Flood early warning system Colombia

Posted on 24 August 2015

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As a result of climate change, Colombia has to deal with heavy rainfall and severe storms on a more regular basis. To help ease this problem, hydrologists can use the flood forecasting system Delft-FEWS (Flood Early Warning System), developed by the Dutch knowledge institute Deltares, to predict the level and drainage of water. In cooperation with UNESCO-IHE, Deltares travelled to Colombia to educate local hydrologists of IDEAM, CVC and CAR to use the system. “Delft-FEWS is received enthusiastically by the Colombians. In the aftermath of the floods of 2010 and 2011, the urgency to set up an integral water management system became much clearer. Delft-FEWS can be implemented flexibly, as you can connect existing sources of data and hydrological models to the system. This is the first time that national and regional institutions in Colombia are sharing their real-time water statistics. Thanks to this development, IDEAM is now better able to release timely warnings than it was during the floods in 2010 and 2011,” explains Otto de Keizer from Deltares. The project involved the river Cauca and Bogota and a part of the Magdalena river. 

Quicker and better information
Thanks to Delft-FEWS, Colombian hydrologists can carry out daily operational predictions. The biggest advantage of this is that information is available directly, which means there is more time to implement measures or to warn people about coming floods. Not only has the cooperation between Deltares, IDEAM and IHE provided a basis for a completely national forecasting system, it has also improved the institutional process for hydrological forecasting and timely warnings.

More information: 

Project location

Project partners

  • Deltares
  • IHE Delft | Institute for Water Education