A general structure, which is intended to be flexible and comprises some proposed stages, is described below. Each particular project may dynamically adapt and modify the structure in order to meet specific needs and circumstances.
The basic stages of a WHYCOS component are:
In the project initiation stage a formal request is submitted to WMO by a regional institution or river basin authority, with the support from at least three-quarters of the countries sharing a basin or from countries within whose jurisdiction more than three-quarters of the basin area falls. Subsequently efforts are undertaken to define the project and to seek funding from donors.
This phase ultimately leads, through steps that my differ from case to case, to the preparation of a detailed project proposal describing the issues that the project will address, identifying specific objectives that the project will attain, the required resources needed and how the project activities will contribute to societal outcomes.
In order to ensure the commitment of the participating countries this document should be endorsed at a senior decision-making level within each country and the regional institution or river basin authority. The successful completion of the project initiation stage is the identification of a donor or donors who are willing to support the implementation of the HYCOS project.
During the project implementation stage a governance and management structure is created, reflecting the various levels of management required to undertake the project agreed by the various parties.
The initial months of this phase are used to develop of a Detailed Implementation Plan through a continuing dialogue with all the participating agencies and stakeholders, with the intent of adding additional details to the project document, thereby allowing for coordinated project implementation and ensuring ownership and long-term sustainability of the project.
The Detailed Implementation Plan covers technical and administrative details for office and field activities, including but not limited to:
The Implementation Plan also includes a detailed budget and schedule for implementation, and reflects the contributions of all parties in undertaking various aspects of the work, thereby becoming the reference document against which progress of the project is measured
National Hydrological Services are typically fully responsible for all office and fieldwork activities in their country and all matters related to the production of reliable data and products. Progress of the project in this phase is monitored by a steering committee, including beneficiary countries, donors, regional institutions and WMO.
Capacity building, institutional change, adoption of new technologies and development of human skills may best be accomplished through a phased approach. This allows the development of capacities and the strengthening of National Hydrological Services to be achieved over a more realistic timeline. It is essential to ensure continuity between project phases, so that the results of a given phase are utilized properly in the succeeding phase.
Critical for ensuring the long term sustainability of the outcomes of a project is the post-project maintenance stage. During this stage the participating countries maintain network infrastructure and continue activities under the project with the regional institution or river basin authority to ensure long-term sustainability. This work includes continued involvement of and support for a Regional Project Centre.
The developed Project Plan and the subsequent Project Implementation Plan should reflect agreement on how the regional water resources information system, national hydrological information systems, and associated infrastructure are to be funded, located and operated following completion of the project. In addition, it is expected that hydrological data and information products will continue to flow to interested users. Phasing out of external support allowing a gradual take over of project activities by participating countries should be envisaged.