What are hydrological services?
Hydrological services provide hydrological information in a way that assists decision-making by individuals and organizations. When the first letter of each word is written in uppercase, "Hydrological Services" refer to the departments or organizations that supply the public need. When written in lowercase letters, "hydrological services" refers to the action of providing services.
Hydrological information can help answer questions like:
- What is the quantity, quality and distribution of water resources in our country, river basin and sub-catchment? What is the potential for water-related development? Can the available resource meet actual and foreseeable demands including the needs of ecosystems?
- How should we plan, design and operate water projects, such as those involving hydraulic construction, such as hydroelectric facilities, navigation, irrigation and drainage schemes, domestic and industrial water supply, water sanitation, and river restoration?
- How do our water resource management practices impact the environment, economy and society? How can we plan sound management strategies?
- How can we protect people, property and ecosystems from water-related hazards, particularly floods, droughts and pollutants?
- How can we allocate water among competing uses, both within the country and across borders?
- How can we meet regulatory requirements?
- How can we develop evidence-based climate change adaptation and mitigation policies? How can we ensure the sustainable use of our water resources?
Hydrological services use, produce and add value to:
- High-quality real-time and historical data from national and international databases, data portals, bulletins, yearbooks and time series on precipitation, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, snow, ice, and water quantity and quality in groundwater, rivers, lakes and reservoirs
- Statistical products, assessments, and short-, mid-, and long-term projections and scenarios
- Hydrological models and model outputs
- Hydrological forecasts, outlooks and related warnings for flood and drought
- Tailored analyses and maps, risk and vulnerability analyses
Depending on the user’s needs, these data and information products may be combined with data on related topics such as agriculture, energy, industrial production, health, population and infrastructure, and other socio-economic and environment variables. The goal is to provide decision makers with information in a user-friendly and meaningful format.
What is the hydrological value chain?
The hydrological value chain starts with measuring physical variables in the field and ends with delivering products that are tailored to the information requirement of final users. In between, there are a number of intermediate steps that require different resources, tools, expertise and approaches. To cover all the critical steps that lead to hydrological services with high positive impacts, the discussion on the value chain will be organized in three sessions, each of them addressing a specific segment. Click on one of the themes below to see the associated partner initiatives.