Access to hydrological status and outlook products is a critical element for water resources management, planning future water conditions, and supporting the optimal functioning of various sectors dependent on water availability.
The World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) Hydrological Status and Outlook System (HydroSOS) initiative’s aim is to provide global and regional scale standardized hydrological information to understand and monitor the world’s freshwater systems and to adapt to upcoming changes in water storage and conditions.
Between November 22 and 24, 2022, the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) was among over 60 participants who gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, for the Lake Victoria Basin HydroSoS Implementation Workshop. The participants were key experts and stakeholders in National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda, in addition to development and implementation partners such as the Global Water Partnership (GWP), IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), and the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH). Other stakeholders included the private sector, media, civil society, NGOs, and governments.
The aim of the Lake Victoria Basin HydroSOS Implementation Workshop was to:
- Convene key NMHS experts and stakeholders from LVB to kick-start the development of HydroSOS products for the basin
- Develop an implementation roadmap for submission to potential funders
- Define HydroSOS activity to be covered under the project CREWS East Africa, and
- Facilitate partnerships towards the implementation of HydroSOS in LVB
- Identify the products and information already available in the Lake Victoria Basin (LVB)
- Understand the requirements of key stakeholders in LVB such as National Meteorological Services (NHS), academia, Hydrological Meteorological Services (HMS), disaster risk reduction, fishing, hydropower, and other key decision makers and water managers.
This workshop was the first step of a larger process to implement HydroSOS in LVB, and is expected to foster a shared understanding of the project objectives and impacts, as well as the implementation activities and plans that are geared towards creating a solid platform for the development and successful implementation of HydroSOS at regional, national and community levels.
The meeting’s main objectives were to:
- Establish partnerships and linkages with existing activities relevant for the implementation of the system in LVB
- Develop a roadmap and milestones to full HydroSOS implementation including the review and validation of this concept note
- Understand the needs, expectations, opportunities and challenges, and perspectives at the regional and local levels to refine the development of project activities and products
- Identify the demonstrator basin(s) and the potential benefits of HydroSOS to Members and;
- Develop implementation plan for demonstrator development in 2023 under the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) East Africa project.
Expected outcomes from this workshop included:
- Selection of initial/demonstration sub-basin(s)
- Definition of products based on the member and end user needs
- Mapping of HydroSoS implementation activities with existing projects along with the required resources (such as infrastructure, human capacity, tools, etc.), funders, stakeholders, development partners, and funders
- Well-defined implementation roadmap, implementation matrix, validation of pre-concept including CREWS East Africa Project
- Expression of commitments by Members and implementing partners through the re-confirmation of Focal Point and Technical Experts