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Honduras – Effective and Sustainable Water Resources for Honduras

Hurricane Mitch caused severe flooding that devastated infrastructure and communities throughout Honduras.  The resulting loss of thousands of lives and millions of dollars of property made it very evident that a system was required to adequately warn population during future floods to mitigate damages and save lives.

To develop this system in Honduras, the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) from 1999-2002 conducted a $1.6 million hydrologic monitoring project as part of the U.S. Government’s Hurricane Reconstruction Program (HRP), which resulted in a network of 26 near real-time hydrologic stations which are now operated along with more than 30 other stations by host country counterparts.  Because of a lack of time and funding, extensive training in the operation and maintenance of this network was not possible.

In 2003, the USGS returned to Honduras at the request of USAID with a detailed work plan to provide technical assistance to host country water agencies in the quality-assured operation and maintenance of the Honduras near real-time hydrologic network.  The project provides plans for a more effective and sustainable management of water resources in Honduras.  Specific objectives of the project include:

  1. building 4 new near real-time hydrologic stations;
  2. initiating the publication of an annual water data report for Honduras;
  3. publishing a guide for the operation and maintenance of the near real-time network; and
  4. establishing an appropriate dynamic hydrologic data base for Honduras, capable of receiving, processing, archiving and serving near real-time hydrological data to the Internet.

Along with these tasks extensive in-house informal and formal training workshops and classes were presented to host country agencies and 2 Honduran universities.  The fundamental objectives that will be accomplished in this project provide the following:

  1. Personnel from participating host country agencies with responsibility for the management of water resources for Honduras will be capable of:
  1. operating and maintaining a network of satellite stream gages and rain gages;
  2. collecting and producing high-quality hydrological data; and
  3. interpreting near real-time data received from satellite.
  1. Personnel of the water resources office of the Honduras Natural Resources and Environment Secretariat (SERNA) will be capable of producing high quality hydrological data.
  2. The potential users of SERNA’s hydrological data will be aware of the reliability and equipped with the skills to access and utilize the SERNA database.
  3. Technicians with the Honduras Permanent Commission of Contingencies will be capable of operating, upgrading, and interpreting the RiverTrak hydrologic run-off model installed by NOAA;
  4. Honduras will have improved, accessible, and standardized hydrological data.

USGS Mission Tie In:
This project meets the USGS vision of demonstrated leadership in the natural sciences through scientific excellence and responsiveness to society's needs. It also complements 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.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
Honduras Natural Resources and Environment Secretariat (SERNA)
Honduras National Electric Energy Company (ENEE)
Honduras National Meteorological Service (SMN)
Sula Valley Executive Commission (CEVS)
Honduras Permanent Commission of Contingencies (COPECO)