The West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adopted Land Use (WASCAL) on Tuesday 8th February 2022, handed over three (3) Automatic Hydrological Sensors to the Ministry of Fisheries Water Resources and National Assembly Matters through the Department of Water Resources.
In its vision of strengthening the infrastructural capacity of its member-countries and closing the hydroclimate data gaps of the region, WASCAL has acquired fifty (50) Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) in 2017 and fifty (50) automatic hydrological sensors (AHS) in 2020, for the benefit of its member countries.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Hon. James F.P Gomez, Minister of Fisheries, Water Resources, and Water Resources welcomed the team from WASCAL while expressing delight on the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed to establish a close collaboration between WASCAL and MoFWR-NAMS.
According to the Fisheries Minister, these additional Hydrological stations located across the country namely in Banjul Wharf, Balingho, and Nianimarou Bolong/Nainija Bolong, will be able to increase the accuracy of their forecast and monitoring which would make the Gambia safer and be well informed
“The importance of providing timely and accurate weather, climate, and hydrological data is critical for all Gambians more so on the farming communities and fisherfolks,” he added.
Also speaking at the event, Lamin Mai Touray, director of the Department of Water Resources, gave a brief introduction on WASCAL, stating that the WASCAL Competence Centre (CoC) is a Regional Scientific Hub for Africa, built for Research and Innovation, Data Management, and Climate & Environmental Services Provision.
“As the research and services department of WASCAL, it conducts research and delivers scientific advisory, climate & environmental services to West African countries in various thematic areas because the delivery of these services requires both spatial and non-spatial data,” he alluded.
According to the Director, this is also an opportunity for WASCAL to establish a transboundary hydrological observations network in the image of the transboundary climate observatory network.
Professor Kehinde Ogunjobi, WASCAL/BMBF, Germany gave an overview of the items donated and handed over.
He explained that before they can achieve valuable research and activities, they need accurate data to use as a guide throughout the process.
“There is a huge gap on the scarcity of data over the region and that is part of the main reasons these automated data have been handed over today to address the situation,” he revealed.
Omar SM Gibba, informed the gathering that WASCAL in 2015 organized a workshop on “Regional Hydro-Climate Observation Network Set-up for member Countries”.
“Where participants highlighted priority activities to be embarked on and such are installation of automatic weather stations, the Rehabilitation/replacement of weather stations, the training of technical staff, historical data rescue, infrastructural improvement, and network densification,” he explained.
Lamin B Dibba, Minister of Environment Climate Change and Natural Resources in his closing remarks stated the importance of Research and data stating that this donated item would not only benefit one sector but different sectors while appealing for the proper utilization of the items donated.
Vessel owners and agents operating in Gambian waters are urged to register their vessels and get certified