Bangladesh to Expand SERVIR Satellite Flood Warning System

Bangladesh officials have announced plans to expand a satellite-based flood forecasting and warning.

Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) Flood Forecasting and Warning Center (FFWC) have used the Jason-2 based flood forecasting and warning solution during the 2014 monsoon season. The FFWC was able to forecast flooding eight days in advance at nine locations of the Ganges and Brahmaputra River Basins in the north, northwest, and central part of the country. Previous flood forecasting tools enabled warnings of 3 days in advance.

“Forecasters have the dream to extend lead time for flood warnings,” said Amirul Hossain, executive engineer for the Bangladesh Water Development Board. “By using Jason-2 near real-time data, we made a real step forward in the flood forecasting system in Bangladesh.”

nasa servir bangladesh floods
Upper row: The Ganges Brahmaputra Meghna (GBM) river basins and the Ganges-Brahmaputra (GB) delta. Bottom row: The many river deltas (shown as a triangle in each region) located in large remote river basins that lack information for modeling rivers and water management. Image Credit: NASA SERVIR

Jason-2 was developed by SERVIR – a joint development initiative of NASA and USAID – and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development based in Kathmandu, Nepal.

According to NASA, Jason-2’s radar altimeter measures the precise distance between the satellite and the river surface at points where the satellite crosses overhead. The data, available almost immediately, reveals the river’s height at the point of crossing, so flood risks downstream can be assessed.

After successful testing, the BWDB plans to expanded its flood forecasting system using Jason-2 to develop a nation-wide system for Bangladesh during 2015.

“We hope this is the beginning of a new journey, a new era for further development of the flood early warning system using space data or space technology,” said Hossain. “In the coming year, with support provided by the NASA SERVIR team, we would like to expand the system to many other locations where possible, to enable more people to benefit from this system by receiving more extended lead time for flood forecasts.”

For more information about SERVIR, see NASA’s page here, and the SERVIR website here.