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Botswana - Village Flood Watch

The Village Flood Watch project, which was completed in 2002, was designed to help establish an early-warning system for potential flooding events by adding or upgrading six gauging stations to near real-time capabilities and providing training on hydrologic runoff modeling. 

In early 2000 many parts of the Southern African Region experienced devastating floods. Rainfall accumulations in Botswana during February 2000, for example, were reported to have been greater than 1000 millimeters (more than 39 inches) in one storm event, more than twice the annual average rainfall. Many lives were lost, tens of thousands of people were displaced from homes, and over 1 billion Botswana Pula (about $285,000,000) of damage was reported. Following these events, multiple agencies initiated a variety of disaster relief programs. Among others, USAID asked the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to design and implement a Village Flood Watch Project. 

A detailed work plan that supported the Botswana National Disaster Management Office was prepared. The Department of Water Affairs and the Department of Meteorological Services both have very good and extensive data collection networks, so the USGS chose only to modernize some equipment, fill in a few data gaps, and provide some training to help the local agencies analyze their data. The specific goals of this project were (1) to improve the early flood warning system in Botswana by establishing a pilot, near real-time hydrologic network, and (2) provide training on hydrologic runoff modeling to local water-related agencies. The project focused only on the Limpopo River Basin. The project specific objectives were: 

  1. Build three new and upgrade three key hydrological monitoring stations, all with near real-time capability. 
  2. Provide two new all-weather meteorological stations. 
  3. Document critical floods that occurred in 1995 and 2000 by indirectly computing peak discharges using open-channel hydraulic methods. 
  4. Provide local scientists with the training needed to develop hydrological runoff modeling capabilities. 
  5. Provide hydrologists and meteorologists within the Departments of Water Affairs and Meteorological Services with training and equipment for the successful operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of the electronic hydrological and meteorological equipment used in their hydrological and meteorological networks.


USGS Mission Tie In:
This project met the USGS vision of demonstrated leadership in the natural sciences through scientific excellence and responsiveness to society's needs. It also complemented the stated USGS mission of minimizing loss of life and property from natural disasters. The project was requested and fully funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Locations: Limpopo River Basin in southeast Botswana.Web Sites:None created 


U.S. Agency for International Development 
Botswana Department of Water Affairs 
Botswana Department of Meteorological Services
Botswana National Management Disaster Office