On 18 February 2011, an automatic flood monitoring station sponsored by the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme was opened in Ukraine. The new station, located in the Pripyat river basin, represents a first step towards a modern flood monitoring and forecast system to be installed in Ukraine and Belarus with NATO's support. This system will help the local authorities and the population to prepare for and respond to floods in the region.
The automatic flood monitoring station will collect and send data several times a day to the Volyn Hydrometeorological Center in Lutsk, Ukraine. It will be a great improvement on the current process where measurements taken manually are not frequent or fast enough to give an accurate understanding of the dynamics of this river basin.
The NATO SPS project, "Flood Risk Monitoring and Forecast in the PripyatRiver Basin", complements the efforts of the Environment and Security (ENVSEC) Initiative of which NATO is an associate member. Six international organisations coordinate their environmental activities under ENVSEC (www.envsec.org).
Started in 2010, this two-year project is building the necessary capabilities in Belarus and Ukraine. It is being implemented by the Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute, the Ukrainian Center of Environmental and Water Projects, the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute and the Central Research Institute of Complex Use of Water Resources in Belarus.The estimated total NATO funding for the project is ? 260,000.
The Pripyat river originates in the northwest of Ukraine and flows through Belarus before it enters Ukraine again through the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and the Dniepr river, near Kyiv.
In recent years, the Pripyat River Basin has often suffered from severe floods which have destroyed crops and put the people of Ukraine and Belarus and their property in danger. The radioactive, polluted dredges and nuclear power stations located in the Pripyat river basin pose an additional risk. In view of these security threats, these two affected countries have identified the monitoring, modeling and forecast of floods as a national priority.