The Hindu Kush Himalaya–Hydrological Cycle Observing System (HKH–HYCOS) User Phase (2017–2019)

HYCOS User Phase, a project under the Hi-RISK Initiative, recognizes that water is not only the single most important resource for life but also a potential source of catastrophic hazards. With climate change, the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events are likely to increase, putting people in flood-prone areas at risk. These vulnerabilities are shared across national boundaries. For example, the 2010 floods in northern Pakistan affected an estimated 20.2 million people, and the 2017 floods in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal killed over 1,000 people and caused economic losses estimated at millions of dollars.

HYCOS User Phase builds on work from 2010 to 2016. During this period, it supported the establishment of 38 hydrometeorological stations across Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan, along with regional and national flood information systems based on near real-time data, to avoid loss of lives, livelihoods, and assets in flood vulnerable communities in the Indus, Gangetic and Brahmaputra basins due to riverine floods.

Although there have been significant advances in the deployment of technologies and tools for disaster risk reduction, including early warning systems, one of the biggest challenges is to ensure that they benefit the end users – flood vulnerable populations, including children, women, elderly, and the differently abled.

HYCOS User Phase focuses on reaching end users with early warnings, flood outlooks, and other knowledge products to address their needs for disaster preparedness and response.

Hi-RISK Activities

The HYCOS User Phase has three major action areas:

1. Assess approaches and pathways related to flood information management to improve end user connectivity.
  • Identify gaps in all four pillars of FEWS in Nepal, with a focus on dissemination and communication through desk research, key informant interviews, surveys, and stakeholder consultations.
  • Document case studies on good practices associated with communicating flood early warning, including the use of indigenous knowledge in FEWS in Bangladesh, Bhutan and Pakistan.
2. Develop communication strategies at all levels.
  • Ensure that flood early warnings reach those who need it most, taking into account gender equity and social inclusion (GESI).
3. Strengthen institutions at regional, national, and local levels in terms of end-user connectivity.
  • Streamline dissemination and communication of flood early warning across and down multiple channels to end users.
  • Improve the regional flood outlook for supporting the flood forecasting capacities of hydrometeorological agencies.
  • Share good practices on communicating flood early warning.