Botswana DWA joins the HYPE community

SMHI’s open source, free of charge and transparent hydrological model for the environment HYPE is being used extensively in Europe and internationally for both research and operational hydrology. The latest addition to the HYPE community is Botswana.

HYPE has been applied successfully over the Niger River basin in West Africa as well in the Middle East and North Africa domain. Our experts at SMHI have been working in close cooperation with colleagues from the Botswana Department of Water Affairs (DWA) to set up an operational flood forecasting system for the Limpopo basin in Botswana.

Operational flood forecasting

River Chobe in Botswana
The Chobe River in Botswana experiences annual flooding often influenced by overflows from other rivers in the region.

In Botswana floods are one of the natural hazards that expose the general population of Botswana to potential risk of disaster. Therefore it is important to forecast the potential occurrence of floods as a result of extreme rainfall events.

The HYPE model is being configured as a hydrological model to simulate flow magnitudes within different sub-catchments of the Limpopo River Basin of Botswana. The HYPE model is expected to assist in simulation of flow magnitude as a result of rainfall occurrence. Two main rainfall forecasting outputs will be used:

  1. The nowcast products of short term from hours to days.
  2. The seasonal forecast will be used as input into the HYPE model to simulate the potential flooding in the different sub-catchments.

Advantages of the HYPE model

HYPE provides a clear representation of the hydrological processes and is easy to use and manipulate.
- It is not data intense therefore suitable for the data availability conditions of Botswana or the Limpopo Catchment. Moreover there is easy access to technical support by the developer SMHI the HYPE Model has been used in other catchments in Africa and therefore proven to be applicable to Botswana conditions. And the HYPE package is free of charge, says Kobamelo Dikgola of DWA about the advantages of the HYPE model compared to other hydrological models.

Exchange of experiences

SMHI in meeting with DWA
SMHI visits DWA in Botswana.

DWA is responsible for issuing flood warnings and with assistance from SMHI they can now work towards getting the tools and skills for managing flooding.

- Every two or three months, SMHI experts  work for a short period in Botswana and vice-versa our DWA colleagues also come to Sweden, where we have the opportunity to demonstrate how we prepare our flood forecasts. In between these missions, the DWA staff work independently on different tasks, says SMHI Project Manager Nina Bosshard.