NOAA awards US$2M to foster water management, early warnings in Africa


NOAA is awarding $2 million to the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Global Water Sustainability Initiative (GEOGloWS) to help provide support and early warning services for critical water resources in Africa. The award was announced by NOAA Administrator Dr. Rick Spinrad at the Group on Earth Observations Ministerial Summit in Cape Town, South Africa, this week.

Partnering with the Nile Basin Initiative, NOAA will work with national meteorological and hydrological agencies to integrate the GEOGLows Streamflow tool into their activities, which will help countries make better-informed decisions for water resource management as well as prepare for weather extremes.

The GEOGloWS Streamflow forecast is disseminated through a free and open data service that taps into the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Ensemble Forecast (ECMWF) and incorporates U.S. technology to provide 15-day streamflow forecasts for every river in the world.

It also leverages the ERA5 climate reanalysis to provide 80 years of historical hydrological data. As part of its support, NOAA will co-produce and tailor GEOGloWS data portals with local agencies and will assist in expanding the use of this service in up to 10 African nations.

“This award is part of a larger $15 million investment in the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience to expand early warning systems in Africa,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “African countries have asked for ways to solve water management problems such as flooding, drought, and water/food security issues by providing the water intelligence they need. This tool will help do that.”

The President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE) supports developing countries and communities in vulnerable situations around the world in their efforts to adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change. PREPARE serves as the cornerstone of the U.S. government response to operationalizing the President’s pledge and addressing the increasing impacts of the global climate crisis.

PREPARE activates a coordinated, whole-of-government approach and will serve as the framework that brings together the diplomatic, development and technical expertise of the United States to help more than half a billion people in developing countries adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change by 2030, in track with the timeline for meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

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