (Photo: Ayub Shinwari)