Publication: Why do Drought Definitions on Basin Scale make sense?
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Year: 2014 ISBN:
Language: Inglés External Link: ...
Type: Abstract
 
Summary:
Drought research is a well-established field; droughts are seen as a normal part of climate with a recurrent character. But at the same time there is no universal drought definition available. Each drought is unique, in its occurrence, duration and magnitude. Linkages between climatic variables and socioeconomic drivers are complex and difficult to frame, and this situation makes it difficult to develop a precise drought definition. These circumstances make it also unrealistic to develop a universal drought definition. The lack of a common and agreed upon understanding of drought inhibits mitigation measures and the evaluation of drought impacts. There is a common agreement among researchers that this fact is a shortcoming for an improved drought management. To overcome this problem definitions are divided into conceptual and operational ones, and in addition they are classified mainly into four types: meteorological, agricultural, hydrological, and socio-economic. This classification scheme helps to distinguish between occurring impacts and their time frame. Taking in consideration that drought definitions, to be useful for drought management, should reflect regional properties, we propose to develop drought definitions on basin scale, including supply and demand patterns. This idea is derived from the international accepted concept of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM). The IWRM framework is based on river basin scale and has its strength in the inclusion of stakeholder participation to achieve region-specific sustainable water management. The improvement of drought management, together with monitoring and forecast, is an ongoing challenge, in particular against the background of climate change. Due to climate change projections drought events will increase in number and severity, especially in drought prone regions. Benefits of “River Basin Specific Drought Definitions” we can list are: (1) As involved stakeholders share the same understanding they can improve drought management to minimize negative impacts of drought events, (2) Contribution to the bigger emphasis of national drought management plans, (3) Common agreed thresholds, important to determine drought patterns, will be basin specific and hence more precise, as they reflect region specific characteristics.
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