Community-Based Flood Early Warning System in Mahottari, Nepal

Indal Mahato of Sarpallo VDC in Mahottari district, ward number 7, is extremely happy. He is happy because he can now find out in advance about incoming floods in Jungha and Auksi kholas (rivers) The local residents of this area no longer have to stay alert all night because of fear of flood. Interview: Indal Mahato, Sarpallo 7, Mahottari Life has become much easier since we got this early warning device We shout out: ‘Run! There is a flood,’ like we do when there is fire People pick up their things and leave For two months, we do not sleep, we keep watching twenty four hours wondering when the flooding will start By the time Ratu khola, which flows along the boundary between Dhanusa and Mahottari districts, reaches Sarpallo VDC it splits up into Jungha and Auksi rivers During four months around the monsoon, these streams are responsible for excessive damage A flood that happened two years ago, took the lives of four villagers Because of a community based flood early warning system installed in Ratu khola the residents of Sarpallo village are able to find out about floods as they occur 46 kilometres upstream They now have plenty of time to secure their lives during such occurrences At a total cost of NPR 400,000, the installment of a transmitter for measuring water level along with a receiver has secured the lives of villagers threatened by Ratu khola in 25 VDCs in Mahottari including Sarpallo, Nainahi, Sadha, Ratwada, and Gananpura Interview: Mahendra Bikram Karki, gauge reader, Laalgadh, Dhanusa There is an incoming level-2 flood. Please be alert Please plan for your safety. That is what I tell the villagers They also have their own system and keep their task forces alert When the danger reaches level 3, it becomes a high-risk situation We have to think about how to evacuate the people International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) Nepal government’s Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, and UNDP have installed the community-based flood early warning system It made the relationship between upstream and downstream communities more intimate It has also increased social harmony Transmitters and receivers have been kept at three locations along Ratu khola: in Kalapani, Laalgadh, and Sarpallo This cost-effective technology will also be placed in other vulnerable areas of the Koshi basin, according to ICIMOD scientist Neera Shrestha Pradhan Mohan Manandhar, Nepal Television, Biratnagar

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