Member State and LCBC Experts drilled on the operation and installation of hydrometeorological equipment
On Monday, 30 May 2022, a regional training workshop for experts from Member States and the Executive Secretariat kicked off in N’Djamena (Chad). The main objective is to drill the experts on the installation, operation, and management of hydrometeorological equipment procured at a great cost by the Commission.
During five days, experts from Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic and LCBC will discuss and strengthen their knowledge on, among other things, the operation, installation, and maintenance of hydrometeorological equipment. They will also be drilled on the collection and transmission of data, the configuration and setting-up of automatic stations, their maintenance and repair. The training includes a practical work phase, with the simulation of station installation, on-site data collection sessions, remote transmission, data processing and many other related issues.
During his opening remarks, the Executive Secretary of LCBC restated one of the Commission’s cardinal missions: the equitable and sustainable access to water by the Member States in sufficient quantity and acceptable quality. The latter will address their needs and rights, conserving the basin’s freshwater resources, ecosystem, and biodiversity.
One of the missions of LCBC’s intervention strategy and the Lake Chad Basin Observatory is to strengthen knowledge of the basin’s water resources. LCBC aims to develop and operate an integrated regional water information system as a decision-making tool to manage Lake Chad resources efficiently.
The Lake Chad Basin Water Charter provides for the regular collection by Member States of necessary data on their national portions of the basin and regular sharing with the other Member States through the LCBC. These data are stored in a regional database (RDB) and contribute to integrated and more efficient management of the basin’s water and environmental resources.
“The Programme for the Rehabilitation and Strengthening of the Resilience of the Socio-Ecological Systems of the Lake Chad Basin (PRESIBALT) and the Project to support LCBC in improving the Lake Chad Management (LCBC-GEF-UNDP) supported the operationalisation of the RDB to ensure the effective implementation of the Water Charter. It will be achieved through enhanced and increased hydrometeorological observation networks in the Lake Chad Basin. Thanks to these projects financed by the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF)- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Fund, hydrometeorological equipment was procured by LCBC for the Member States” Amb. Mamman Nuhu explained.
According to the Executive Secretary, the training is part of the 2022 Annual Work Plan and Budget of the LCBC. It includes the training of experts from Member States and LCBC on installing and operating the new equipment. Thus, ensuring effective ownership and operation, thereby maintaining a functional RDB. Also, the participation of LCBC Focal Points in training equally provides the unique opportunity to discuss the proposed distribution template for the equipment among the Member States and the strategies to facilitate their installation.
The Executive Secretary restated his profound thanks to technical and financial partners, notably the AfDB, GEF, and UNDP, for their constant support to LCBC towards stabilising, recovering, and developing the Lake Chad Basin. He urged all participants to give their best to better ownership of this high-quality equipment’s installation, maintenance, monitoring, and operation techniques. It will enable LCBC and the Member States to achieve the workshop’s objective: better knowledge and sustainable management of this “common heritage” that Lake Chad represents.
As a stakeholder in this training, the UNDP, through its Resident Representative (RR) in Chad, recalled that the environmental resources of the Lake Chad Basin are essential to the survival of the riparian populations for their daily subsistence and economic development of the region. According to Kamil Kamaluddeen, “Unfortunately, we have been observing an alarming degradation of water resources and ecosystems in the Lake Chad Basin for the last few decades. It is aggravated by the current security situation, subsequent livestock migration, and people searching for a better life.”
The Resident Representative underscored that the holding of this workshop is part of the ongoing commitment of LCBC and its technical and financial partners – including UNDP – to optimise hydrometeorological services and promote shared prosperity, notably through the effective implementation of the “Lake Chad Basin Water Charter.”
He added that “Regular ecosystem monitoring, staff capacity building aimed at monitoring and interpreting data is also crucial. The active participation of the LCBC Member States is undeniably crucial to support the individual national efforts in data/information sharing more systematically and coherently.”
The RR was pleased to note the great interest shown by Member States in this training workshop on data/information collection and dissemination. He lauded the commitment, vision, and leadership of the Executive Secretariat of LCBC to spare no effort in creating a vast movement for environmental restoration at the regional level. He further reiterated his organisation’s readiness to work with all the partners of LCBC in facilitating data collection, sharing, monitoring and integration into a regional database.
Hydrometeorology is a scientific discipline at the crossroads of hydrology and meteorology. Therefore, it provides users with better information on weather, hydrological and climatic conditions that can enable them to anticipate and prepare for natural disasters. It includes real-time weather forecasts, tools to anticipate long-term droughts and hydrological monitoring systems. With sufficiently early warning, these services enable communities to evacuate threatened areas before a disaster occurs, make decisions on water resource management, etc.
Given the complex economic and structural challenges, such a tool is undisputable for LCBC and its Member States. Climate hazards and the risk of natural disasters are only the most visible facet. The countries are faced with a combination of risks, including the worsening of current weather conditions resulting from climate change. The Member States are rural and agricultural countries. As such, the tool, even if only concerning their national portions of the basin, can, for example, reliably prevent droughts and floods, hydrometeorological phenomena that severely affect agricultural activities, pushing millions of people into food insecurity and crippling a regional economy based on agriculture, livestock, and fishing.
It underscores the importance of hydrometeorology and the integration of its tools in decision making. The LCBC Water Charter and the regional database will contribute to modernising and procuring forecasting technologies that will make these services more efficient, facilitate access to meteorological data and enable policy and decision-makers to protect their citizens better. It will also increase productivity and foster more equitable economic growth in various sectors, such as agriculture, livestock, fisheries, transport, energy, health, etc.