Fifth HKH-HYCOS Regional Steering Committee Meeting Decides to Expand Network of Hydro-met Stations in the Region

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The 5th Regional Steering Committee (RSC) meeting for the Establishment of a Regional Flood Information System in the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region (HKH-HYCOS) project was held at ICIMOD headquarters in Kathmandu 29–30 November. The meeting was organized in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Finland. Over 25 participants from Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, Nepal, and Pakistan attended the meeting along with international experts and representatives from the WMO, Government of Finland, Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), and ICIMOD

Over two days, the RSC reviewed the installation, operation, and maintenance of 23 out of 24 planned hydro-meteorological stations in four participating countries, including challenges and issues faced; ongoing capacity building at regional, national and local levels; the quality and timeliness of shared hydromet data; progress made toward operationalization of regional and national flood information systems for flood risk management; the implementation of public awareness raising activities on flood risks and disaster preparedness at national and local levels; and assessment of early warning systems with a gender perspective. The RSC took a number of decisions, including the following: 

  • To install 12 more stations, three each in Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan, in 2013 at the sites agreed upon during the meeting 
  • To issue quality control rules and guidelines to project partners by March 2013 at the latest so that the Regional Flood Information System can be tested with quality-controlled data from 23–24 stations during the 2013 monsoon 
  • To develop a pilot regional flood outlook for the Ganges-Brahmaputra basins based on hydrological/hydrodynamic modelling with a plan to go into testing during the 2014 monsoon
The main thrust of the HKH-HYCOS project is the establishment of a Regional Flood Information System with real-time rainfall and water level data shared from hydrometeorological stations in ICIMOD’s regional member countries. A total of 23 hydrometeorological stations have been upgraded in four countries – Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan – with state-of–the-art hydrometeorological sensors and advanced communications mechanisms to enable transmission of real-time data. The project, funded by the Government of Finland, has contributed to strengthening the institutional capacity of the national hydro-met services to improve both the reliability and timeliness of their flood forecasting.