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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER)
Cycle 4 (2015 Deadline)

Scaling up of satellite-assisted flood forecasting systems in south and southeast Asian nations

PI: Md. Sohel Masud (, Institute of Water Modeling, with co-PI Md. Sazzad Hossain (, Flood Forecasting and Warning Center
U.S. Partner: Faisal Hossain, University of Washington
Project Dates: January 2016 - December 2017

Project Overview

TBN24 news feature on the (DIV) satellite-based flood forecasting that showcases very clearly the Liquid earth (smartphone-based) flood inundation forecasting. (Bangla)

South and southeast Asian countries are frequently hit by floods causing loss of lives and property damage. Almost every year in the recent past, a flood has struck in regional countries such as Bangladesh, India, Nepal, or Pakistan. Flood management practices currently available in most of these countries are structural or non-structural. Structural solutions like embankments and other related structures require huge amounts of resources and time. Other non-structural means of flood management include early warning and proactive preparation. In Bangladesh, flood forecasting and warning services (FFWS) have been practiced and have proven effective. FFWS have been providing effective. The Flood Forecasting and Warning Center (FFWC), under the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), was established in 1972 and contributes to preparations at the agency and community levels for flood disaster management in Bangladesh. Back when the Center began, it could only provide flood warnings a few hours in advance, but by 2014 they could issue such warnings 8 days in advance, thanks to NASA satellite data from JASON-2. The FFWC disseminates its flood warnings by e-mail, text messages, fax, and its own dedicated website. Without data from JASON-2, however, these warnings could be issued only 3-5 days in advance of an impending flood. 

At this stage FFWC is technologically and logistically confident and willing to share the knowledge and skill it has acquired to other south and southeast Asian countries to enhance their capacity for flood early warning. Because flooding is a shared problem for countries in the same basin or climate, a shared vision to manage floods together by sharing experience and training is essential for a better and more flood-safe world. In this project, stakeholder agencies with flood management responsibilities in their countries will learn about FFWC operations for flood warning generation and dissemination. The U.S. Government-supported partner will lead a special training and outreach session on the value of multi-satellite platforms to improve river modeling, hydrologic modeling, and flood forecasting in situations where ground data are limited or missing entirely. Through this training, the agencies will learn about ways to build a tailored system for beneficiaries in their own countries. They will be able to decide collaboratively how satellite data can be implemented for their water resource management.  

4-85 Field Visit 14-85 Field Visit 24-85 Inaugural Session
Dr. Masud leads the first training workshop in July which included both hands-on exercizes in the field as well as group discussions and presentations (photo courtesy of Dr. Masud).

Summary of Recent Activities

The highlight of the second quarter of 2017 came when Mr. Md. Tohidul Islam of IWM participated in a two-week training program at the University of Washington April 1-15, working under the supervision of U.S. partner Dr. Faisal Hossain. Based on this training and on the work he carried out while at UW, Tohid prepared a paper entitled “Calculating forecast rating curves for virtual stations on the Ganges and Brahmaputra River using Jason-2 interlaced data." After this visit was completed, this PEER team focused on preparations for their second annual regional training program, which was scheduled for July 9-13. They invited relevant agencies from India, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Pakistan to nominate staff members for training. Similar requests for nominations were also issues to four Bangladeshi government departments and institutes. In addition to the complex visa and travel arrangements, staff members also worked to refine the training agenda and materials, building on those used in the first annual course last year. Dr. Hossain is expected to travel to Bangladesh to participate in the training workshop alongside the Bangladeshi PI Dr. Masud and other key project members.

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