Stocktaking of climate, weather and water services in Southern Africa

Published on 18 March 2021 by Tamara Lancel

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 hydro meteorological services is acknowledged by the World Bank. This institute is planning to invest to strengthen early warning and hydromet systems in Africa. As preparation of this investment, a consortium of Royal HaskoningDHV and sub-consultants Aqualinks Research & Implementation and Weather Impact investigates 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 strengthen early warning and hydro-meteorological capacities in the region.