UNDP Challenge Fund supports H2i Balkans project

A partnership consisting of H2i Balkans (Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina) and EZ Hydroinformatics (Prague, Czech Republic) has won the support of the UNDP Challenge Fund to pilot an early flash flood warning system. The system will serve the flood-prone Ričina basin in the Tomislavgrad municipality of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The grant is part of the Czech-UNDP Partnership for Sustainable Development Goals (CFCS) project, which is aimed at facilitating the transfer of technology and innovative solutions that will help address the region’s development challenges, allow it to better cope with climate change and contribute to the achievement of SDG’s.

Historically, Bosnia and Herzegovina have experienced numerous extreme weather events, particularly flooding. The Local Early Flash Flood Warning system for the Ričina basin will help mitigate the impact of flash floods, a disaster risk that is especially acute in remote valleys without formal monitoring networks in place.  

The system puts in place a warning system that will alert the local communities of Omolje, Seonica and Crvenica ahead of a flash flood. The early warning will make it possible for communities to be evacuated in the case of extreme flood events, and mitigation measures be put in place.

This pilot consists of a relatively simple system: a battery-powered monitoring network of rainfall-gauges and water level monitors, and a web- and GPRS-based IT platform that dispatches early warnings about incoming flash floods. SMS alerts will be sent to various stakeholders, and a local-language web-based dashboard will provide round-the-clock flood information. Local staff will also be trained to maintain the equipment and support the authorities in planning.

Over time, a data repository will be built up, enabling better research and policy making. Once the effectiveness of the system is proven, it can be scaled up or replicated in other towns and cities in the region.

CFCS is financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, and will be implemented by the UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub from 2018 to 2021. It is aimed at finding innovative and replicable solutions for situations like these in three partner countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova.

H2i Balkans, an offshoot of Singapore water technology company Hydroinformatics Institute (H2i), specializes in the use of big data analytics, machine learning, and advanced computer modelling to solve real-world water issues.