IAHS newsletter Oct 1996


Reports on Meetings

Association of African Hydrologists (AAH)

On 3 July 1996 a meeting of the Association of African Hydrologists (AAH) took place at Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) on the occasion of the final meeting of the steering committee of the Programme for the Evaluation of Hydrology in Sub-Saharan Africa, convened by the World Bank, and by the meeting of the FRIEND-AOC Programme, convened by UNESCO. The meeting of the Association was chaired by M. Abel Afouda (Chair of the provisional bureau); the secretariat of the meeting was provided by M. Albert Goula. Prof. Pierre Hubert (Vice- President, IAHS) participated in the meeting which brought together participants from about 20 African countries as well as representatives of UNESCO, WMO, FAO and ORSTOM.


The Report of the activities of the provisional bureau was presented by Prof. Abel Afouda. The objectives assigned to the provisional bureau since its inception comprise the following main points:

to inform African hydrologists on the objectives of the Association;

to develop statutes and bye-laws;

to initiate publication of an African journal of hydrological sciences;

to prepare the organization of a hydrological conference in sub-Saharan Africa.

It emerged from the report on activities that the provisional bureau had managed to accomplish the first task with great difficulty as a result, essentially, of communication problems and the practical impossibility of bringing members of the bureau together. However, that did not prevent the Chairman and Secretary General of the provisional bureau from seizing opportunities to travel in different countries to advise African hydrologists and officials of international organizations.


Relations with IAHS. Pierre Hubert introduced IAHS structures and objectives. His presence at the meeting is explained by the strong ties which IAHS wishes to see existing between the two associations. One of the possible advantages of this bond would be the integration of Africans into international hydrological structures. In consequence IAHS will do everything possible to aid in reinforcing AAH structures.


Assistance of UNESCO. The regional hydrologist, Dr. Emmanuel Naah, compared the actions of his organization with those of AAH. He specified that UNESCO strongly appreciated the creation of AAH which would promote exchanges between Africans and facilitate the integration of African hydrologists into the international scientific community. UNESCO, which has followed closely all the activities of AAH since the establishment of the provisional bureau, focussed its support around the following points:

creation of an African journal of hydrological sciences which would be bilingual (English / French);

dissemination of information and organization of periodic meetings to exchange experiences.


Participation at the 12th session of the Intergovernmental Council for IHP (Paris, 23-28 September 1996). At this session Africa will be represented by the countries elected at the time of the last General Assembly of UNESCO (Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, Namibia and Zambia). In fact the participation of Africans at the Council is always weak.

The participants have hoped that at the next session resolutions would be submitted to contribute to effective ways of advancing the development of hydrology in Africa. The two resolutions adopted to be presented to this Council would be oriented towards strengthening the Association and would focus on:

the creation of an African journal of hydrological sciences;

the organization of an international conference on hydrological sciences in Africa and which would offer an appropriate forum for the General Assembly of AAH.

It was decided to delegate a representative of AAH to this meeting which would be part of the delegation of IAHS to explain the necessity of these two resolutions and to support them. To this end a brochure would be made available to present AAH and its objectives.

#5 IAHS Scientific Assembly (Rabat, 1997). It has been requested that African hydrologists make appropriate arrangements to be present in large numbers at Rabat for the IAHS Assembly. The Assembly will provide a forum for meeting between African hydrologists to discuss progress and to strengthen AAH, and will also offer an opportunity to escape from the isolation in which many hydrologists are confined and will permit them to broaden their scientific horizon and make themselves known.

Several international organizations, such as IAHS, UNESCO, WMO, FAO, and institutions such as ORSTOM, have already expressed their availability to contribute to the reimbursement of African hydrologists on condition that they attend to deliver a scientific paper.

Pierre Hubert

WMO/CHy Advisory Working Group

Two meetings of the WMO CHy Advisory Working Group were held during the last year. The third session took place in Montevideo (Uruguay), 1-7 November 1995, and the fourth in Paris (France), 25-29 March 1996. Pierre Hubert attended both of them as IAHS representative. Every four years the WMO Commission for Hydrology (CHy) appoints an Advisory Working Group (AWG) in charge of the different responsibilities of the CHy during the intersession. Under the chairmanship of Prof. K. Hofius (Germany), the AWG is composed of M.G. Arduino (Uruguay), Vice President; Mr. S.N. Sok Apadu (Mauritius), Chair of the Working Group on Data Acquisition and Processing Systems; Mr. Wang Juemou (China), Chair of the Working Group on Hydrological Forecasting and Applications for Water Management; Mr. M. Beran (UK), Chair of the Working Group on Operational Hydrology, Climate and the Environment; Dr. D.L. Fread (USA), responsible for HOMS; Prof. I. Shiklomanov (Russia), responsible for the Guide and Technical Regulations; Dr. P. Mosley (New Zealand), responsible for Capacity Building; and Dr. O. Starosolszky (Hungary), responsible for Water Resources Assessment. The AWG has to follow up on the decisions of the last CHy plenary, to define the agenda of the next one and to prepare long-term planning of WMO activities in the field of Hydrology and Water Resources. The Paris meeting was held conjointly with that of the IHP Council Bureau, as recommended in the Paris Statement (UNESCO/WMO/ICSU Conference on Hydrology, March 1993), in order to achieve better coordination of International Hydrological Programmes. A new Advisory Working Group will be appointed during the next CHy plenary, to be held in Koblenz (Germany) in December 1996.

Pierre Hubert

Welcome to FRIEND-NILE

A new UNESCO FRIEND project is born. The launching of the FRIEND-NILE project took place in Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania), 11-13 March 1996. The meeting was attended by representatives of six Nile basin countries (Egypt, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zaire) in addition to the representatives of UNESCO, the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD), Technical Cooperation for Promotion of the Development and Environmental Protection of the Nile basin (TECCONILE), IAHS, ORSTOM, Institute of Hydrology at Wallingford, of the other regional FRIEND projects and of the University of Dar Es Salaam. The project will be coordinated by Prof. R. Kachroo, from the University of Dar Es Salaam, who will also establish a Regional Hydrological Database. For others research themes and the corresponding coordinators have been chosen: Developing Rainfall Runoff Modelling (Dr. Abu Zeid, Egypt, and Prof. Kachroo, Tanzania); Sediment Transport (Dr. Osman El Tom, Sudan); Droughts and Low Flows (Dr. M. Ndege, Kenya); Floods (Dr. Abu Zeid, Egypt). Preparatory work will be done during 1996, the implementation of the project being scheduled from January 1997 to December 1999, within the fifth phase of the UNESCO IHP.

Pierre Hubert

XIth Brazilian Symposium of Water Resources, Recife (Brazil),

5-10 November 1995

This Symposium was organized by the Brazilian Association of Water Resources (ABRH). This association is quite large (more than 1 000 active paid-up members), gathering people from universities, research, administration and from the private sector. Well-attended symposia like that of Recife are organized every two years with numerous communications about hydrology, hydraulics, water resources planning and management. The association also publishes a journal, a bulletin and books. The last president of ABRH, Prof. Carlos E.M. Tucci, who is the head of a prominent research institute (Institute of Hydraulic Research / IPH Instituto de Pesquisas Hidraulicos) located in Porto Allegre, is also the national representative of Brazil with IAHS and is now a member of the IAHS TAP Committee. His successor, Prof. Monica Porto, comes from the S<~a>o Paulo University. As representative of IAHS, I promoted the Rabat Symposium to our Brazilian colleagues, asking for their active participation. They showed a great interest in this event and are willing to host a future Scientific Assembly in Brazil.

Pierre Hubert

Water Resources Assessment and Management Strategies for Latin America and the Caribbean, San Jose,

Costa Rica, 6-11 May 1996

The Conference, supported by the Government of Costa Rica, WMO and the World Bank, was organized into two parts. From 6 to 8 May there were two Workshops: one was organized by WMO on ``Water Resources Assessment: National Perspectives'' in which each country represented described its experience; the other was organized by the World Bank for invited participants on ``Water Resources Strategies.'' During the first part, the participants approved, in each Workshop, the conclusions to be discussed in the second part of the Conference from 8-11 May.

In the WMO section the main themes were:

National reports on water resources;

International reports on water resources;

Water resources management and assessment.

Topics discussed in the Workshop included:

The economic difficulties in supporting, collecting and processing of hydrological data. One of the important points was the difficulty in showing the economic return of data use and the need for a permanent budget. The Brazilian delegation described the law of compensation which uses a tax on energy generation to support hydrological data collection;

The need for an institutional framework for water management. Most countries lack specific legislation for the purpose;

The regional characteristics of water management due to the natural resources, demand and environmental impacts.

In the IDB meeting participants presented some conclusions focussed on the following:

Community participation in the water resources solution;

The integration of environmental aspects and water resources evaluation;

The need for institutional aspects in the water management.

The second part of the Conference was opened by the Costa Rican representative with the statement of Prof. G.O.P. Obasi, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on the subject of the Conference. Prof. Obasi pointed out that ``The goal of this Conference is not to produce resolutions, or statements, or yet another agenda, but an Action Plan based on the capabilities and resources of the national and regional institutions of Latin America and the Caribbean.'' He proposed the following questions be answered by the Conference: ``Do governments have the political will and means to maintain and enhance water resource assessment activities? If not, what needs to be done at the international level to stimulate that political will?''

Sessions in the second part were:

Water resources and their relation to economic challenges of Latin American and Caribbean countries at the beginning of the twenty-first century;

Strategy for integrated water management;

Evaluation of the water resources;

Floods and natural disasters resulting from tropical storms and hurricanes;

Institutional capacity, technical tendency and the development of human potential in the evaluation of water resources;

Strategies and action plan for evaluating and integrating water management;

Development of regional water policies proposal, strategy and action plan for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The final document will be released in the near future and will include proposals on: Water management; Institutional aspects; Complete evaluation of the water resources; Basic information about water resources; Human resources and training; Education for public awareness; Shared water resources; Regional resources.

Carlos E.M. Tucci

International Symposium on Hydrological Research and Water Resources

Management Strategies in Arid and Semi-arid Zones, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, 25-28 September 1995

The Symposium was organized in the framework of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP), Project H-5.2, by the Ministry of Water Resources of Uzbekistan and the Scientific Production Association, SPA-SANIIRI, in collaboration with UNESCO and sponsored by UNEP, IAH, IAHS and ICID.

It was held on the premises of the SPA-SANIIRI Institute. Fifty participants attended--38 from central Asian countries and 12 from other countries. Nineteen papers were presented and examined.

The following four main topics were discussed:

Hydrological processes in arid and semi-arid zones;

Groundwater systems;

Water resources management and their socio-economic efficiency;

Water management strategy in the Aral Sea basin.

At the end of the meeting, the participants agreed on a Recommendation highlighting the role of UNESCO in the development of international cooperation in the field of water resources management and the particular interest for the Aral Sea problems. UNESCO is requested to publish the proceedings of the Symposium while financial support is expected from funding agencies to support research activities in the Aral Sea basin; the creation of an interstate training centre for the Central Asian countries was also suggested.

H. Zebidi

International Symposium on Runoff Computations for Water Projects,

St. Petersburg, Russia,

30 October-3 November 1995

The Symposium was organized by the State Hydrological Institute (Russia), the IHP National Committee of Russia and UNESCO. In the Pre-Symposium Proceedings, 140 abstracts have been published. There were more than 100 participants from 23 countries and 43 oral and 45 poster presentations at the Symposium. All aspects of the state-of-the-art and the perspective of hydrological computations for different kinds of water projects were discussed in four main sections:

Section 1--``Use of Runoff Formation Laws for Hydrological Computations''--was connected with the development of new experimental results and mathematical models of runoff formation and their applications for data synthesis and runoff computations, especially for data-poor situations.

Section 2--``Runoff Computations on the Basis of Long-term Observation Series''--dealt with different aspects of modelling on the basis of long-term series. It included the common methodological problems of hydrological computations in changing conditions, methods for computations of particular runoff characteristic (annual runoff, floods, low-flow, etc.), results of analysis and modelling of time series in different regions.

In Section 3--``Regional Methods for Hydrological Computations''--new, simple and effective methods and computational formulas have been developed for cases of unavailable data which are common under real conditions.

Section 4--``Specific Aspects of Runoff Computations in the Case of Anthropogenic Impact''-- included new methods for assessment and determination of different kinds of human activity impacts, such as dams, reservoirs, land use, urbanization, modern climate warming and ecological aspects, as well as new approaches which have been developed for hydrological computations in

this situation. Dr. Vladimir Lobanov

Workshop on Water-related Problems in Low-lying Coastal Areas, HYDROCOAST '95, Bangkok, Thailand, 13-17 November 1995

HYDROCOAST '95 was conducted in the framework of IHP-IV Project H-2-2--``Hydrology, Water Management and Hazard Reduction in Low-lying Coastal Regions and Deltaic Areas''--in particular with regard to sea-level changes. The IHP/OHP National Committees of Germany and The Netherlands contributed jointly to the project. They organized three Workshops in the period from 1991 to 1995:


Storm surges, river flow and combined effects (STORM '91, Hamburg, Germany, 1991);


Sea-level changes and their consequences for hydrology and water management (SEACHANGE '93,

Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands, 1993);


Water-related problems in low-lying coastal areas (HYDROCOAST '95, Bangkok, Thailand, 1995).

Low-lying coastal areas count among the most intensively used areas in all continents. Of today's world population of approximately six thousand million about 60% live in such low- lying coastal areas. Over the next 100 years the world population is likely to double. Of the 11 billion people living then in the year 2100 it is assumed that 75% will inhabit these low-lying coastal areas. This means there will be an increase from 3.3 billion to 8.25 billion inhabitants, so average population densities, and hence human impacts, will consequently be around 10 times higher in coastal areas than in continental interiors.

Moreover, the coastal areas are not only among the most densely populated regions of the earth, but they are also subject to extraordinarily intensive uses, such as industrial and commercial sites, agriculture, recreation and tourism. The increase in population will be accompanied by intensification of these land uses. The intensive exploitation will result in considerable impacts on the hydrological conditions in the coastal areas. The physical, biological and chemical conditions of estuaries are significantly influenced by river inputs and their load of dissolved and particulate matter. The structural sensitivity of rivers and estuaries gives particular cause for concern. Many shoreline features, deltas and estuaries are inherently unstable, with their status of dynamic equilibrium maintained by both biological and physical processes. Changes in coastal vegetation and, above all, changes in land use in the whole catchment area can all affect the characteristics of the coastline and estuaries. Here, deforestation in the headwater areas of the river basins should be mentioned, since it may modify the runoff behaviour and the transport of sediment downstream. River training, in addition, nearly always accelerates river flows and thus increases erosion.

The main topics of HYDROCOAST '95 were:

Monitoring and mathematical simulation of hydrological events;

Changes in hydrological regimes and determination of littoral processes;

Extreme events and preventive measures;

Operational aspects of combatting adverse effects;

Coastal management;

Impact of climate change;

Specific impacts due to human activities.

The participants of the Workshop drafted recommendations for future activities to promote research and management actions and to increase the awareness of the people responsible for the development of these regions.

The present problems of the sustainable use and development of coastal areas are already critical in many countries. The problems result from the conflict between different human uses of coastal land and near-shore waters, over exploitation of renewable coastal resources, discharge of wastes and effluents to coastal waters, increasing hydrographic stresses, such as storms and sea- level rise, and the rapid growth of coastal population. There is a certain awareness of the negative impact of many local activities, but there are not always alternatives to give people access to a minimum income, especially in less industrialized countries.

Water is such a primary good that often secondary effects (subsidence, sediment starvation, saltwater intrusion) and sometimes even primary effects (major diversion from basin to basin) are ignored initially. A reactive response is a common policy. A change to an active planning approach is requested.

There is an urgent need to increase public and political awareness of the impacts on coastal zones. This communication should be done at the appropriate level and by using appropriate language. One possibility to improve communication would be the involvement of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

In the scope of HYDROCOAST '95 the proceedings, state-of-the-art reports and the final report of all three Workshops have been published.

Karl Hofius

International Symposium on Erosion and Sediment Yield: Global and Regional Perspectives, Exeter, UK, 15-19 July 1996

The Symposium was organized by the International Commission on Continental Erosion through the Department of Geography, University of Exeter.

This highly successful meeting attracted over 120 participants from 37 countries to take part in a five-day Symposium which heard 62 presentations on global and regional sediment yields. The University of Exeter provided a relaxed, aesthetically pleasing and globally warmed environment in which participants were able to focus on the sediment yield problem. Those present were also exposed to around 30 high-quality posters in an afternoon session devoted solely to poster presentations and more lengthy discussion.

The wide geographical spread of participants allowed the audience to appreciate the diversity and range of problems associated with estimating sediment yields in most environments on the surface of the earth and to share their experiences and thoughts about obtaining reliable estimates of particulate fluxes from river basins to the oceans. While the vast majority of delegates concentrated on sediment yield estimates derived from river-based monitoring programmes, J.D. Milliman presented evidence to suggest that records of high magnitude discharges ( j kulhlaups) to the oceans appeared to be well preserved in offshore sediments in the Alsek Sea valley, southwest Alaska. Such records could well provide long-term estimates of the significance of such events in the Holocene sediment yield record.

The apparent relationship between specific sediment yield and catchment area was discussed at length following several presentations which demonstrated the complexity of basin response at different spatial scales and in varying environments. Several delegates demonstrated that an understanding of sediment budgets and sediment sources was critical to understanding, and subsequently managing, the sediment yield of rivers. Perhaps not surprisingly, the impact of human activity on sediment yields was addressed at several scales and the dominance of human impacts over climatic controls at the regional and sub-regional scale was well illustrated in many papers.

Several additional themes were addressed at the meeting. New sources of erosion data at different scales made use of aerial photographic and remotely sensed data, while GIS systems were being used for both data visualization and modelling. While much progress was being made at the meeting, a number of recurrent issues such as scale problems, magnitude and frequency issues and data stationarity still require more detailed analysis.

Not only does the success of a conference depend upon its scientific content, but also upon the quality of its organization. Laurie Olive (ICCE SECRETARY) echoed the sentiments of participants in thanking Des Walling and Bruce Webb at the close of the final discussions for organizing the meeting and for providing a relaxed atmosphere for stimulating debate and discussion.

The proceedings of the Symposium are found in IAHS Publication No. 236 (see IAHS Press article in this Newsletter for further details).

Ian Foster

International Conference on Ecohydrology of High Mountain Areas, Kathmandu, Nepal, 24-28 March 1996, and Regional Workshop on Hydrology of Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region, Kathmandu, Nepal, 23-24 March 1996

The Conference which was inspired by UNESCO IHP-IV Project H-5-6--``Mountain Hydrology''-- was co-organized by UNESCO's IHP and Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programmes, His Majesty's Government of Nepal, Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, the Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the German IHP/OHP National Committee and WMO. Other co-sponsors were the National IHP Committees of Nepal and Slovakia, the Steering Committee of IHP FRIEND Project, IAHS and International Geosphere Biosphere Programme/ Biospheric Aspects of the Hydrological Cycle (IGBP/BAHC).

Main objectives of the Conference were to discuss principal issues concerning the role of water not only as a natural resource, but as a principal component of mountain ecosystems, and to find out the conditions and needs for regional studies in this field. A main aim of the Conference was to bring together specialists working on ecologically sound hydrological and closely related problems with special emphasis on both basic and regional aspects of complex high mountain ecosystems as well.

The Conference themes comprised: regional issues on high mountain ecohydrology; network design and instrumentation, data collection and processing methodology; atmospheric, hydrological and ecological interactions; the role of permafrost, glaciers and snow covers; dynamics and hazards of erosion and sedimentation; ecosystems of high mountain areas and landscape processes. There were 110 extended abstracts submitted to the organizers; these were pre-published in an abstract volume for distribution at the Conference. Altogether 58 papers and 33 posters were presented, with the latter being briefly introduced by the authors in plenary. The Conference was attended by 125 scientists from 23 countries and several international organizations.

As a result, increased coordinated joint effort on both process studies with strengthening of the role of biological sciences, and more specifically process-oriented regional studies in connection with the improvement of regionalization tools (e.g., disaggregation, aggregation of local to regional information) and related scale problems, is needed in order to face scientific challenges induced by environmental change adequately. More meso-scale (model) assessments of ecohydrological issues by including transect studies also were broadly considered a valuable means in this context. The proceedings of the Conference will be published by UNESCO, hopefully still in 1996, and will be available from there. Two one-day field trips during the Conference which led to Jhikhu Khola and Nakhu Khola catchments close to Kathmandu valley contributed to better understanding of the involved relationships between population pressure, food production and environmental pollution, on the one hand, and fragile mountain environments with dynamics and hazards of water-induced erosion and sedimentation on the other.

Several important recommendations came out of the Conference which were compiled and adopted by the participants as the Kathmandu Declaration. With reference to Agenda 21, Chapter 13 on ``Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development,'' a most important suggestion is the establishment of a special item under UNESCO's IHP-V programme considering high-mountain ecohydrology. The Kathmandu Declaration will be published in UNESCO's IHP newsletter, Waterways.

Another suggestion concerns a second ecohydrology Conference on ``Hydrological Processes in Mountainous Catchments Affected by Man and Climate Change'' to be held in 1998-1999 in Switzerland (subject to formal invitation by the host country).

Finally, it was proposed that linkages be established with the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) FRIEND project for promotion of regional data collection, monitoring and analysis, thus demonstrating the interest of the scientific community for dissemination of the FRIEND idea with establishing new regional projects.

HKH FRIEND was launched immediately before the Conference on the occasion of the Regional Workshop on Hydrology of HKH Region. It was one of the conference and workshop planners' intentions to synchronize both events, conference and workshop, in order to allow country delegates from the region to get in contact directly with scientists from several high-mountain areas of the world who are dealing with similar problems in their own country. It was hoped that from such contacts future cooperation might develop.

Out of the working group's eight member countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan) only Bhutan and India seem to abstain from joining the project for the time being. HKH FRIEND's core sub-project on database will be hosted by ICIMOD in Kathmandu. The other four projects which were suggested are: small catchment installation; hydrological regions; rainfall-runoff models; and snow and glacier hydrology. Special attention will be paid to a training component. The Workshop report is being published by ICIMOD, and will be available from there.

Andreas Hermann

First Interceltic Colloquium on Hydrology and Water Management, Rennes, France, 8-11 July 1996

This Colloquium, which was held at INSA, Rennes, reunited 230 participants, mostly from the Celtic region of western Europe (Brittany, Cornwall, Galicia, Ireland, Scotland and Wales), but also from more distant countries (Canada, South Africa and New Zealand).

The Colloquium was held to exchange knowledge, experience and points of view among decision makers, managers and researchers through 47 presented papers, 40 posters and also by technical visits and a round-table discussion.

As a result of the success of this first meeting a provisional Interceltic Committee has decided to organize a second colloquium in two to four years. The proceedings of the Colloquium comprise two volumes of 580 pages in total, with four themes:

the hydrological framework;

the impacts of human activities and management;

the humid zones and coastal environments;

the economic and social dimension of water management.

The cost of the volumes is 350 FF, obtainable from Alain Jigorel, INSA, 20 Av. Des Buttes de Coesmes, 35043 Rennes Cedex, France; fax: +33 99 636705; e-mail: Alain.Jigorel@insa-rennes.fr Alain Jigorel

BACK TO *********************************************************************