Content manager: Lázár Ildikó, közalkalmazott

Hydrographical activity

2015. február 24., kedd 14:28

Hydrographical Activities

Hydrography is about understanding and forecasting the qualitative and quantitative features – status and change – of surface and inland water in natural and socio-economic processes. Its scope of activities covers observation, measurements, collection of data, storing or conveying and then processing, comprehensive evaluation, and publishing the data, as well as forecasting the features of waters.

The natural geographic features of Hungary make the hydrographical operations a priority. The century-long experiences in water management prove the importance of organized hydrographical work.

At the moment, the 8000 stations in Hungary are operated, maintained, modernized and developed by 12 regional Directorates of Water Management, directed by the General Directorate of Water Management (OVF). The hydrographical work is done by 150 full time employees and hundreds of people working part-time or with a mandate service contract.

The History of Hydrography

Hydrographical work in Hungary began in 1886 with Jozsef Pech leading the Hydrographical Department of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport. It served with the hydrographic data necessary for water management planning with extensive scientific merits. The work started up with fixing the zero-points of water level gauge stations, as well as rectification and expansion of the control point system. The Department deployed the system of water and rain gauge stations, organized the flood forecasting and warning service in 1889 to 1902 and the publication of daily water regime maps in 1893 to 1895 which were later also taken over by the Commission Internationale du Danube and the neighbouring countries. Records of the riverbeds were kept and the discharge of water flow (1887) and alluvium (1991) of the rivers were measured. The first printed materials on hydrology were issued in 1887 with data of Hungarian lakes and rivers. In the 1920s, more extensive observations of inland water level began, and the installation of a national inland water observation system started in 1934. The Department operated as a hydrography research institute with limited responsibilities under the surveillance of the Ministry of Agriculture from 1928 to 1948. It expanded in 1930 with a planning team that was later (1937) reorganized as a National Irrigation Office. After several further rearrangements, it became one department of a successor organization VITUKI Hungary Ltd (Hydrology Scientific Research Institute) which had a wider range of functions.

Hydrological work became a strongly independent field of expertise after the decentralization that began in 1975. In the late 80s, it opened to informatics which put hydrology in a leading position of application development, and its database is still the backbone of the hydrology information system in Hungary today.

Hydrographical Service

The main purpose of the Hydrographical Service work is to continuously observe the hydrological circle (i.e. the water circle on Earth), to follow up and analyze (also possibly to model) the processes within, to draw conclusions and, based on those, to make forecasts, as to provide the Hungarian society with information on water supplies, as well as for tasks to reduce water damages, according to demands of several water professions (water control, water management, etc.), directly in some cases, (e.g. publishing through the Internet or media).

As to analyze a mechanism, it is usually advisable to break it down to quantifiable elements so they can be handled by several mathematical methods. The hydrological cycle (evaporation, precipitation, water drainage and infiltration) is influenced by many factors. Some of them are measurable, others can be estimated, and there are many that we have no information about (not even their existence or their influence on the process); the effect of these last ones is called accidental. Because of these above, it is advisable to separate hydrographical work into the task fields as follows:

  • needs assessment: selecting the parameters to observe, analysis of their correlations, making instruction guides,
  • observation: measurement, estimation, (quantifying the observed parameters),
  • data processing (checking, correcting, complementing the data, checking timelines, checking different interrelations of data)
  • data analysis (forecasting, modeling, reports, issuing information),
  • coordination, control and management of these

The Purpose of Hydrological Service

Producing available information on natural waters is in the interest of the Hungarian national economy, given from the geographical situation of Hungary. As for the surface waters, it is because their changes are almost wholly dependent on events outside of the country, therefore, they cannot be influenced from within, and as a consequence of that, they may go to extremes, burdening the Hungarian economy with sometimes too much, or too little quantity of water.  On the other hand, as for the inland waters, it is because, even though Hungary is provided with larger recourses compared to the neighboring countries, it is more difficult and more expensive to access them, also they take longer time to regenerate and, as a consequence of that, their availability is also more limited, and they need more excessive protection and care.

Collecting and processing data on water resources has hundreds of years of history in Hungary. The work that had been started by the predecessors was further developed by VITUKI in the 1950s and then, from the 70s, hydrographic units in the Directorates of Water Management took over, with the professional support of VITUKI. These hydrographic units were combined into the Hungarian Hydrographic Service, with a staff of up to 150 today. Hydrographic work is complicated, typically demanding skills of several different professions. They include semi-skilled field work and several mechanical, electromechanical, geodesy, measuring technique skills, as well as data processing or the respective information technology skills, let alone high level of hydrological, hydraulic and mathematical expertise for the data processing and forecasting. And the list is far from being complete. That is why hydrography demands much greater support and recognition from highest leading circles than given it in the last decades. It needs to be recognized that hydrography is the database of water management and the motive force of water management activities. According to the experiences of already more than 100 years, hydrographic work can only be well done if thinking in a time scale of many years.

Last modifying: 2016. augusztus 15., hétfő 12:58