Drought Research

Catchment scale drought assessment and management in semi-arid basins

 

National economies worldwide are increasingly threatened by droughts affecting in particular agriculture, hydropower, navigation, forestry, urban water supply, public health and the environment. Recent drought disasters in California, southeast Brazil, central Chile or southeast Australia demonstrate that other well developed regions are not prepared to cope with unusual drought conditions neither. 

Droughts are recurrent events which will continue to compromise sustainable development, in particular as it is expected that droughts will occur more frequently in the future (Prudhomme et al., 2014; Trenberth et al., 2014). The basin-info research group aims at improving catchment scale research on drought assessment and management.  

In order to react timely and adequately to droughts, the involved sectors require relevant information provided by professional information systems. While a lot of focus is given to drought monitoring and developing skills for drought decision support, these approaches still have significant shortcomings. Most of current efforts are concentrating on large scale drought observations (global, national or regional), monitoring precipitation and soil moisture typically based on satellite data. Decision makers, however need hydrological and storage information as well as sector specific water demands and economic impacts at local or river basin scale for comprehensive decision making. Figure 1 illustrates the indicators which are relevant for drought management on catchment scale: 

Bachmair et al. (2015) in their recent European scale study carried out in the scope of the DROUGHT R&SPI project, “Exploring the link between drought indicators and impacts” state that the most appropriate indicators and thresholds they found are highly spatially variable. Thus, current drought monitoring (like the US Drought Monitor or EDO) may not be appropriate and drought indicators and thresholds need to be selected at smaller scales. As drought is closely related with the water cycle the most adequate scale is the catchment (river basin) level. Van Loon and Lahaa (2015) emphasize the key role of storage parameters for drought duration and severity. For instance, springtime and summer water availability depending on winter precipitation and snow melt as well as on the storage in reservoirs and groundwater accumulated during several months or even years is not taken into account in current large-scale drought monitoring. 

The following references provide relevant information on the recent and past drought related research:

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Andreu, J., Solera, A. (2006) Methodology for the analysis of drought mitigation measures in water resource systems, J. Andreu et al. (eds.) Drought Managment and Planning for Water Resources, CRC Taylor & Francis.

Andreu, J., Ferrer-Polo, J., Pérez M. A., Solera, A., Paredes-Arquiola, J. (2013) Drought Planning and Management in the Júcar River Basin, K. Schwabe et al. (eds.) Drought in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions, Springer.

Bachmair, S., Kohn, I., Stahl, K. (2014) Exploring the link between drought indicators and impacts, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., 2, 7583-7620, doi:10.5194/nhessd-2-7583-2014.

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Byun, H. R., Wilhite, D. A. (1999) Objective quantification of drought severity and duration, Journal of Climate 12, 2747–2756.

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European Commission (EC) (2007) Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council, Addressing the challenge of water scarcity and droughts in the European Union, COM 414/2007, European Commission, Brussels.

FAO (2014) FAOSTAT Pakistan country profile, http://faostat.fao.org/CountryProfiles/Country_Profile/Direct.aspx?lang=en&area=165

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Hannaford, J., Lloyd-Hughes, B., Keef, S., Parryand, C., Prudhomme, C. (2011) Examining the large-scale spatial coherence of European drought using regional indicators of precipitation and streamflow deficit, Journal for Hydrological Processes, 25, 1146–1162 (2011), DOI: 10.1002/hyp.7725

Haro, D., Solera, A., Paredes, J., Andreu, J. (2014) Methodology for drought risk assessment in within-year regulated reservoir systems, Application to the Orbigo River system (Spain), Water Resources Management, 28: 3801-3814.

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Hisdal, H., Tallaksen, L. M., Clausen, B., Peters, E., Gustard, A. (2004) Hydrological Drought Characteristics, Tallaksen, L. M., Lanen, H. A. J. van, eds. Hydrological Drought – Processes and Estimation Methods for Streamflow and Groundwater. Developments in Water Science, 48. Amsterdam, Elsevier Science B.V., 139-198.

Hollinger, S. E., Isard, S. A., Welford, M. R. (1993) A new soil moisture drought index for predicting crop yields, Preprints, Eighth Conf. on Applied Climatology, Anaheim, CA, American  Meteorology Soc., 187–190.

Jain, S. K., Agarwal, P. K., Singh, V. P. (2007) The Indus Basin, in Hydrology and Water Resources of India.

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Lutz, A. F., Immerzeel, W. W., Shrestha, A. B., Bierkens, M. F. P. (2014) Consistent increase in High Asia’s runoff due to increasing glacier melt and precipitation, Nat. Clim. Chang., 4, 587–592, doi:10.1038/NCLIMATE2237.

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Prudhomme, C., Giuntoli, I., Robinson, E. L., Clark, D. B., Arnell, N. W., Dankers, R., Fekete, B. M., Franssen, W., Gerten, D., Gosling, S. N., Hagemann, S., Hannah, D. M., Kim, H., Masaki, Y., Satoh, Y., Stacke, T., Wada, Y., Wisser, D. (2014) Hydrological droughts in the 21st century, hotspots and uncertainties from a global multimodel ensemble experiment, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci, 111(9), 3262–3267.

NDMC (2012) Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Maclean Building, Crowmarsh Gifford, Oxfordshire OX10 8BB, UKNDMC, 2012, National Drought Mitigation Center Website, International Early Warning, http://drought.unl.edu/MonitoringTools/InternationalEarlyWarning.aspx (20.07.2012).

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Terink, W., Lutz, A. F., Simons, G. W. H., Immerzeel, W. W., Droogers, P. (2015) SPHY v2.0 : Spatial Processes, Hydrology, Geosci. Model Dev., (under rev.)

Trenberth, K. E., Dai, A., van der Schrier, G., Jones, P. D., Barichivich, J., Briffa, K. R., Sheffield, J. (2014) Global warming and changes in drought, Nature Clim. Change, 4(1), 17–22.

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Van Loon, A. F., Van Lanen, H. A. J. (2012) A process-based typology of hydrological drought, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16(7), 1915–1946, doi:10.5194/hess-16–1915-2012.

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Van Loon, A. F., Laaha, G. (2015) Hydrological drought severity explained by climate and catchment characteristics, Journal of Hydrology, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2014.10.059

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Ward, F. (2014) Economic impacts on irrigated agriculture of water conservation programs in drought, J. Hydrol., 508, 114-127.   

Wilhite, D. A., Sivakumar, M. V. K., Wood, D. A., Svoboda, M. D. (2000) Early Warning Systems for Drought Preparedness and Drought Management, pPoceedings of an Expert Group Meeting held in Lisbon, Portugal, 5-7 September, 2000, Geneva, Switzerland: World Meteorological Organization.

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