ICIMOD is working on the HKH-HYCOS with the objective of developing a framework for a regional flood information system to support disaster prevention and flood management in the HKH region. The project is being implemented in cooperation with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and funded by the Finland government, and the Koshi Basin Programme with support from the Australian government. The focus areas of the HK-HYCOS project are: capacity building for flood forecasting; establishment of a regional flood information system; and methodologies for obtaining real-time hydrological observations. The core of the project will be a regional flood information system that will be accessible to all participating countries and relevant regional entities.
River level/flow, rainfall and related information will be observed at specific sites and transmitted in real time to the National Hydrological and Meteorological Services (NHMS) using agreed-upon and reliable means of telecommunication. The NHMS will use the information for flood forecasting. The observations will then be transmitted simultaneously to the NHMS and a regional centre.
A series of national and regional consultations led to a realization that there is a clear need for a regional flood forecast outlook that can sustain and improve flood risk management efforts through forecasting and information sharing between participating countries. After several rounds of Regional Steering Committee (RSC) meetings, it has become evident that data and information being generated need to be upgraded by developing flood forecasting systems for river basins. The participating agencies of the member countries have shown keen interest to cooperate in the project and have been participating in various capacity building programmes. The pilot system would familiarize the member countries with the modeling system being used.
Training of technical staff of national agencies was recommended so that national level forecasting systems could be built upon the experience gained from the pilot development. The pilot flood outlook, which in essence is a regional flood forecast, is based on mathematical models describing the precipitation-runoff process in the catchments and hydrodynamic flood routing along the river system. The pilot outlook was developed using freely available data and weather forecasts. The system has been in operation at ICIMOD since the flood season of 2014.
The key outputs include an integrated hydrological and hydrodynamic model of the Ganges-Brahmaputra basin, and a real-time forecasting system showing a flood outlook for the next three days along with flows at key locations in the river system, which the member countries can use in their forecasts. This will help regional partner institutions in Nepal, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh and China to facilitate exchange of experience and strengthen networking for preventing flood disasters. The system has now been updated with additional details in some selected basins.
Further, a dedicated flood forecasting system has been developed for the Koshi River Basin covering both India and Nepal. Regional training courses have been organized in ICIMOD Kathmandu for regional knowledge sharing and capacity building. However, only one or two trainees from each partner organization could attend. Therefore, in order to strength national capacity, ICIMOD is organizing training courses at the offices of partner organizations. For Bhutan, ICIMOD has also procured the software and plans to include one or two selected basin areas in the flood outlook in consultation with DHMS officials. A weeklong training event has been planned for 2-6 May 2016 in DHMS, Thimphu .
The modelling component is being carried out as a collaborative approach led by ICIMOD. A key outcome of this component is capacity building of national partner agencies and ICIMOD. Staff of ICIMOD and other national agencies are integral members of the project team and they will incorporate the project outcome and the methodologies they have learned in their work. The main objectives of the training programme are to share the concepts and tools used in developing a flood model, install the software at the DHMS, and train DHMS offcials in the process. to conduct hands-on-training on hydrological and hydrodynamic models using MIKE11