Nepal and Afghanistan to replicate Assam’s flood early warning technology

Times of India
Naresh Mitra
October 5, 2015

GUWAHATI: Assam’s successful Community Based Flood Early Warning System (CBFEWS) will now be replicated in Nepal and Afghanistan, Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) director general David Molden said here.

The CBFEWS, implemented by ICIMOD and biodiversity conservation NGO Aaranyak in Lakhimpur and Dhemaji districts, won United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s Lighthouse Activity Award last year.

The CBFEWS project uses Information and Communication Technology (ICT) by deploying simple electronic sensors to produce flood warning signal, wireless technology for transmitting signals and mobile phones for disseminating flood warning messages to and through a wide network of communities and government agencies.
The project is a component of ICIMOD’s Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP) in the Eastern Brahmaputra River Basin (EBRB).

Molden, who is on a visit to the two districts and Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh, said that Northeast is the one of the priority locations for ICIMOD to work on climate change, livelihood adaptations due to climate change-induced disaster and dependency on biodiversity.

Molden informed that Nepal and Afghanistan are interested to have similar flood early warning system technology so that responses to flood preparedness increases to cut losses to lives and properties. He however, added that the challenge for this technology would be to adapt to the situation of flash flood in these two countries.

ICIMOD water and adaptation specialist Neera Shrestha Pradhan said that has already started working on Ratu Khola river, one of the tributaries of Kosi river in Nepal.

“We have started working on flood early warning system with department of hydrology and meteorology. Three instruments have already been installed,” Pradhan said.

She added that works in Afghanistan is yet to take off. “We want to implement the project in Afghanistan in association with an organization called Focus Afghanistan,” Pradhan said.

Molden said that in Itanagar he will attend the three-day Indian Mountain Initiative from October 7 next week will provide the opportunity to interact will mountain specialists, scientists, NGOs and policy makers.

One of the ambitious programme of ICIMOD involving India’s Northeast, China and Myanmar is the Landscape Initiative for Far Eastern Himalayas called Hi-LIFE.

Formerly called Brahmaputra-Salween Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative, Hi-LIFE is a collaborative effort of ICIMOD and governments of China, India, and Myanmar to involve local, national, and regional stakeholders for improving management of the biodiversity-rich landscape.