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Project implemented : AOC-HYCOS Pilot phase

(project web site)

The drought which affected Western Africa starting from the end the Sixties of the 20th century, with a further worsening in the early Eighties, has brought to the attention of national governments, decision makers and international aid agency the need of reliable baseline information on the availability of water resources and their evaluative trends in time. Unfortunately the limited resources allocated in national budget and other competing development priorities had left operation and management of observing networks and data bases in critical condition and not in a position to respond to the increased demands for water related information.

In order to respond to the urgent needs of the countries in terms of rehabilitation of basic data collection and management facilities, WMO developed a project proposal for AOC-HYCOS covering twenty-two countries of Western and Central Africa,

Between 2000 and 2002 WMO implemented a Pilot Phase in cooperation with eleven countries from the region that had clearly manifested their interest in the project (Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal). The Pilot Phase was funded by France with a grant of FF 2,000,000. (About € 300.000)

The main objectives of this Pilot Phase were to consolidate the development of the Regional Hydrological Observatory of Western and Central Africa by supporting data collection activities in the countries, and reinforcing and restructuring the regional data bank. The project activities were coordinated by the PRC, jointly hosted by the AGRHYMET Centre and the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) The French Research Institute for development (IRD) provided scientific and technical backstopping to the project, mainly trough its unit “Hydrological observation and engineering” in Montpellier and in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).

Based on the experiences earned during the implementation of the Pilot Phase it was proposed that the follow-up phase should be implemented through a number of projects for large trans-boundary river basin components to be launched independently. This approach is deemed to carry three major advantages:

  • Gathering participating countries around a commonly shared water resources would foster their ownership of the project;
  • Owing to the reduced project size it would be easier to mobilize the necessary financial resources;
  • Addressing a single hydrological catchment, it would be easier for the project to better respond to the needs of the riparian countries.

A framework strategy paper has been prepared by WMO and the proposed approach received support from the countries and institutions involved. At present two projects (Niger-HYCOS and Volta-HYCOS) are being implemented and Lake Chad and Senegal under preparation.
See AOC-HYCOS Products