HydroHub, the Global Hydrometry Support Facility of WMO

  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Water is pre-eminent among environmental concerns critical to societal well-being. Other issues garner justifiable attention but it is the availability of a safe and sustainable supply of fresh water that enables societies to survive and flourish. Availability of water is a basic requirement for agriculture, ecosystems, energy and industry. The inclusion of water in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has made it evident that water must be effectively managed to be of maximum benefit to society. Effective management, in turn, is predicated upon effective monitoring and data sharing. The challenge is to acquire, maintain and share hydrological data on a regular and sustainable basis across economic sectors and national borders.

Coordination, innovation, research and development are needed to offer new approaches that

  • build, enhance and maintain hydrological observing systems where they are non-existent or weak;
  • promote regional and global coordination of monitoring systems and product dissemination;
  • support quality control, processing, exchange and storage of observational data;
  • generate derived products and develop information systems for related policy- and decision-support at relevant geographic and temporal scales;
  • support the development of new data acquisition methodologies; and
  • foster joint analysis of data to catalyze and improve international cooperation.

WMO established the HydroHub (Global Hydrometry Support Facility) to meet these needs. The HydroHub is specifically designed to

  • build operational systems and capacity in hydrometry and water monitoring;
  • expand the base of hydrological data and exchange capabilities; and
  • facilitate free and open data sharing.

It aims to achieve these goals by developing and applying innovative monitoring and database technologies, supporting regional and local projects aimed at building sustainable hydrometeorological networks and freely accessible data, and promoting the use of quality management principles.

The HydroHub was established for the benefit of water users and is deeply rooted in their community to meet their needs, including long-term sustainability of solutions, improved cost efficiency, and support of regional conflict resolution.

Primarily, the HydroHub will provide the institutional mechanism for undertaking action that

  • consolidates national monitoring capabilities and their regional and global integration;
  • develops products and tools that support data and information analysis at national, regional and global levels; and
  • focuses on innovation and research leading to improved, sustainable and fit-for-purpose monitoring capabilities globally.

The building blocks that constitute the HydroHub are:

  • the World Hydrological Cycle Observing Programme (WHYCOS), which strengthens the technical, human and institutional capabilities of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in hydrological data collection and information product development and dissemination, and builds capacity at the regional level through Hydrological Cycle Observing System (HYCOS) projects
  • the Global Innovation Hub, which extends the innovative Monitoring and Modelling (iMoMo) project's focus on inventive water monitoring solutions, and serves as a worldwide incubator for developing new approaches to hydrometry through technology scouting, co-design, piloting, proofing and compliance with quality management practices;
  • the WMO Hydrological Observing System (WHOS), which is the premier online portal to near real-time and historical hydrological data made freely and openly available by National Hydrological Services around the world;
  • a Hydrological Services Information Platform, which will evolve from the existing WMO Hydrological Information Referral Service (INFOHYDRO) meta-database and the emerging Global Assessment of Hydrological Services initiative of the World Bank to provide potential funders of hydrometeorological projects with current information on governmental and non-governmental water monitoring organizations, and their capabilities, structure and network- and data-sharing characteristics;
  • a Help Desk, which will provide an online support resource for HydroHub stakeholders based on three types of online support: 1) Get Help, where specialized assistance and guidance can be requested; 2) Help Yourself, where tools, publications, education materials will be archived and stored for viewing online and downloading; and 3) Provide Help, where organizations can offer their potential for helping others.

Two advisory bodies will provide guidance to the HydroHub:

  • the Advisory Council will provide general guidance on the concept, objectives, expected benefits/costs, operational issues, its future development and its components; and
  • the Innovation Committee, which is appointed by the Advisory Council, will provide assistance in driving and strengthening innovation, and ensure a strategic and consolidated view on relevant innovation activities.

The HydroHub is designed to become fully functional after two years of transition from the modus operandi that HYCOS projects follow today. The HydroHub project proposed for SDC funding is thus separated into a transition phase (Phase 1) and an operational phase (Phase 2) that will allow WMO to secure sustainable operation after the project support of SDC ends in four years.

See also: HydroHub FactSheet 2017/01