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The WMO Meteorological, Climatological and Hydrological database management system, known as MCH, manages observational data from its three namesake areas – meteorology, climatology and hydrology – under a single platform. By doing so, MCH facilitates data exchange among National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and the gathering, in a unique system, of all the data needed for cross-cutting analysis of climate, weather and water phenomena. MCH offers a solution for NMHSs that are looking for a simple, customizable and license-free solution to store, analyse and visualize data. The system permits them to manage and generate reports on large amount of observed data.

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The 1969 Treaty of the La Plata Basin, the first instance of Southern South American integration, yielded important infrastructure development – in particular bridges and reservoirs – and became the framework for the sustainable management of water resources across the region. The Treaty was drawn up between 1967 and 1969, more than 20 years before the creation of MERCOSUR[1], when the International Hydrological Decade was under way. It brought a global hydrological approach to a basin of more than 3 million square kilometres, which is home to more than 100 million people belonging to 5 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

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In 2014, WMO assisted the International Sava River Basin Commission in establishing a ground-breaking hydrological data exchange policy across five Balkan countries, enhancing data sharing to underpin sustainable transboundary water management.

Access to high-quality and up-to-date hydrometric data is the foundation for effective water management. The famous management adage, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure” applies just as much to hydrology as it does to other areas. National Meteorological...

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The dramatic technological advances of recent decades offer opportunities to modernize the way in which water and other natural resources are planned and managed. New high-quality datasets covering topics like water resources, disasters, climate change, trade and general development are being collected and made public as online data and mapping services by institutions and governments around the world. Earth observation from an increasingly powerful fleet of public and private satellites...

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About 60% of the East and the Horn of Africa – the region covered by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) – is arid or semi-arid. The availability of water resources is uneven and irregular, both in space and time, notwithstanding the presence of the River Nile and several lakes. The IGAD-HYCOS (Hydrological Cycle Observation System) project, launched in 2011, aimed to develop a sustainable and integrated water resources management system in the region.

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Human activities are exerting pressure on the environment with consequences such as global climate change, disruption of the hydrological cycle and impacts on water catchments. In addition, demand for energy and food – water intensive activities – is increasing with population growth. An improved knowledge of water resources and related risks is essential in order to optimize the allocation of water for various uses.

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The 70th anniversary of the first session of the International Meteorological Organization (the predecessor of WMO) Hydrological Commission, which called for close collaboration between meteorological and hydrological services and for regional cooperation in hydrology, especially in the area of standardization and exchange of hydrological observations.

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In 2015 Members of the United Nations adopted the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new agenda to be achieved by 2030. The SDGs and their related targets are based on the achievements and successes of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) but broaden their scope and include a wider array of topics that are so closely interrelated that no one can succeed alone.

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The notion of “the water world we want” is a spin-off of the United Nations campaign The World We Want. It is open to subjective interpretation, as people have different perceptions of a desired future. Each person or organization is likely to identify their own set of key concerns: food, clean (uncontaminated) water, sustained agricultural productivity, sustainable use of land and ocean resources, healthy lives and secure livelihoods. But whatever utopian world view one creates, it cannot be achieved without adequate sustained water supplies.

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Water is one of the essential elements to human life. It is indispensable to our social and economic well-being. However, more than 780 million people – about 11% of the world’s population – do not have access to clean, safe water. Even more worrisome is the estimate that about half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water-related disease. Furthermore, 70% of global freshwater resources goes to agriculture and irrigation, and only 10% to domestic uses. It is therefore not surprising that international agreements are focusing attention on the availability and sustainable management of clean and secure water resources. Such agreements include the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.