Water stress, pollution and hazards like floods demand better measurement and management
Geneva, 7 May 2018 - A global conference on hydrological services will address the urgent need to improve forecasting, management and utilization of water resources in an era of growing water stress, pollution and hazards like floods.
The HydroConference, from 7 to 9 May, brings together providers and users of hydrological services to strengthen knowledge-sharing and coordination among all water stakeholders. Its aim is to establish a more coordinated platform to inform the international agenda on sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and climate change.
“It is estimated that by 2050 at least one in four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water. Floods cost an estimated 120 billion dollars per year and droughts can stunt economic growth. It is therefore a top priority to improve the sustainable management of water resources,” said Harry Lins, President of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission for Hydrology.
“But we can not manage what we do not measure,” he said. “We need sound hydrological services as the basis of informed decision-making. And yet the hydrological monitoring systems and data collection which underpin these vital services to society are under real pressure,” said Mr Lins. “Action is needed now to respond to these challenges.“
WMO’s Commission for Hydrology is responsible for strengthening services across the entire water resources value chain. This includes water data collection and sharing, hydrological monitoring and forecasting, and flood and drought early warning services.
“Population growth, urbanization and pollution are increasing the pressure on water supplies. Climate change is leading to more extreme and unpredictable weather, whilst the melting of glaciers and incursion of salt water into freshwater supplies spells trouble for future generations,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
“Droughts and floods illustrate the problems both of too little and too much water. Effective flood and drought policies can be implemented only with data and models for assessing the frequency and magnitude of extreme events. By the same token, progress towards goals like improving water use efficiency can not be calculated without monitoring surface water, groundwater and reservoirs,” said Mr Taalas.
WMO is convening the HydroConference in partnership with other international organizations. A high-level segment will be attended by ministers and executives from UN organizations in order to boost collaboration on improving the availability and use of hydrological services worldwide, to leverage the combined knowledge and expertise, and to mobilize public and private sector support for key initiatives. It takes place at the start of the international Decade (2018-2028) for Action – Water for Sustainable Development.
Hydrological information can help answer questions like:
- What is the quantity, quality and distribution of water resources in our country, river basin and sub-catchment? What is the potential for water-related development? Can the available resource meet actual and foreseeable demands including the needs of ecosystems?
- How should we plan, design and operate water projects, such as those involving hydraulic construction, such as hydroelectric facilities, navigation, irrigation and drainage schemes, domestic and industrial water supply, water sanitation, and river restoration?
- How do our water resource management practices impact the environment, economy and society? How can we plan sound management strategies?
- How can we protect people, property and ecosystems from water-related hazards, particularly floods, droughts and pollutants?
- How can we allocate water among competing uses, both within the country and across borders?
- How can we meet regulatory requirements?
- How can we develop evidence-based climate change adaptation and mitigation policies? How can we ensure the sustainable use of our water resources?
The Hydroconference will consider hydrological data management, hydrological products and service delivery.
A new WMO initiative in hydrological data management is the recently established WMO HydroHub. This strives to support hydrometry on the ground by providing innovative operational solutions to National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and their partners. While doing so, the WMO HydroHub makes the portfolio of expertise among WMO Members – from science to technology to services – available to support access to end-users of hydrometeorological data and services from various economic sectors as tailored services.
Examples of hydrological products include WMO co-sponsored integrated programmes on flood and drought management. A new WMO Hydrological Status and Outlook System (HydroSOS) strives to build an operational system for assessing the current status of surface and groundwater hydrological systems, and predicting how they will change in the future.
Sessions on hydrological service/product delivery will address how to reach target users, deliver timely and useful information, and receive feedback from users to continuously improve the quality and impact of products.
For further information contact: Clare Nullis, media officer. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel 41227308478 or Cell 41797091397
The HydroConference website is here
The WMO Bulletin special issue on Water is here