The mosque has come to have added importance in some parts of Bangladesh - giving people advance warning of flooding.
By Ben Sutherland
BBC News Online in Kyoto
Bangladesh's long history of flooding saw the establishment in 1972 of a Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC).
Communication has helped warn Bangladeshis of floods
However, warnings issued from the FFWC often arrive too late - or not
This is due primarily to the widespread poverty in the country, with
relatively few people able to access information put out on television,
radio and the internet, or in the newspapers.
The problem is particularly acute in rural areas, where the warnings are
The FFWC estimates only half of people in rural areas receive their warnings.
But trials using loudspeakers in mosques and at Muslims' five daily prayer meetings to broadcast the latest flood news have seen a massive improvement in communication.
"We found that this worked very well," Akhter Hossain, director of the FFWC, told the third World Water Forum meeting in the Japanese city of Kyoto.
"It makes a lot of difference."
Another advantage, he says, is that broadcasts can be made
in the local dialect, making them much more understandable.
A joint venture between the US (Nasa) and Japanese space agencies is planning to eliminate the need for predictions by delivering up-to-the-minute data from satellites to the whole world.
The system has been given the name The Flying Rain Gauge and is expected to be fully operational by 2011.
"Rather than weather forecasting, we will have real time reports," Yoji
Furuhama, executive director of the Japanese space agency Nasda, told the Third World Water Forum in Kyoto.
"We will be able to report on the weather as it happens."
The system's accuracy is based on the use of radio emitters. They
transfer the data into a system known as Global Precipitation Measurement.
We can send out a flood warning a month before it happens
A rainfall map is then transmitted every three hours.
The map can distinguish between rain and snow, until now the biggest problem with satellite weather forecasting, to present a perfect snapshot of the world's weather.
"There are two ways of using the data," Chris Ishida of Nasa told BBC News Online.
"As well as making forecasting more accurate, it can be used to make a river basin elevation model - a forecast for flooding.
"We can send out a flood warning a month before it happens."
This is not the only hi-tech proposal at the Kyoto conference for a worldwide programme of flood warnings.
The International Flood Network has put forward plans to launch a Global Flood Alert System, which would use observational satellites to collect rainfall information.
The death toll last year in the Czech Republic was less than feared
This would then be collected and broadcast online around the world.
That would bypass one of the major problems with current flood warning systems - the reluctance of countries are often reluctant to share water information with each other.
The floods in the Czech Republic last August were one example of the
effectiveness of early warning.
"Communication is much more effective than five years ago," Vaclav Baka, who
advised the Czech Government on preparations for flooding in Prague, told
He said that lesser flooding in 1997 had left 60 people dead, while only 17
had perished in 2002 - despite the much greater damage caused.
Knowing that the flood was coming had allowed the evacuation of 5,168 people from the capital, Prague, as well as other essential preparations, such as use of
long-arm diggers to support bridges at risk, he said.