South Africa

Stocktaking of climate, weather and water services in Southern Africa

Billions of dollars are spent on adaptation to climate change efforts on the African continent. Early warning services for droughts, floods, cyclones and other extreme weather events are essential to prepare in-time for climate disasters. Reliable services require high quality local weather, water and climate data. National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) are the mandated organizations for providing these services, and are the key-stakeholders for provision of quality data, information and models for weather and water. Supporting hydro-meteorological services should therefore be at the core of climate adaptation efforts.

The need to support hydrometeorological services is acknowledged by the World Bank. This institute appointed a consortium of Royal HaskoningDHV and sub-consultants Aqualinks Research & Implementation and Weather Impact to investigate the current status of the meteorology, hydrology, climate services, and early warning systems in Southern Africa (SADC region). The consortium identified and interviewed all stakeholders in the Hydro-meteorological value chain; National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, river basin organizations, disaster risk management institutes, academia, private sector and regional institutes. The “stocktaking” activities were, due to the covid-19 travel restrictions, conducted as an online questionnaire with over 300 questions.

Based on the outcomes of this questionnaire, a guidance note for strengthening early warning systems in the region is developed. The consortium identifies opportunities for regional collaboration and informs investment planning in those services. The findings and recommendations from this project will be instrumental to strengthen early warning and hydro-meteorological capacities in the region.



Climate change is posing huge challenges to Southern Africa’s agriculture. To support agribusinesses to adapt to climate change and become more climate resilient, good quality weather and climate information is needed.

Rain for Africa provides agricultural advisory services to farmers based on the best available weather and climate information at their specific location to help improve the quality and quantity of food production in a sustainable manner. Weather information from South African Weather Services (SAWS) is enriched with algorithms from the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) to assist farmers with determining the best dates to plant, spray, irrigate or harvest. These advisories are made available via the HydroNET webportal, AgriCloud Smartphone App and USSD service.

Weather Impact coordinated the development of the AgriCloud mobile application. This application is designed to provide guidance to farmers on selection of planting dates for the specific location of their farm. The app also provides information regarding days on which spraying would be conducive. It is provided in 9 local languages. Input for the app is real-time weather information from the SAWS and agricultural knowledge rules from the ARC. Weather Impact coordinated agile development of the app, releases, initiation of end-user evaluations. Currently, AgriCloud mobile application is maintained and supported by the ARC. You can find the app in the Google Play Store.

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HydroNET extreme rainfall alert

South Africa is prone to flooding due to excessive rainfall. Intense rainfall can lead very quickly to dangerous local flash flooding. When timely warned, people can prepare for events and prevent damage. Under climate change and El Niño events, rainfall patterns change. Reliable weather information and timely alarms are becoming more and more valuable, especially for insurers and water authorities. Weather Impact developed a rainfall alert application on the HydroNET webportal.

The Weather Impact Rain Alert is an application that informs its users timely when heavy rainfall is forecasted. The method behind the application is innovative as it uses cost benefit analysis to customize the alerts to specific local user needs. The Weather Impact Rain Alert makes use of the best available weather models. The application smartly combines historical data and user risk profiles into a reliable alert for extreme rainfall in the users’ area.

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