Snow Melt Monitoring for Flood Forecasting

Snow-melt in Himalayas in the Northern Pakistan is the main source of water for agriculture in the irrigated plains of Sindh, Punjab and KPK provinces. Sudden flood disasters due to heavy rains in these areas creates a huge risk for loss of human lives and wreaks havoc for the infrastructure. Such events are often a result of intense warm rainfall caused by the melting of heavy snow. The smart meter for early detection of hydrological events such as flash floods and droughts has been developed by the Centre for Water Informatics & Technology (WIT), based at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Lahore Pakistan.

This indigenously developed instrument has been deployed to measure hydrological parameters like snowfall, snow melt-rate, rainfall, temperature, humidity and the resulting water level of the stream of a small catchment having an area of 41 sq. km in real time near Gabin Jabba Swat. The altitude range of the catchment is 6800-13100 feet. A sensor capable of monitoring hydrological parameters (snow depth, rain, temperature etc.) is installed at 9400 feet altitude and another at an altitude of 6800 feet (stream flow and hydrological parameters).

Such in-situ sensors in the Himalayan regions can help generate alerts for the local communities in case of flash floods or droughts and thus help in controlling its effects and aftermath. It will also help in limiting risks of harm to human life, the flora & fauna and the infrastructure.