Commission for Hydrology—13th session (CHy-XIII)
Geneva, 4-12 November 2008
The session was attended by 117 delegates from 52 countries representing National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, together with representatives of 14 international organizations. Several items from the agenda were released for pre-session discussion, which attracted some additional 78 participants who provided valuable input to session discussions.
The Commission unanimously re-elected Bruce Stewart (Australia) president and Julius Wellens-Mensah (Ghana) vice-president for the next intersessional period and decided that its programme of work for 2009-2012 would focus on the following four theme areas:
- Quality Management Framework–Hydrology (QMF-Hydrology)
- Water resources assessment
- Hydrological forecasting and prediction
- Water, climate and risk management
||CHy-XIII re-elected Bruce Stewart (Australia) president and Julius Wellens-Mensah (Ghana) vice-president.
The Commission re-established its open panels of CHy experts (OPACHEs). It urged Members to nominate additional experts to OPACHEs and to facilitate the voluntary contribution of all members to activities of the Commission. It considered the issue of volunteerism in the work of the Commission. It was stressed that voluntary contributions from experts form the mainstay of its success and encouraged Members to facilitate their participation in the activities of CHy. The Commission expressed its gratitude to the experts who had provided their valuable inputs in completing various activities during the intersessional period.
It also appointed members to its Advisory Working Group (AWG) as follows: J. Balonishnikova (Russian Federation), Z. Liu (China), G. Van Langenhove (Namibia), A. Calver (United Kingdom), H. Lins (USA), Z. Buzás (Hungary) and A. Cardoso Neto (Brazil).
The Commission took several important decisions as presented below.
It adopted a Quality Management Framework-Hydrology providing an overall strategy, advice, guidance and tools for National Hydrological Services (NHSs) to attain efficiency, quality and effectiveness in their functioning and included the relevant activities required to be undertaken in its work programme.
With the adoption of a QMF-Hydrology, the Commission decided that the publications brought out as technical guidance for members should undergo a comprehensive peer review process before they were recommended for adoption as tools for the Quality Management System of the NHSs. Therefore, the Commission adopted an updated peer review process for these publications.
In view of the WMO QMF, CHy considered it necessary to review the classification of publications, which was made primarily on the basis of funding, and made recommendations to the Executive Council accordingly.
Recognizing that there were uncertainties associated with the hydrological processes and the impossibility to completely eliminate these uncertainties in relation to both data and products, the Commission requested its AWG to follow through on the evaluation of uncertainty analysis frameworks and compilation of papers which provide information on the limitations/uncertainties associated with products, such as hydrological forecasts.
It endorsed a project targeted at the assessment of the performance of flow measurement equipment, which would encourage and solicit testing by contributing NHSs of new instrumentation and methodologies.
It decided to supplement the Strategy and Action Plan on the Flood Forecasting Initiative with a detailed activity plan that will assist Members in establishing flood forecasting systems and to explore the possibility of establishing an Inter-Commission Task Team comprising of representatives of CHy, the Commission for Basic Systems, the Commission for Climatology (CCl) and the Commission for Instruments and Methods of Observation for the implementation of the Flood Forecasting Initiative.
The Commission also decided to assist in the setting up of a HelpDesk for Integrated Flood Management for the benefit of Members in the areas of policy and strategy and capacity building in support thereof.
The Commission expressed the need for developing seasonal-to-annual hydrological predictions for monitoring droughts and establishing best practice guidelines for drought monitoring. It noted that the Commission for Agricultural Meteorology (CAgM), which is charged with the activities of drought management and prediction, had established a group on drought management. The Commission saw merit in closely collaborating with CAgM and CCl to work towards developing tools and best practices guidance for hydrological drought monitoring and prediction.
The Commission decided that it should actively participate in the development of the WMO initiative to encourage the provision and dissemination of climate and hydrological information in support of hydrology and climate research, adaptation to climate change and climate variability and in providing feedback from the water community.
It noted that WMO should continue collaboration and cooperation with potential stakeholders and donors to develop new HYCOS projects and support the existing ones in order to contribute to the improvement of water resources assessment, hydrological forecasting, adaptation to climate variability and change, and water resources management capabilities in various river basins.
The Commission decided that the revised WMO Strategy on Education and Training in Hydrology and Water Resources should guide the activities of the Organization in those fields for the period 2009-2012 and asked the AWG to develop, by December 2009, a course of action, with timelines, for the proposed changes to the Hydrological Operational Multipurpose System (HOMS), taking into consideration the alternative approaches to the future of HOMS proposed by the session. It requested the AWG to prepare a position paper on distance and blended learning techniques applied to Hydrology and Water Resources that would draw on the experience gained thus far in the Hydrology and Water Resources Programme to propose a future course of action in this area.
The Commission urged Members to make special efforts to complete the information required in the Hydrological Information Referral Service (INFOHYDRO), as only the comparison of a reasonably wide spectrum of responses covering NHSs from all WMO Regions and at different levels of development would contribute to a correct assessment of the status of hydrological networks around the world. This, in turn, would help the Commission and the secretariat draw a strategy and advocacy for strengthening the hydrological networks.
The Commission considered the request of the Executive Council Working Group on the WMO Integrated Global Observing System and the WMO Information System to undertake the pilot project “Initiation of a global network addressing a Global Climate Observing System requirement”. It decided to identify a package of approaches to address this requirement, and directed the AWG to develop components of such a package. This package would include a clear articulation of scientific questions and purposes and explore other approaches such as geostatistical ones to provide relevant data and information to address these scientific questions and purposes. The Commission stressed that data and information resulting from this package or activities should be shared with all the interested parties.
It decided to take advantage of the WMO Information System (WIS) for the information flows and associated metadata under the Flash Flood Guidance System and to develop a WIS Pilot Project with the Pacific-HYCOS project and/or any other HYCOS projects.
||Participants in the 13th session of the Commission for Hydrology