By 2030, more than half of the world’s population is projected to be living under water stressed conditions and climate change is expected to further exacerbate these conditions and increase our vulnerability to water-related disasters. To address these challenges, several resolutions on water were adopted at the Extraordinary World Meteorological Congress in October. Chief among them is a Vision and Strategy for Hydrology and its associated Plan of Action. To achieve this bold new Vision, WMO is calling for further collaboration and seeking to build more partnerships in hydrology.
In the Vision and Strategy, WMO Member States declare that by 2030 a cooperative global community should be successfully addressing the challenges related to hydrological extremes, water availability and quality, and food security. They state that this can be achieved by advancing operational hydrology through enhanced science, more and improved infrastructure, capacity-building and related services, in the context of sustainable development and enhanced resilience.
Specific high-level requirements were outlined:
- Policy and decision-making that contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals related to water
- Real time management of flood and drought events and integrated flood and drought management in support to Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (MHEWS)
- Integrated water resources management in national and transboundary catchments
- As regards civil engineering, for design and management of infrastructure
- As regards agriculture, for decisions on agrotechnical practices, drainage and irrigation schemes and management
- Ecosystem management
- Academic support for climate and hydrological regime studies, trend analysis and decision-making.
The accompanying Action Plan calls for collaboration in implementing a strategic suite of activities to enhance services for operational hydrology to be supported by WMO in the period 2022–2030 to achieve the eight long-term ambitions for water. The call is addressed to WMO Members, National Hydrological and Meteorological Services, UN organizations, other partner international organizations and relevant public, private and academic institutions. Partnerships and collaboration would significantly improve the capacity of Members to deliver enhanced products and services based on cutting edge science and technology.
Further decisions on hydrology were adopted at the Extraordinary Congress regarding:
- The WMO Hydrological Research Strategy 2022–2030 that lays out concrete steps to improve operational hydrology worldwide
- The Sustainability Strategy for the Flash Flood Guidance System with Global Coverage (FFGS/WGC)
- the End of Pilot Phase Report of the WMO Hydrological Status and Outlook System (HydroSOS)
- The operationalizing the global HydroSOS through regional implementation plans
- New Terms of Reference for the Global Hydrometry Support Facility (GHSF) Governing Bodies
- A landmark Water Declaration and the endorsement of the Water and Climate Coalition.