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SDG 6: CLEAN WATER & SANITATION
Since 2017, through the GEOGloWS Partnership experts from around the world have been working to produce freely available streamflow forecasts.
In 2018, the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) conducted an overview of the global status of hydrological information and services. They concluded that particularly low- and middle-income countries struggle to provide reliable, quality-assured hydrological services to meet user demand, affecting their business productivity, development, and economic growth.
As of 2020, the research has moved into operations by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts as the GEOGloWS ECMWF Streamflow System.
Gridded surface runoff, provided by ECMWF, is downscaled and routed to the streams using the Routing Application for Parallel computation of Discharge (RAPID).
A 35-yr historical simulation was produced based on ECMWF’s ERA-Interim dataset. From this historical simulation, return periods for each reach are calculated and used to color the stream segments when/where events exceed these thresholds. The GEOGloWS ECMWF Streamflow System is now being used and validated in countries worldwide.
In Ethiopia, Mr. Mihretab Gebretsadik Tedla, Senior Water Resource Engineer from the Basins Development Authority (BDA)/ Ministry of Water Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE) stated: "The system is very important for disaster mitigation with further adaptation to the current forecasting and early warning system available at the BDA."
Through stakeholder evaluations, seasonal biases and limited accuracy were identified in the GEOGloWS-ECMWF global forecast. The Ministry of Water, Irrigation, and Electricity of Ethiopia evaluated the global forecast's potential application. Mr. Mihretab Gebretsadik Tedla, Senior Water Resource Engineer from the Basins Development Authority (BDA)/ Ministry of Water Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE) said "The system is very important for disaster mitigation with further adaptation to the current forecasting and early warning system available at the BDA."
The predictions were validated using in-situ data, and the assessment was performed in three river reaches in the Awash river basin. This evaluation provided significant insights into the specific issues GEOGloWS needed to address. A second evaluation of the GEOGloWS-ECMWF global streamflow forecast was conducted by the Regional Committee of Hydraulic Resources (CRRH) in Central America with similar results as those from Ethiopia.
Similar partnerships have also been developed for Colombia (IDEAM), Dominican Republic (INDRHI), the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development(ICIMOD) with applications for Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and other regional member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayas.
In response to evaluations from local stakeholders, the GEOGloWS-ECMWF global streamflow services team developed tools that allow local hydrologists who access in-situ observation data to correct seasonal biases. Ongoing work is being done to regionalize the methodology by extending the corrections to nearby and similar ungauged sites with very positive results.
A further response to the stakeholders' needs is the GEOGloWS toolbox, a set of web-based applications that can be customized for local requirements and accessed through the ESRI Portal or the Tethys Platform.