National Center for Hydrology and Meteorology

About NCHM

The National Center for Hydrology and Meteorology (NCHM) is an autonomous scientific and technical organization of the Royal Government of Bhutan responsible for understanding the behaviours of atmosphere, its interaction with cryosphere and water bodies, the weather and climate and distribution of country’s water resources. It is the nodal agency responsible for generation of information and delivery of products and services on weather, climate, cryosphere and water resources in Bhutan. The Centre was established in January 2016 as per the recommendation of the Organization Development (OD) exercises carried out by the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) in August 2014 to provide scientific and technical information and services related to weather, climate, cryosphere, meteorology, hydrology and water resources for line agencies and public, The recommendation for the creation of National Center of hydro-met by reorganizing the erstwhile the Department of Hydro-met Services (DHMS) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs was approval by the Cabinet during its 92nd Lhyengye Zhungtsog (LZ) Meeting held on 11th December 2015. The Center was formally delinked from the Ministry of Economic Affairs vide letter no. MoEA/SEC/HRD/2017/06 dated January 24, 2017 with effect from 1 February 2017.

The Center is the designated national focal point of international scientific organization like World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC).

Brief History for Institution development of Hydro-met in Bhutan

Chronology of organizational development of hydrology and meteorology services in Bhutan.



Prior 1990

Hydro-met data collection were done by respective line agencies based on their own need in a piecemeal basis through projects implemented by the respective agencies.

Department of Agriculture was responsible for collection of meteorological data for agriculture and other RNR uses;

Hydro-met Unit (Program funded by GoI) under the Department of Telecom was responsible from collection of river level and rainfall data for providing flood warning information to the Indian States of Assam and West Bengal.


Hydrology Unit and Meteorology Unit were established under the Department of Power (DoP), Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) to collect hydrological and meteorological data.a
Under the Bhutan Power System Master Plan (PSMP) study, hydrological and meteorological network were designed and established covering whole Bhutan;
Meteorology functions from Department of Agriculture was transferred to DoP, MTI along with instrument and manpower.


As a part of restructuring the energy sector and unbundling of the Department of Power (DOP), MTI the following agencies were created:

  1. Department of Energy, DoE (Policy and Coordination),
  2. Bhutan Power Corporation, BPC (transmission and distribution functions),
  3. Druk Green Power Corporation, DGPC, (generation functions) and
  4. Bhutan Electricity Authority, BEA (as regulator).

Therein the Hydro-met Services Division (HMSD) was one of the divisions created under the Department of Energy (DoE) with three sections, viz.: Hydrology, Meteorology and Flood Warning Section.


When Department of Telecom (DoT) was corporatized in 2002, the Hydro-met Unit with its observational network, functions and manpower were handed over the DoE.

Hydro-met Unit was renamed as the Flood Warning Section under the HMSD, DoE.


As per the decision of 67th Session of Lhyengye Zhungtsog (LZ) held on 30th March 2010 the Department of Energy (DoE) was restructured into three new departments, viz.: Department of Hydropower and Power Systems (DHPS), Department of Renewable Energy (DRE) and Department of Hydro-met Services (DHMS).
Department of Hydro-met Services (DHMS) operated with four functional divisions: Planning Coordination and Research Division (PCRD), Hydrology Division (HD), Meteorology Division (MD) and Snow and Glacier Division (SGD).


As per the recommendation of the Organization Development) Exercises (ODE)carried out by the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC), the Cabinet during its 92ndLhyengyeZhungtsog (LZ) Meeting held on 11th December 2015 approved the establishment of National Center for Hydrology and Meteorology (NCHM) from erstwhile Department of Hydro-met Services, MoEA. The Center was formally established in September, 2016 and was delinked from the Ministry of Economic Affairs in January 2017.
Some of the mandates and functions from other agency were also handed over to the Center to streamline and avoid duplication during the process of institutional reorganization.

  1. Glaciology Division was handed over from Department of Geology and Mines (DGM), MoEA to NCHM
  2. Aviation Met Services from Department of Air Transport (DoAT), MoIC to the Center.


The NCHM Logo

The logo symbolises harmony and seamless unity of earth, atmosphere, hydrology and sun which is related to the core mandates of the NCHM.
The Cloud is the major component in the hydrological cycle and is showcased here in the shape of a Parasol/Dhug or umbrella to signify auspiciousness in protecting the nation from natural disasters induced by unexpected flood, GLOF and severe weather.

The Water is depicted in the form of a lake, stream and river. It springs forth from the snow-capped mountain and runs through the valley. These depictions illustrate the importance of water resources in sustaining life on earth and is closely linked to the mandate of NCHM. The symbolism also has anchorage in Buddhist tradition of the stream as one of the six symbols of long life (Tshering-drug-kor/Tshering-nam-drug) indicating the importance of water to all forms of life.

The Blue sky signifies purity and healing in Buddhist tradition and herein represents air element or atmosphere which is at the core of NCHM’s functions.

The Sun which is the primary source of energy and life on Earth is depicted to illustrate its underpinning influence on hydrological cycle and meteorological phenomena. In addition, it also signifies the noble aspiration of NCHM to consistently serve the society like the eternal and magnificent rays of the sun.

The Rain droplets signifies the interdependence, interconnectedness and interactions of earth, water and atmosphere which is the essence of meteorology and hydrological science.

The Snow-capped Mountain range embodies the water tower of the river basin in Bhutan. The peaks are the replica of the Table mountain also known as Gangchen Singye of Bhutan.