A Watershed, Catchment or River Basin is the geographic area from which water drains to a particular stream,river or body of water.


The hilltops and ridges define the boundaries of a watershed. The watershed includes the ponds, wetlands and streams that store surface waters and is shaped by the fields, hills, valleys and towns which characterize its landscape.


A watershed is also a community of people, plants and animals which rely on rainfall and the storage capability of that watershed to supply their water needs. A change in the watershed affects all our lives. When we cut forests, clear land, dig wells, and build houses, we cause changes in the watershed. Those changes affect the water cycle on our planet.


Remember; any action in the watershed affects the land, the water and ultimately us. We all share the watershed.


It has been identified that there is a need for all pertinent decision-makers, whose decision have impacts on rivers and the natural resources in a river basin, to adopt the river basin perspective in their decision making. For the purpose of effective management of rivers, there must be adequate information which is readily available for the purpose of planning and design, management including regular monitoring of river conditions so that prompt action can be taken whenever necessary.


Traditionally, information are kept in various government agencies; hydrological data in DID, water quality data in DOE, land and landuse data in the Land and Survey, etc. These information are not readily available for use by other agencies. Most of the information are collected, organised and presented according to administrative boundaries. There is a need to have a system that has the capacity to interface with existing information system in various agencies in order to integrate these information on river basin issues and make it easily accessible for use by other agencies.


As such, DID has established a few river basin information system (RBIS). Such a system is useful to support decision making to address the river basin issues in a comprehensive manner. The river basin information that are being gathereed an disseminated through their website are : River quantity and quality, river works, river profiles and catchment informaton which appears as maps.

The adopted approach is that the RBIS is not to take over the data management works of the existing agencies. The primary function is to collate and link the various data and information manged by the various agencies. The various information will then be made available to the participating agencies and some access by the public will be allowed based on some pre-set condition.


The River Information System (RBIS) was developed and maintained by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) on their website ( ) for the purpose of providing accurate and timely information to facilitate decision in integrated river basin management. Being web-based, viewing through the internet is easily accessible and scripting the webpages easily done.

The limitations on this RBIS version are:-
(a) Inability to perform basic Geographical Information System (GIS) functionalities such as viewing of and making queries on the spatial informaton of GIS files. Inability to add additional layers of spatial information
(b) A purely GIS RBIS would require many sets of expensive GIS software and trained GIS personnel to access the infomation and update the information each time.

As part of the State Geospatial initiatives, the DID RBIS was redeveloped to make it a web-based GIS application on the SarawakNet initially at ) making use of existing IT platform equipment to operate and spatial data in the State Geospatial Digital Clearinghouse (SGDC) data server and SAINS map server.
The following are the main categories of information in accordance to their purposes in River Basin Management:
  • General Information
  • River Structure
  • Water Supply Management
  • Watershed Management
  • Hydrological Information
  • Flood Mitigation
  • River Environmental Management
Click the links below for information: