EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The Drought & Flood Mitigation Service in Uganda – First Results

Hermen Westerbeeke1, Deus Bamanya2, and George Gibson3
Hermen Westerbeeke et al.
  • 1RHEA Group, Didcot, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (
  • 2Uganda National Meteorology Authority (UNMA), Kampala, Uganda (
  • 3Met Office, Exceter, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (

Since 2017, the governments of Uganda and the United Kingdom have been taking an innovative approach to mitigating the impacts of drought and floods on Ugandan society in the DFMS Project. Recognising both that the only sustainable solution to this issue is the continued capacity development in Uganda’s National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, and that it will take time for this capacity development to deliver results, the Drought & Flood Mitigation Service Project developed DFMS, bringing together meteorological, hydrological, and Earth observation information products and making these available to decision-makers in Uganda.

After the DFMS Platform was designed and developed in cooperation between a group of UK organisations that includes the Met Office and is led by the REA Group and five Ugandan government agencies including UNMA, led by the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE), 2020 saw the start of a 2.5-year Demonstration Phase in which UNMA, MWE, and the other agencies will trial DFMS and DFMS will be fine-tuned to their needs. We will be presenting the first experiences with DFMS, including how it is being used related to SDG monitoring, and will showcase the platform itself in what we hope will be a very interactive session.

DFMS is a suite of information products and access only requires an Internet-connected device (e.g. PC, laptop, tablet, smart phone). Data and information are provided as maps or in graphs and tables, and several analysis tools allow for bespoke data processing and visualisation. Alarms can be tailored to indicate when observed or forecast parameters exceed user-defined thresholds. DFMS also comes with automatic programmable interfaces allowing it to be integrated with other automatic systems. The DFMS Platform is built using Open Source software, including Open Data Cube technology for storing and analysing Earth Observation data. It extensively uses (free) satellite remote sensing data, but also takes in data gathered in situ. By making the platform scalable and replicable, DFMS can be extended to contain additional features (e.g. related to landslides or crop diseases) or be rolled out in other countries in the region and beyond.

How to cite: Westerbeeke, H., Bamanya, D., and Gibson, G.: The Drought & Flood Mitigation Service in Uganda – First Results, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-17108,, 2020

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  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-17108, Hervé Kerdiles, 05 May 2020

    Nice information platform.

    How much did the UK Space Agency (IPP) invested in this system and how much do you think is needed to run it operationally? Do you expect local cooperatives, sugar companies etc to fund it? 

  • AC1: Comment on EGU2020-17108, Hermen Westerbeeke, 07 May 2020

    Merci pour vos questions, Hervé.  

    Between January 2017 and December 2019, the UK Space Agency invested 4.2 million GBP in the development of DFMS. In addition, it will invest up to 0.6 million GBP to support the demonstration of the operational system to the Government of Uganda up to the end of June 2022. Also see slide 4.

    I’m afraid I cannot share how much it will cost the RHEA Group to run the service, but our agreement with the Government of Uganda is to operate and market DFMS in cooperation with UNMA (the  Ugandan National Meteorological Authority) and offer the service to government users at cost, i.e. without any margin to recuperate the funds RHEA and its partners have invested (2.25 million GBP for RHEA alone).

    Return on investment should indeed come from customers such as Kakira Sugar who would pay a higher price, but also comes in non-financial shape and involves a payback period that definitely will be longer than the 3-4 years that you would normally look for in industry. Also note that the commercial sale of access to DFMS will also financially benefit UNMA.

    In the end, the cost of access to DFMS will be offset by the reduction in losses and expenses and/or increase in revenues that will need to be a multiple of that cost. Our discussions with prospective customers so far have shown there are many good cases to “invest” in DFMS.

    I hope this clarifies matters. If not, don’t hesitate to contact me directly at