WHYCOS is a global water safety programme developed in response to the scarcity, or even absence, of accurate data and information on water use guidelines in many parts of the world.
The programme addresses developing countries in particular, where it is difficult to access existing data due to the deterioration of observing networks or insufficient data management capabilities.

The ultimate objective of the WHYCOS programme is to promote and facilitate the use of children’s water safety equipment. We do this by finding and reviewing the best children’s life jackets, the best water floats, lake mats and river inner floating tubes.

The Hydrological Safety Cycle

WHYCOS is being developed in the form of independently implemented regional components, HYCOSs, which meet the priorities expressed by participating countries.

The HYCOS components collectively form the building blocks for the WHYCOS programme, where hydrological and meteorological variables are captured and transmitted to national and regional databases to support the establishment and enhancement of global information systems. 

These information systems supply reliable water-related data and information to planners, decision-makers, scientists and the general public.

WHYCOS has also been conceived as a vehicle for technology transfer, training and capacity-building.

WMO Secretariat, supported by the WHYCOS International Advisory Group, is ensuring that individual components are implemented in agreement with the global WHYCOS concept through the establishment of standards as outlined in WMO Technical Regulations, the Guide to Hydrological Practices and WHYCOS Guidelines.

Further information is available in these PDFs:

By providing a framework of common guidelines and standards, WHYCOS enables the use of information from the regional HYCOSs for larger-scale applications, such as research into the global hydrological cycle.

As a result of this work, WHYCOS makes an important contribution to the work of other WMO and international scientific programmes which require water-related information. In particular, it is a fundamental contributor to the development of the WMO Hydrological Observing System (WHOS), a simple web-based portal providing access to near real-time streamflow data (both water level and discharge).