Union Government collaborates with Google for flood forecasting

The Central Water Commission (CWC), India’s apex technical organisation in the field of Water Resources, on June 18, 2018 signed a Collaboration Agreement with Google for flood forecasting.

Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari has expressed that collaboration with Google will help in effective flood management in India.

Agreement between Central Water Commission and Google

CWC would use up to date technology of Google in the field of Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and geo spatial mapping for effective management of water resources particularly in the field of flood forecasting.

The agreement involves dissemination of flood related information to the people using the dissemination platforms developed by Google.

This agreement will help crisis management agencies to deal extreme hydrological events in a better manner.

Under collaborative arrangement, Google will use high resolution Digital Elevation Model and vast computational resources and Artificial Intelligence to generate flood inundation maps utilising the input provided by CWC.

The information would be disseminated with a lead time of up to 3 days.

For the flood season of 2018, flood forecasting would be done on trial basis and the same would be scaled up in near future.

CWC and Google will share technical expertise to collaborate on:

(i)  Improving flood prediction systems, which will help provide location-targeted, actionable flood warnings

(ii) High priority research project utilising ‘Google Earth’ engine to help visualise and improve flood management

(iii) A cultural project to build online exhibitions on the rivers of India.


Till 2016, CWC was disseminating flood levels with maximum lead time of one day.

During the flood season of 2017, CWC resorted to rainfall based modelling and issued flood advisories on trial basis with 3 days lead time.


  • The collaboration between the Government and Google on flood forecasting is expected to meet the much awaited demand of the inhabitants of the flood prone areas for inundation warnings with sufficient lead time.
  • It will result in saving crore of rupees which otherwise would have to be spent by the government  on acquiring high resolution Digital Elevation Model, high end computational resources and developing dissemination platforms widely used by the people. 
  • It will enable the Government as well as disaster management organisations to identify, in advance, the locations and population which are at risk from floods and require warnings and information.
  • This collaborative initiative is expected to be a milestone in flood management and in mitigating the flood losses.

National Hydrology Project

The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation had earlier launched an ambitious programme ‘National Hydrology Project’ (NHP) during the year 2016-17.

NHP is a World Bank assisted central sector scheme with pan India coverage that was launched with an aim to improve the extent, quality and accessibility of water resources information, decision support system for floods.

It was also aimed at strengthening the capacity of targeted water resources professionals and management institutions in India.


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