LVGMC will create flood information system and early flood warning system for Lielupe, Venta and Gauja

Publicēts: 16.02.2016

When show and ice is melting, in the territory of Latvia, floods occur every spring. This time is associated with the highest water volume in rivers and flooding of floodplains. For Latvian river catchments spring flood period mostly occur during March and April. Flash floods are mostly influenced by intense and long lasting rainfall, storms, dam breach etc. During spring flood period, local ice blockades can occur, if ice cover develops in winter. The ice blockades in rivers often creates local rapid increase in water level, flooding vast areas in catchments that includes populated areas and infrastructure objects. In recent years especially mayor and devastating floods occurred during spring season in the years 2010 and 2013 (Fig. 1.).

Fig. 1. Floods in Lielupe catchment on 14th of April in year 2013

Possibility of devastating flood recurrence, influenced to start a project in the year 2015 to mitigate negative effect of flood situations. Project was started under the title “Development of Proposal for National Adaptation Strategy, Including Identification of Scientific Data, Measures for Adapting to Changing Climate, Impact and Cost Evaluation”. To create flood information system and early flood warning system for Lielupe, Venta, Gauja and Salaca river catchments, is one of the goals of this project.

In collaboration with the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) there is undergoing work to create hydrological forecast system for the mentioned river catchments called - Water Simulation and Forecast System (WSFS). At this period, using historical observation data, WSFS has been calibrated for Latvian conditions. Actual hydrological and meteorological observations, as well as weather forecasts every day are automatically renewed in WSFS. Results produced by WSFS allow hydrologists more precisely to identify changes in hydrological conditions of Latvian river catchments (Fig. 2).

WSFS in the future will provide variety of options to forecast development of the hydrological situation in a flood period. For rescue services this will allows to plan flood damage control more rationally. Flood early warning system allows to provide forehanded information about changes in hydrological conditions, including information on possible flooding of certain areas of river catchment.

The result of completing flood forecasting system will allow municipalities and State firefight and rescue service to define in state level critical flood levels in territories imperiled by flood. This system will improve response time for rescue services in situations of particular danger and efficiency to plan preventive actions in flood situations. Likewise flood warning system will allow to provide hydrological forecasts to society and publicly available comprehensive information about possible flood risks.

Fig. 2. Water level three month long-term forecast for station Lielupe – Mežotne