Pacific Hydrological Cycle Observing System (Pacific HYCOS)

Sub-regional Level

Pacific Hydrological Cycle Observing System (Pacific HYCOS)


09 March 2012


Rural and Urban


Capacity BuildingResearch and Development


Water Resources Management


USD 1,000,001 - USD 5,000,000



Fiji Meteorological Service; New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA); World Meteorological Organization (WMO)


World Meteorological Organization (WMO), WHYCOS Programme; Fiji Meteorological Service; National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research; National Hydrological Services; National Meteorological Service (NMS)

Supporters / Donors

European Union (EU)

Description of Intervention

Pacific HYCOS will focus on the following six main objectives:
1. Water resources assessment in major rivers
2. Groundwater monitoring and assessment
3. Water quality monitoring and assessment
4. Water resources databases
5. Flood forecasting capability
6. Drought forecasting

Problems to be Addressed

Niue cannot continue to depend entirely on its underground water lens as the only source of fresh water; with the planned increase in economic development activities, and must vigorously pursue rainwater harvesting as a supplementary source. Rainwater harvesting at the village level and at household level, can provide a good backup. There should be reserve tanks, with the capacity not only to cater during disasters and power failures, but for daily use as well. The increase in land surface activities may compromise the quality of the water lens. A study carried out by SOPAC on coastal water quality in 2003, was initiated due to fish poisoning outbreaks and fish deaths. The study confirmed a high nitrate and phosphate concentration believed to be caused by inadequate wastewater treatment primarily from septic tanks draining into the groundwater regime. The survey highlights the vulnerability of Niue’s water resources to any land surface activities and the close link between land and catchments activities and coastal zone impacts. The whole island depends on water pumped from the underground lens. Currently, the domestic use of 80% of the water pumped from underground is a priority followed by agriculture, and industry. With the expected growth in tourist accommodation, agriculture and fishing industries, the level of different uses will progressively change.


This project focuses on several core activities to be carried out, including flood forecasting, water resources assessment in major rivers, water resources databases, drought forecasting, groundwater monitoring and assessment, and water quality monitoring and assessment.


The ultimate objective of the WHYCOS programme was to “promote and facilitate the collection, exchange, dissemination and use of water-related information, using modern information technologies”.

How It Fits into the EbA Concept

Water Statistics Average Rainfall: 2,180 mm per annum Water Supply System No surface runoff in the form of streams, rivers and lakes. Water for residential and commercial consumption can only be drawn from the underground water lens supplemented by the collection of rainwater at the village and household level. Status of Water Resources In 2003, approximately 85% of water pumped from the underground lens was used for domestic purposes, 10% for agricultural use and 5% for commercial and industrial usage. 2006 figures (provided by the Water Division, PWD) showed 80% for domestic use, 15% for agricultural use, and 5% for commercial and industrial use, thus demonstrating an increase in the use of water for agricultural purposes.

Results / Outputs

Project components:
• Flood forecasting capability : to develop and implement a methodology for flood forecasting in selected critical catchments;
• Water resources assessment in major rivers: countries with significant surface water resources have in place a network of near-real time hydrological observing stations and the capability to securely archive incoming data;
• Water resources databases: countries have secure national hydrological databases, meet data quality standards, and have the capability to maintain them and generate information products to meet users’ needs;
• Drought forecasting: to develop and implement a common approach to drought forecasting in participating countries;
• Groundwater monitoring and assessment: to establish in countries a basic capability for monitoring and assessment of groundwater resources;
• Water quality monitoring and assessment: to establish a capability for monitoring and assessment of water quality and chemistry; and
• Project management.

Lessons Learned

Water resources available in small island developing states are vulnerable to climate extremes and population pressures. Pacific island countries have limited alternate options and only relatively small and finite water resources to meet increasing demand. Knowledge on how rivers, aquifers and rainwater harvesting respond to increased demands and climate variability is crucial to ensuring sustainable and productive water resources.

Upscaling / Outreach Activities


Contact Details

Lloyd Smith



Annick Villarosa


Relevent Publications