Upgrade of hydrological observation networks moves ahead in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 20th November 2014 (UNECA) – In early September 2014, a team of climate information services experts from the African Climate Policy Center (ACPC) accompanied counterparts from the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE) to the Omo-Gibe region of Ethiopia to launch the installation of hydrological equipment supplied by UNECA. The equipment is provided within the scope of a project funded by UNECA to upgrade hydro-metrological observation networks in the country. The installation of hydrometric instruments will cover the Omo-Gibe and other River basins of Ethiopia.

Under the auspices of the Climate Change for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) initiative, ACPC is undertaking the project with MoWIE with the aim of strengthening the country’s ability to better plan for the utilization of its water resources, respond to water stresses brought about by climate change, and build the capacity of hydrology and water quality department of the Ministry of Water, irrigation and Energy of Ethiopia.

Science-informed and evidence-based policy, planning, and practice are essential in ensuring that development is more climate-resilient and less vulnerable to the expected negative impacts of climate change and in fostering sustainable development. In Africa, however, the acquisition, development and use of climate and hydrological information is very weak.

Ethiopia is one of African countries that are highly vulnerable to climate change and climate variability. Extreme weather events are expected to increase with climate change. Climate information is essential for development planning, adaptation to climate change and establishing early warning systems for extreme weather events. Planning that is strongly backed by quality climate observation data is a prerequisite for production of climate advisories that benefit local communities.

Existing coverage of climate observation network in Ethiopia is below the level recommended by the World Meteorological Organization. Ethiopia has a complex topography and requires a dense station network to improve the quality of weather and climate services.

Prior to the installation of the hydrological equipment, a five day long training was provided to experts and technicians of hydrology department of MoWIE on installation, operation and troubleshooting of hydrometric and telemetry instruments.

Issued by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)