This week, we’ll talk about a unique project that can help thousands of farmers in Bangladesh withstand climate change. We introduce you to WATERAPPscale, an upgrade of the WATERAPPS information services — an initiative to help farmers get accurate information about weather services.
Let's start with why WATERAPPscale could be so useful for farmers?
To understand this, we need to know the social and geographical dynamics of Bangladesh.
Rivers are the spirit of Bangladesh. They are the lifeline to communities, and source of fresh water and fertile soil for agricultural production. However, these communities and their lands are challenged by warmer temperatures, intense storms, and rising sea levels. Increasing food demand is adding to the problem.
How can we ensure adequate food supply for the growing population? How can communities reduce their vulnerability to extreme weather conditions and maximise agricultural productivity?
WATERAPPS was started in Khulna as a research project that developed climate information services for the smallholder farmers, who play a key role in the global food supply. In the WATERAPPS research, farmers initiated ‘weather clubs’. These are informal arrangements that bring together scientists, farmers, and agricultural officers. They share information about weather and climate forecasts, and how to better adapt to the changing conditions. The WATERAPPS research was completed in 2021. It has shown that a combination of scientific knowledge and community knowledge leads to tangible results.
The success of WATERAPPS has led to the launch of WATERAPPscale. It is an attempt to upscale WATERAPPS information services throughout Bangladesh. This upgrade has the potential to bring positive changes in the lives of thousands of farmers in Bangladesh with knowledge dissemination.
Let’s talk about water
Each newsletter, a storyteller will join us to talk about water.
This week we introduce you to Uthpal Kumar, a postdoctoral researcher at Wageningen University & Research. He is also involved in the WATERAPPscale project.
What is the first book you read which you still fondly remember?
Agriculture Science Book
What drives you to work on climate information services?
I always find myself as an action researcher who likes to work with the community and bridge between science and society. Therefore, when I was selected to do my PhD research on the topic at WUR, I exactly fulfilled my long-standing dream through my PhD research processes. I organized “Farmers Weather Schools” and trained farmers to access and use weather forecasts using the power of digital technology (i.e. smartphones) and social media that significantly reduce crop damages and disaster risk reduction (DRR).
What’s the most insightful thought you’ve read about water this month?
The dynamics of climate disasters are essentially water-related. Therefore, the country that will invest more in the water management sector will suffer less from climate change impacts and hydro-climatic disasters.
You’re working in a field which is an intersection between science and community. What are you picking up from local citizens?
Farmers are the real heroes of society. However, they are the most deprived group in society.
What’s your one tip (that doesn’t get discussed enough) for young water managers?
Do science for society.
Story of the Week
A new horizon for smallholders in the Bengal delta
An initiative on weather information service sharing in Bangladesh is leading to a positive impact on the farmers, as they are now able to combine scientific knowledge and personal experiences for localised weather prediction.
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