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Water is essential for life, for generating hydroelectric power and meeting irrigation and domestic requirements. Through its Hydrology and Water Resources Programme, WMO promotes water-resources assessment and provides the forecasts needed to plan water storage, agricultural activities and urban development. It supports an integrated, multidisciplinary approachto water-resources management.

Measurement of hydrological variables, including the quantity and quality of both surface- and groundwater are provided by National Hydrological Services and are essential for the effective management of water resources and exchange of hydrological data. In many parts of the world, flooding is a major problem and proper flood management is needed to reduce the impact of flooding. Flood plains are beneficial areas for human developments and floods are natural phenomena of the natural regime of a river. Flood-management practices play an important role in protecting people and their socio-economic development from floods and flooding.


Accurate and reliable data are essential for formulating integrated water resources management strategies. To assist countries in maintaining their systems for acquiring water-related information and for disseminating it to decision-makers and various stakeholders, WMO developed the World Hydrological Cycle Observing System (WHYCOS) programme. It supports Members, especially developing countries, in establishing an accurate, timely and accessible knowledge base for the sustainable development of their freshwater resources.

Warning systems are vital for protection against ocean-generated natural hazards such as natural disasters, tsunamis and hurricane-induced storm surge. WMO works with its partners to improve these warning systems in all parts of the world.

WMO provides services in support of the safety of life and property at sea, protection of the marine environment and the efficient management of marine resources, based on the timely collection and distribution of marine meteorological and oceanographic data.




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