Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Community-based Early Warning Systems (CBEWS)

Water Level Monitoring and Early Warning System

Involvement of the community in the monitoring and management of early warning systems (EWS) is an effective way to ensure the success of disaster response in a locality. Buklod Tao along with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA)-Effective Flood Control took advantage of citizen participation in the design, monitoring, and management of the EWS. The partnership was able to design a river monitoring system wherein the volunteers observe the water level at the gauging stations during periods of intense rainfall. If the water level reaches a certain level, a group message would be sent to notify the affected communities [1][4].

Climate Adaptation Effectiveness

Buklod Tao developed this project due to frequent flooding in the area. Upon its implementation, there were no reported flood-related casualties. This demonstrates that the established community-based EWS is effective [4].

Climate Hazards

  • Extreme Rainfall
  • Monsoon
  • Rain-Induced Flooding


  • Barangay Banaba, San Mateo, Rizal, Region IV-A (CALABARZON)

Adaptation Sectors

  • Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Urban

CCET Instuments

  • Action Delivery

Target Group based on Vulnerability

Basic Sectors:
  • Businesses
  • Children
  • Formal Labor and Migrant Workers
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Persons with Disabilities
  • Senior Citizens
  • Urban Poor
  • Women
  • Workers in the Informal Sector
  • Youth and Students


Economic / Financial Effectiveness

Based on Nepal’s Karnali River Basin case study, the cumulative value saved due to EWS can amount to PhP49,500 per household. To maintain such benefits, each household only needed to pay an annual fee of about Php33.5 for five years. Monitoring of the costs and benefits suggest that an earlier forecast would lead to increased savings outweighing the costs of the EWS [2].

Technical Feasibility

In order to implement this solution, an installed EWS and water level monitoring stations is required. The whole community would undergo training and seminars to inform them how the EWS functions, what the warning levels are, and what actions to execute with each warning level.

Social Acceptability

The partnership of the LGU and Buklod Tao made the installation of EWS possible. It was widely accepted by the community because it allowed for zero casualties and minimized damages during flooding scenarios. The community was able to establish its own system for each water level warning and was able to help each other intimes of crisis [1].

Environmental Impact

There is no direct environmental impact for this solution.

Other Information

This is ideally implemented in combination with slope stabilization of riverbanks and evacuation measures.

Mitigation co-benefit

There is no direct mitigation co-benefit for this solution.


early warning system, water level monitoring, community based, flooding, community-based EWS


[1] Christian Aid. (2012). Resilient Urban Communities: Stories from the Ketsana Rehabilitation Programme. Quezon City: Christian Aid.
[2] Rai, R., van den Homberg, M., Ghimire, G., and McQuistan, C. (2020). Cost-benefit analysis of flood early warning system in the Karnali River Basin of Nepal. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 47, pp. 1-10.
[3] Smith, P., Brown, S., and Dugar, S. (2017). Community-based early warning systems for flood risk mitigation in Nepal. Natural Hazards Earth Systems Sciences, 17, pp.423–437.
[4] Tanchuling, M.A. (2012). Building a Disaster-Resilient Community: Bgy. Banaba, San Mateo, Rizal. In: MDGF: Compendium of Good Practices on Climate Change Adaptation.