ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has developed an early flood warning system, which will help predict floods seven to ten days in advance, officials revealed.

The new system will lessen the devastating effects of floods by predicting accurate amount of rain fall and magnitude of water releases from India, a top official, who wished not to be named disclosed.

Through satellite images, the water level in Indian reservoirs will be monitored on regular basis and in case of any change we would be able to predict that how much water release is expected from across the border, said official who wished not to be named.

He said that under this system, called altimetry, Pakistan will get real time images from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, and will process it. “We have a technical collaboration with the University of Washington, who has access to NASA real time data, so through university we will get real time data of the Indian reservoirs,” official said.

He said that India had been reluctant to share its reservoir situation, and Pakistan could do little whenever India releases access water into Pakistani rivers suddenly.

The official said that the images will be put into Pakistan Meteorological Department’s software and it would give an accurate forecasting. “We will be able to forecast that how much water will come from India in next seven to ten days,” official said, adding that the accuracy level of the forecast would be between 80-90 percent.

He said that likewise, NASA images would also help forecast the rainfall in the country. Pakistan is prone to floods. In 2010, approximately one-fifth of Pakistan’s total land area became under water due to heavy rains and water releases from India. According to official data around 2,000 lost their lives, while 20 million people were affected due to those monsoon floods.

He further revealed that the facility was free of cost and in coming days Pakistan can workout some alternate solution to get real time satellite images, including having its own satellite, which seems to be an ambitious plan, presently.

Pakistan has a dedicated department to forecast floods. Federal Flood Commission was established in 1977 after massive floods of 1973 and 1976.

According to international donors’ estimates, FFC has received Rs 87.8 billion, so far, but despite initiating several projects; little work has actually been done due to ineffective leadership and corruption.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is also helping Pakistan to develop the early flood warning expertise.

Atif Khan

Correspondent,

The Nation Newspaper

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