OPIDIN, Flood forecast Inner Niger Delta, Mali

A tool to predict the level and timing of the flood peak in the inner Niger Delta in Mali

Posted on 10 October 2014


The annual flooding of the Inner Niger Delta is vital to humans and animals. More than 1.5 million fishermen, rice farmers and herdsmen depend for their living on the annual flooding of an area of one million ha. However, depending on the rainfall the flooding varies significantly from year to year and this has a large impact on the living conditions of the people. Also for the millions of migratory birds in the Inner Delta the flood determines their survival in the coming winter. 

With the support of the Dutch Government, OPIDIN was developed by Altenburg & Wymenga together with Wetlands International, Frerotte Hydro-Consult and partners in Mali, in particular the "Direction Nationale de l'Hydraulique.  OPIDIN allows the prediction of the flood several months in advance, and predicts the level and the timing of the flood peak as well as the maximal flood extent. That is why OPIDIN can be used as an early warning system for the habitants of the Inner Niger Delta and all people making their living there. An extremely high flood may cause problems at a local level (e.g. flooding of houses), but the consequences of an extremely low flood are much more serious. The low floods in the 1980s were a disaster with a very low production of rice and fish. Also the deflooding is predicted. OPIDIN uses for their prediction the daily water levels measured by the Direction Nationale de l'Hydraulique (DNH), in combination with the rainfall in the Upper Niger during the last three weeks. The potential users of OPIDIN may be assembled in different categories: habitants of the floodplains, (rice) farmers, fishermen, livestock holders, water managers, transporters, local and national authorities, and aid agencies.

Since 1 August 2014, OPIDIN is in the air again. Just like the weather forecast, the prediction of the expected flood is broadcasted daily on the radio in Mali. OPIDIN predicts, that the flood will be low in 2014, corresponding to, or just a little higher than, 2011. Have a look at for more information. 


The final goal of OPIDIN is to inform the people through internet, 6 radio stations and a printed atlas about the timing and extent of the annual flood.

  • Contribute directly to the IWRM process in Mali by addressing and providing key information for national policies and strategies related to water and land management,
  • Support appropriate decisions for a good balance between economic development and sustainable environment;
  • Support communities in the delta to improve their food security through a better knowledge of hydraulic conditions;
  • Support regional authorities to take decisions about water and land sharing between competitive users;
  • Support the Government and the international community to anticipate possible water crisis and food shortage and to plan earlier and adequate responses;
  • Inform a wide public to take in account the effects of the global climate change and its impacts on the water availability in the Niger basin.


Flooding Atlas of the Inner Niger Delta; Floodviewer        

Project location

Project partners

  • Altenburg & Wymenga ecological consultants
  • Wetlands International