How can the Red Cross and Red Crescent support the hydropower sector in designing and implementing dam safety measures and policies?
Understanding the flood risk of extreme weather events can help to turn early warnings to early actions that reduce the losses. The “Forecast-based Financing” (FbF) programme for flood preparedness is being piloted in West Africa through a digital tool called FUNES. Volunteers collect rainfall data on the Mono river basin upstream of the Nangbéto Hydropower Dam, and an innovative hydrological model (a self-learning algorithm designed with only three years of data) anticipates the timing and discharge of any imminent dam overspill. This forecast enables dam operators to plan releases, including those that may inundate communities downstream, according to a downstream model. When FUNES forecasts flood impacts, the Red Cross, government and partners receive an automated message to activate radio alerts, distribute of water purification, and deploy other pre-funded disaster preparedness measures. The system was successfully tested in September 2016, and received the 2017 Global Innovation Award from the World Government Summit.
This side event will convene disaster managers, donors, dam operators, government officials, researchers, and machine learning experts. We will explore new approaches to flood risk management downstream of dams, focusing on two promising opportunities: FbF and machine learning.
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