SAPPHIRE Central Asia - Smart & Precise Prognostic Hydrology in Central Asia
The SAPPHIRE Central Asia Project is an initiative developed to address the issues faced by the Central Asian National Hydrometeorological Services in utilizing modern river discharge monitoring technologies. These institutions struggle with processing and operationalizing high-frequency data from an every increasing number of modern gauging stations. This deficiency limits their ability to optimally benefit from international investment and effectively manage hydrometeorological risks and water allocation.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) was approached for assistance, leading to the creation of the SAPPHIRE project(Smart & Precise Prognostic Hydrology for Innovative Risk Management and Resource Use Efficiency in Central Asia). It aims to upgrade the quality of the Central Asian National Hydrometeorological Services (CA NMHS) services, by digitally processing and synthesizing data for hydrological bulletins, operational journals, and warnings, and by using these data in conjunction with numerical weather prediction data for improved hydrological forecasting (Figure 1).
The 4-year project will be initiated in collaboration with 4 partner CA NMHS. They will co-design, implement, and test a novel digital operational hydrology workflow. The project's implementation will be guided by key lessons from the previously successful Water Accounting and Accountability in the Chu-Talas River basin project.
The Kyrgyz NMHS will be the leading institution for co-design, implementation, and testing, focusing on three main project components: the iEasyHydro HF Operational Hydrology Block, the iEasyHydro HF Digital Data Gateway, and the Ecosystem of Forecasting Models (Figure 2). Once the tools prove successful in the champion institution, they will be operationalized in the Kazakh, Uzbek, Tajik, and possibly also the Turkmen NMHS.
The project also fosters inter-institutional cooperation and the formation of a community of practice through annual forecasting retreats and project meetings, reinforcing the relationship between meteorology and hydrology domains.
hydrosolutions GmbH is implementing the project from 2023 - 2026, leading several partners with a proven track record in the region. The project will also strive for collaboration with related donor-supported initiatives to ensure the identification and exploitation of cross-project synergistic work.