Training for the Development of Flood Outlook in Bhutanese River Basins

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A week-long training on flood outlook was organized by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Thimphu, Bhutan, from 19-23 December 2016. The training featured a detailed, hands-on approach to hydrological and hydrodynamic modeling using the MIKE 11 software. Staff at the Department of HydroMet Services (DHMS), Bhutan, working directly on flood warning and forecasting, participated in the training. Four engineers from DHMS were trained in setting up and calibrating several hydrological and hydrodynamic components. 

The training was a follow-up to another, held in May 2016 in Thimphu, when the MIKE 11 software was handed over to DHMS. This time around, the trainees were introduced to the concept and key elements of hydrological and hydrodynamic modelling using the West Rapti basin of Nepal. The trainees set up the model using their own data from the Punatsangchu basin in Bhutan. By the end of the training, the participants were able to set up hydrological and hydrodynamic models as well as establish an integration between the two. They understood the sensitivity of the key parameters, and the need for good quality data for better outputs. Cross section data is critical for the hydrodynamic component of the model.


Participants discussing with resource person

The participants are now keen on setting up the model with improved datasets. Preparing data for feeding into the model will be a priority. This will include both hydrometeorological as well as cross section data. Karma Dupchu, chief of the Hydrology Division, thanked ICIMOD for organizing the training and suggested a longer duration of at least two weeks for similar trainings in the future. He said that these efforts are expected to contribute to the development of a national flood outlook for Bhutan using MIKE 11 and towards its eventual automation, thereby strengthening the capacity of the Bhutanese hydrometeorological service in flood forecasting. 

The training was conducted as part of the HYCOS initiative to support disaster prevention and flood management in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH). The initiative promotes the timely exchange of flood data and information within and among participating countries, and was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Finland, till December 2015. ICIMOD continued to support the programme in 2016 for building partner capacities.