As the global population grows and the demand for water increases, it is critical to effectively and sustainably manage our limited water resources. To do so, we need to know where they are, in what quantity and quality, how variable they are, and how they will evolve  in the foreseeable future.

With population growth and climate change increasing the exposure of communities and assets to extreme hydrological events, such as floods and droughts, it is crucial to make early warning information and products available that can help minimize the loss of life and impact on economies. Guided by the Commission on Hydrology, WMO helps strengthen the technical, human and institutional capabilities of its Members to enable them to independently assess their water resources and respond to the threat of floods and drought.

Data Measuring, Monitoring and Management

Hydrological data measuring, monitoring and managementReliable data are at the core of evidence-based policy, decision-making and conflict resolution in water resources management, and form the basis for any model and study in hydrology. WMO helps operationalize the full hydrological data value chain – from data acquisition to knowledge sharing – through cooperation, coordination, innovation, research and development. Through technology transfer and training, WMO enables Members to freely share historical and real-time hydrological observations on its online portal. In addition to setting international standards and guidelines, WMO helps its members improve the quality of their hydrological observations.


Hydrological applicationsFrom a solid foundation of high quality, long-term data, hydrologists produce assessments, outlooks, forecasts and warnings, aided by models, to alert populations of pending extreme events and to inform decision-making on water resources. Hydrological applications are also the basis for planning reservoirs to store water for a variety of uses, including agricultural and industrial activities, domestic requirements, hydroelectric power generation, fisheries, tourism and environmental sustainability. Forecasts and early warnings are vital for communities, countries and regions affected by droughts and floods (including flash floods) as these products can drive proactive decision-making to help minimize the loss of life and economic impact of such hazards. Early warning systems complement preparedness and protective measures being taken to avert flood and drought losses.

Communities of Practice

Communities of PracticeWMO fosters communities of practice to harness expertise, find synergies, share developments and engage with various actors in the water sector, including researchers, practitioners, policymakers and users. Communities of practice cover a wide range of water-related topics, such as database management, stream gauging techniques, droughts and floods.

International Cooperation

International CooperationMany times the source of water resources are from international river basins. Cooperation at regional and global levels is, therefore, important to ensure increased understanding of water availability and for addressing water-related hazards. WMO promotes the regional and global coordination of monitoring and development and use of early warning systems as well as enhanced cooperation in managing water resources in shared basins.