Natural Hazards

, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 509–527 | Cite as

IFKIS-Hydro: an early warning and information system for floods and debris flows

  • Hans Romang
  • Massimiliano Zappa
  • Nadine Hilker
  • Matthias Gerber
  • François Dufour
  • Valérie Frede
  • Dominique Bérod
  • Matthias Oplatka
  • Christoph Hegg
  • Jakob Rhyner
Original Paper


IFKIS-Hydro is an information and warning system for hydrological hazards in small- and medium-scale catchments. The system collects data such as weather forecasts, precipitation measurements, water level gauges, discharge simulations and local observations of event-specific phenomena. In addition, IFKIS-Hydro incorporates a web-based information platform, which serves as a central hub for the submission and overview of data. Special emphasis is given to local information. This is accomplished particularly by human observers. In medium-scale catchments, discharge forecast models have an increasing importance in providing valuable information. IFKIS-Hydro was developed in several test regions in Switzerland and the first results of its application are available now. The system is constantly extended to additional regions and may become the standard for warning systems in smaller catchments in Switzerland.


Flood warning Early warning Monitoring Information system Debris flows Risk management 



We would like to thank the cantons of Glarus, Valais and Zurich, as well as the Prevention Foundation of the Cantonal Public Building Insurance Companies for initiating and supporting the IFKIS-Hydro project. The work on ensemble flood forecasting profited from research contracts in the framework of COST731 through the Swiss State Secretariat for Education and Research (SBF C05.0105). Simon Jaun (ETH and WSL) is acknowledged for his effort in developing the operational flood forecast system. Thanks go to MeteoSwiss and to the Federal Office for the Environment for the collaboration and valuable discussions. The simulations are based on the data and model results of MeteoSwiss.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Romang
    • 1
  • Massimiliano Zappa
    • 3
  • Nadine Hilker
    • 3
  • Matthias Gerber
    • 2
  • François Dufour
    • 2
  • Valérie Frede
    • 4
  • Dominique Bérod
    • 5
  • Matthias Oplatka
    • 6
  • Christoph Hegg
    • 3
  • Jakob Rhyner
    • 2
  1. 1.Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwissZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLFDavosSwitzerland
  3. 3.Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSLBirmensdorfSwitzerland
  4. 4.Axpo AGBadenSwitzerland
  5. 5.Federal Office for the Environment FOENBerneSwitzerland
  6. 6.Department for Wastes, Water, Energy and Air of Canton ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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