DWS launches HydroNET for the country’s Catchment Management Agencies

The Department of Water and Sanitation has launched a HydroNET Water Control Room in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga. The HydroNET is a system which will be used by the country’s Water Management Areas to have access to weather and water information. This will ensure the parties will make good decisions based on the weather and climate to sustainably manage South Africa’s precious water resources.

HydroNET is a proven web-based decision support system that provides intelligent solutions for operational and strategic water management. It combines weather information from the South African Weather Service (SAWS) with water information from the DWS, and will also generate overviews, forecasts and warnings with the local knowledge generated. Therefore, with this system, water professionals can make well-informed, transparent, and accountable decisions for managing water resources and for sharing relevant information with stakeholders and partners. This is critically important for a water scarce country like South Africa, and every raindrop is critical for water management.

The Department of Water and Sanitation, in collaboration with the SAWS, HydroLogic, eLEAF, the Dutch water authorities and the Inkomati-Usuthu Catchment Management Agency (IUCMA) launched a pilot to demonstrate the benefits of the HydroNET Water Control Room for South Africa.

Dr Sean Phillips, the Director-General of the Department of Water and Sanitation acknowledged the partnership that the Department has with the Netherlands for over a decade. He says the partnership has brought about excellent collaboration on water resource management, through the new tool of HydroNET Water Control Room.

“Data and information decision-making tools are critical to advise water managers and communities timeously of impending disasters. This HydroNET system is capacitating CMAs with real time access during the two years of the contract to various dashboards, reports and tools empowering them to make the right decisions at the right time in a country where every raindrop is critical for the sustainability of water management in South Africa”, said Dr Phillips.

Mr Ishaam Abader, the Chief Executive Officer of the South African Weather Services said his organisation is proud to be a partner in support of the Department of Water and Sanitation, particularly with issues of strategic water management.

“The HydroNET dashboard will be personalised with tables and modern results that will assist in making reliable and safe decisions at the right time. I would like to commend the Catchment Management Agencies that have updated their case studies, this demonstrates the resilience of our water resources.”

Michelle Hartslief from HydroNET SA also acknowledged the partnership with the Department of Water and Sanitation. She outlined an implementation and training plan that will be offered to water managers in various CMAs, particularly in Weather Training, Water Auditing, and Water Control Room Training.

“The HydroNET Project will be implemented by the South African Weather Services and the Department of Water and Sanitation will play an oversight role. We are looking forward to collaborate with both institutions to ensure good water management in South Africa, ” said Ms Hartslief.

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