National Training Towards Operationalizing Nepal’s National Flood Information System

   TwitCount

A national training workshop on Flood Information Systems and Hydro-Meteorological Stations jointly organized by ICIMOD and the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) of Nepal was conducted as a part of the Finnish Government-funded Hindu Kush Himalayan Hydrological Cycle Observation System (HKH-HYCOS) project in Charikot, Nepal, November 8-10. The project is aimed at improving flood risk management in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, for which the development of flood information systems is integral and require institutional capacity building of relevant stakeholders in installing, maintaining and operating them. 

"When the water level rose in Banke last August, the community was alerted, thereby averting a disaster," said Gautam Rajkarnikar, Deputy Director General, DHM, in a keynote address. He called for the operationalization of a real-time national flood information system in Nepal, and thanked ICIMOD and Real Time Solutions for their help in setting up hydro-met stations in the Koshi region, upgrading existing equipment, and building the capacity of DHM staff. He said issuing timely and reliable forecasts with a view to averting flood disasters is the main challenge facing DHM-Nepal.

Vijay Khadgi, Assistant Coordinator of the HKH-HYCOS project at ICIMOD, concurred that "flood information has the power to save lives if made available at the point where it is most needed." A total of 23 hydromet stations have been installed in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Pakistan and  technical staff from these countries have received training on their operation and maintenance as part of HKH-HYCOS project. When operationalized, national and regional flood information systems can "save thousands of lives downstream."

Over three days, a series of trainings – both theoretical and hands-on – were provided to roughly 20 DHM staff, focusing primarily on: 

  • standard operating procedures associated with the oversight of hydro-met stations and equipment;
  • the data management system, including data collection and transmission, data validation through quality control, data visualization, and presentation; and 
  • national and regional flood information systems. 
Sandeep Paudel of Real Time Solutions familiarized trainees with the data collection platform, various sensors, a bubbler, and automatic weather stations. He also gave instruction on how to configure sensors; add stations, projects, and remote terminal units; define communication parameters; and locally and remotely configure data loggers, thereby setting alert levels as well.  Vijay Khadgi brought them up to speed on standard operating procedures for installing, operating, and maintaining hydromet stations. Rajan Bajracharya of ICIMOD elaborated on various components of national and regional flood information systems, how they communicate with each other, and their potential to aid flood risk management.

On the final day, the participants were taken on a field visit to a HKH-HYCOS hydrological station on the banks of the Tamakoshi River where they were familiarized with the station and its equipment and shown how to connect sensors to data loggers, conduct basic trouble shooting, read controller indicators, replace fuses, take readings, and download data.