363.34'9297—dc22 2004061861

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To Myra, Addison, Shannon, Suzanne, Benjamin, and my grandson, Gabriel


PART I Overview

Chapter 1 Drought as Hazard: Understanding the Natural and Social Context

Donald A. Wilhite and Margie Buchanan-Smith

PART II Drought and Water Management: The Role of Science and Technology

Chapter 2 The Challenge of Climate Prediction in Mitigating Drought Impacts 33

Neville Nicholls, Michael J. Coughlan, and Karl Monnik

Chapter 3 Drought Monitoring: New Tools for the 21st Century 53

Michael J. Hayes, Mark Svoboda, Douglas Le Comte, Kelly T. Redmond, and Phil Pasteris

Chapter 4 Drought Indicators and Triggers 71

Anne C. Steinemann, Michael J. Hayes, and Luiz F. N. Cavalcanti

Chapter 5 Drought Preparedness Planning: Building

Institutional Capacity 93

Donald A. Wilhite, Michael J. Hayes, and Cody L. Knutson

Chapter 6 National Drought Policy: Lessons Learned from

Australia, South Africa, and the United States 137

Donald A. Wilhite, Linda Botterill, and Karl Monnik

Chapter 7 Managing Demand: Water Conservation as a

Drought Mitigation Tool 173

Amy Vickers

Chapter 8 The Role of Water Harvesting and Supplemental Irrigation in Coping with Water Scarcity and Drought in the Dry Areas 191

Theib Y. Oweis

Chapter 9 Drought, Climate Change, and Vulnerability: The Role of Science and Technology in a Multi-Scale, Multi-Stressor World 215

Colin Polsky and David W. Cash

PART III Case Studies in Drought and Water Management: The Role of Science and Technology

Chapter 10 The Hardest Working River: Drought and Critical Water Problems in the Colorado River Basin 249

Roger S. Pulwarty, Katherine L. Jacobs, and Randall M. Dole

Chapter 11 Drought Risk Management in Canada-U.S.

Transboundary Watersheds: Now and in the Future 287

Grace Koshida, Marianne Alden, Stewart J. Cohen,

Robert A. Halliday, Linda D. Mortsch, Virginia Wittrock, and Abdel R. Maarouf

Chapter 12 Drought and Water Management: Can China

Meet Future Demand? 319

Zhang Hai Lun, Ke Li Dan, and Zhang Shi Fa

Chapter 13 A Role for Streamflow Forecasting in Managing Risk Associated with Drought and Other Water Crises 345

Susan Cuddy, Rebecca Letcher, Francis H. S. Chiew,

Blaire E. Nancarrow, and Tony Jakeman

Chapter 14 Droughts and Water Stress Situations in Spain 367

Manuel Menéndez Prieto

PART IV Integration and Conclusions

Chapter 15 Drought and Water Crises: Lessons Learned and the Road Ahead 389

Donald A. Wilhite and Roger S. Pulwarty

Index 399

Editor's Preface

When I began my professional career at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1979, I intended to direct my research and outreach program at the emerging field of climate impact science. It was fortuitous that a large portion of the United States, including the Great Plains, Upper Midwest, and Pacific Northwest, had recently come out of an intense but somewhat short-lived drought during 1976-1977. This drought spawned a research-oriented workshop held at the University of Nebraska in 1979 that focused on drought impacts and the development of agricultural drought strategies for that area and similar regions. I was given the opportunity to work with the project team to design the workshop content and develop pre-workshop materials. Although I had focused my graduate studies on climate variability and the climatology of drought, my intent was for drought to be only one of several climate-related subject areas I would address in my career. The workshop led to two follow-up drought projects directed at an evaluation of governmental drought response policies.

Twenty-five years later, I am still researching and writing about drought. There must be something fascinating about this subject to capture my imagination for the past quarter century. As I became more engaged in the subject, both as a climate scientist and a geographer, I became more and more intrigued by its complexity and the challenges of detecting, responding to, and preparing for this "natural" hazard. Why was drought such a poorly understood concept? What was the role of the science community in addressing this issue? Why were governments so poorly prepared for drought? Why were governmental policies for dealing with drought nonexistent? From both a scientific and a policy perspective, we have made considerable progress in addressing many of the issues associated with improving how society manages drought. Much remains to be done, however; especially with drought's interconnections to issues of integrated water management, sustainable development, climate change, water scarcity, environmental degradation, transboundary water conflicts, population growth, and poverty, to name just a few.

Drought and Water Crises: Science, Technology, and Management Issues is an attempt to explain the complexities of drought and the role of science, technology, and management in resolving many of the perplexing issues associated with drought management and the world's expanding water crises. Tremendous advances have been made in the past decade in our ability to monitor and detect drought and communicate this information to decision makers at all levels. Why are decision makers not fully using this information for risk mitigation? Better planning and mitigation tools are also available today to help governments and other groups develop drought mitigation plans. How can we make these methodologies more readily available and adaptable? In the agricultural and urban sectors, new water-conserving technologies are being applied that allow more efficient use of water. How can we promote more widespread adoption of these technologies and their use during non-drought periods? Progress is being made on improving the reliability of seasonal drought forecasts to better serve decision makers in the management of water and other natural resources. How can these seasonal forecasts be made more reliable and expressed in ways to better meet the needs of end users? These and other questions are addressed by the contributors to this volume. The information herein will better equip the reader with the knowledge necessary to take action to reduce societal vulnerability to drought.

In the past, most regions possessed a buffer in their water supply so periods of drought were not necessarily associated with water shortages, although impacts were often quite severe. The crisis management approach to drought management, although ineffective in reducing societal vulnerability, allowed societies to muddle through to the next drought episode. That buffer no longer exists for most locations. Water shortages are widespread in both developing and developed countries and in more humid as well as arid climates—even in years with relatively normal precipitation. Drought only serves to exacerbate these water shortages and conflicts between users. Droughts of lesser magnitude are also resulting in greater impacts—a clear sign that more people and sectors are at greater risk today than in the past. When societies are faced with a long-term drought, such as has been occurring in the western United States over the past 6 years, governments are desperate to identify longer term solutions. Unfortunately, this interest often quickly wanes when precipitation returns to normal—a return to the "hydro-illogical" mentality.

All drought-prone nations should adopt a more risk-based, proactive policy for drought management. To make progress, we must first recognize that drought has both a natural and a social dimension. Second, we must involve natural, biological, and social scientists in the formulation and implementation of drought preparedness plans and policies. This book collates considerable information from diverse disciplines with the goal of furthering drought preparedness planning and reducing societal vulnerability to drought.


Marianne Alden is a researcher with the Adaptation and Impacts Group, Meteorological Service of Canada, Environment Canada, in Waterloo, Ontario. Her research interests include surface water management and policy, climate change impacts on water quality and quantity, and phenology.

Linda Botterill is a postdoctoral fellow at the National Europe Centre at the Australian National University in Canberra. Her research interest is agricultural policy in Australia and the European Union, with a focus on the policy development process in developed economies. She has a particular interest in drought policy and rural adjustment.

Margie Buchanan-Smith has worked for many years in the humanitarian aid sector. Her experience ranges from policy research to operational management, from drought and natural disasters to war and violent conflict. She was a research fellow at the Overseas Development Institute in London and at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. She was also head of ActionAid's Emergencies Unit between 1995 and 1998. She now works freelance.

David W. Cash is the Director of Air Policy in the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. Before this position associate at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and a Lecturer in Environmental Science and Public Policy. He received a Ph.D. in Public Policy at Harvard with his dissertatio and post-graduate research focusing on water management in the U.S. Great Plains.

Luiz F. N. Cavalcanti received his master's degree in city and regional planning from Georgia Tech and degrees in civil and environmental engineering from Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. His interests focus on drought management and preparedness. He helped to develop the indicators and triggers for Georgia's first drought plan and conducted a nationwide evaluation of U.S. state drought plans.

Francis H. S. Chiew is an associate professor in environmental engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. Dr. Chiew has more than 15 years experience in research, teaching, and consulting in hydrology and water resources and related disciplines. He is currently a program leader (climate variability) in the Cooperative Research Centre for Catchment Hydrology. His interests include hydroclimatology, hydrological modeling, and urban storm-water quality.

Stewart J. Cohen is a scientist with the Adaptation and Impacts Research Group of the Meteorological Service of Canada in Environment Canada and an adjunct professor with the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia. He has more than 20 years research experience in climate change impacts and adaptation and has organized case studies throughout Canada. He has contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and served as an adviser and lecturer for impacts and adaptation research and training programs in China, Europe, and the United States, as well as the United Nations Environment Programme.

Michael J. Coughlan is head of the National Climate Centre in the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. He has worked on several national and international programs dealing with drought and other aspects of climate variability and change; he has also occupied positions within the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the World Climate Research Programme, and the World Meteorological Organization.

Susan Cuddy is a researcher within the Integrated Catchment Assessment and Management (iCAM) Centre at The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, and in the Integrated Catchment Management directorate at CSIRO Land and Water, Canberra, Australia. She has been involved in the development and design of environmental software to support natural resource management for more than 20 years. Her main research interests are in knowledge representation and the "packaging" of science for a range of audiences.

Randall M. Dole is the director of the NOAA Climate Diagnostics Center in Boulder, Colorado, USA. His research interests include extended-range weather and climate predictions, applications of climate information and forecasts, and explaining causes for drought and other extreme climate events. He has made numerous presentations on drought causes, characteristics, and predictions, and is interagency co-lead for the "Climate Variability and Change" element of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program.

Robert A. Halliday is a consulting engineer in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and a former director of Canada's National Hydrology Research Centre. His interests concern interjurisdictional water management, floodplain management, and effects of climate on water resources. He has served on International Joint Commission boards and other Canada-U.S. water-related entities and has worked on water management projects in many countries.

Michael J. Hayes is a climate impacts specialist with the National Drought Mitigation Center and a research associate professor in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA. His work focuses on strategies to reduce drought risk through improved drought monitoring, planning, and identification of appropriate drought mitigation activities.

Katharine L. Jacobs is an associate professor in the Soil, Water and Environmental Science Department at the University of Arizona in Tucson, USA, and deputy director of SAHRA, the Center for Sus-tainability of Semi-Arid Region Hydrology and Riparian Areas. Her research areas include climate and water management, water policy, and use of science in decision making. She formerly was director of the Tucson office of the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

Tony Jakeman is a professor in the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies and director of the Integrated Catchment Assessment and Management Centre of The Australian National University, Canberra. He has been an environmental modeler for 28 years and has more than 300 publications in the open literature. His current research interests include integrated assessment methods for water and associated land resource problems, as well as modeling of water supply and quality problems, including in ungauged catchments.

Ke Li Dan is a professor, senior engineer, and former director of the Department of Water Resources Administration of MWR of China. He was the organizer and chairman of the drafting committee of the Water Law of China and is the president of the Water Law Association of China, a member of IWRA, and an executive member of AIDA. He has been engaged in water administration and water resources management for more than 20 years.

Cody L. Knutson is a water resources specialist with the National Drought Mitigation Center, located in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA. His work incorporates both physical and social sciences to foster better understanding of drought vulnerability and management.

Grace Koshida is a researcher with the Adaptation & Impacts Research Group (Environment Canada) in Toronto, Canada. Her research activities focus on drought impacts and drought adaptations, high-impact weather events, and climate change impacts on water resources.

Douglas Le Comte is a meteorologist and drought specialist with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Maryland, USA. His work focuses on drought monitoring and forecasting. He spearheaded development of the U.S. Drought Monitor in 1999 and played an active role in the development of the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, for which he is the lead forecaster.

Rebecca Letcher is a research fellow at the Integrated Catchment Assessment and Management Centre at The Australian National University in Canberra. Her research activities have focused on the application and development of integrated assessment methods for water resource management, particularly participatory model building approaches.

Abdel Maarouf is a biometeorologist with the Adaptation & Impacts Research Group (Environment Canada) in Toronto. He conducts collaborative research on environmental stresses on human health, such as extremes of heat and cold, increased risk of infectious diseases due to climate change, and impacts of weather disasters on urban health.

Manuel Menéndez Prieto is the scientific and technical coordinator at CEDEX (Experimental Center on Public Works, Spanish Ministry of the Environment). He is a lecturer in the Polytechnic University of Madrid. His research has focused on hydrological extreme events. Currently, he is in charge of technical coordination of the Spanish contribution to the implementation strategy of the European Union's Water Framework Directive.

Karl Monnik worked at the ARC-Institute for Soil, Climate and Water in South Africa, where he was responsible for agrometeoro-logical research. He was involved in a number of national drought policy committees and organized and participated in several national and international drought meetings. He recently moved to the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia, where he is involved in meteorological observation networks.

Linda D. Mortsch is a senior researcher with the Adaptation and Impacts Research Group of Environment Canada, located in Ontario at the University of Waterloo in the Faculty of Environmental Studies. Her research interests include climate impact and adaptation assessment in water resources and wetlands. She has been an active participant in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change process and has published numerous reports and papers on climate variability and change.

Blair E. Nancarrow is the director of the Australian Research Centre for Water in Society in CSIRO Land and Water in Western Australia. She specializes in social investigations and public involvement programs in water resources management and community input to policy making. She is particularly interested in the development of processes to incorporate social justice in environmental decision making.

Neville Nicholls leads the Climate Forecasting Group at the Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia. Since 1972 he has been researching the nature, causes, impacts, and predictability of climate variations and change, especially for the Australian region.

Theib Y. Oweis is a project manager and senior irrigation and water resources management scientist of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Aleppo, Syria. He manages, conducts research, and runs capacity building programs on managing water resources in agriculture under scarcity and drought in the dry areas—mainly Central Asia, West Asia, and North Africa. His research focuses on supplemental irrigation, water harvesting, and improving water productivity, and his activities involve collaboration with national, regional, and international organizations.

Phil Pasteris is a supervisory physical scientist with the USDA's National Water and Climate Center in Portland, Oregon,

USA. He is responsible for the production and distribution of water supply forecasts for the western United States and management of the agency's climate program.

Colin Polsky is an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Geography and the George Perkins Marsh Institute at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. Dr. Polsky was educated at the University of Texas at Austin, Pennsylvania State University, and Harvard University. He blends quantitative and qualitative methods to study social vulnerability to the effects of climate change.

Roger S. Pulwarty is a research scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Diagnostics Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder, USA. His research and practical interests are in assessing the role of climate and weather in society-environment interactions and in designing effective local, national, and international services to address associated risks. From 1998 to 2002 he directed the NOAA/Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) Program.

Kelly T. Redmond is the deputy director and regional clima-tologist of the Western Regional Climate Center at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada, USA. He earned a B.S. degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. His research and professional interests span every facet of climate and climate behavior, climate's physical causes and behavior, how climate interacts with other human and natural processes, and how such information is acquired, used, communicated, and perceived.

Anne C. Steinemann is a professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Center for Water and Watershed Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA. She was formerly associate professor at Georgia Tech and visiting scholar at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her areas of expertise include drought indicators and triggers, drought plans, and climate forecasts for water management.

Mark Svoboda is a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center and a research scientist in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, USA. His responsibilities include providing expertise on climate and water management issues by working with state and federal agencies, international governments, the media, and the private sector. He also maintains the NDMC's drought monitoring activities. Mark serves as one of the principal authors of both the U.S. Drought Monitor and the North American Drought Monitor.

Amy Vickers is an engineer, water conservation consultant, public policy advisor, and author of the Handbook of Water Use and Conservation: Homes, Landscapes, Businesses, Industries, Farms (WaterPlow Press). She is president of Amy Vickers & Associates, Inc., in Amherst, Massachusetts, USA. She holds an M.S. in engineering from Dartmouth College and a B.A. in philosophy from New York University.

Donald A. Wilhite is founder and director of the National Drought Mitigation Center and a professor in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA. His research and outreach activities are centered on issues of drought monitoring, mitigation, planning, and policy, and he has collaborated with numerous countries and regional and international organizations on matters related to drought management.

Virginia Wittrock is a climatologist/research scientist with the Saskatchewan Research Council in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Her research interests are in the areas of descriptive climatology (e.g., research into the drought situation in Saskatchewan and the Canadian prairies), climate change research as it pertains to impacts and adaptation strategies, and teleconnection patterns. She has served as a member of the board of directors in the Saskatchewan Provincial Branch of the Canadian Water Resources Association.

Zhang Hai Lun is the former deputy director of Nanjing Research Institute of Hydrology and Water Resources, Ministry of Water Resources, and former chief of the Natural Resources Division of UNESCAP. He has long been involved in research activities in the field of water resources assessment and planning, hydrological analysis, and strategy on flood control and water management.

Zhang Shi Fa is a retired professor and adviser of the Department of Hydrology and Water Resources of Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute. His research fields are focused on statistics analysis, water resource assessment and planning, drought analysis, and mitigation, including the study of historical drought in China.


Drought and Water Crises: Science, Technology, and Management Issues is the result of the efforts of many persons who have been working diligently over the past 2 years to bring this volume to fruition. The book was conceived through discussions between me and Susan Lee of Marcel Dekker, Inc. Susan was a pleasure to work with during manuscript development and most responsive to my myriad questions. My interactions with Matt Lamoreaux and others at CRC Press were extremely positive and helpful throughout the latter stages of this project.

I would especially like to thank the contributors to this volume. These colleagues were carefully chosen for their expertise, the quality of their research throughout their professional careers, and the contribution of their research efforts and experiences to the theme of this book. I appreciate their responsiveness to the deadlines I imposed in the preparation of the initial draft of their chapters and their receptivity to suggested edits and modifications.

Finally, I would like to thank Deb Wood and Ann Fiedler of the National Drought Mitigation Center for their many contributions to the preparation of the manuscript. I have valued Deb's editing skills throughout my tenure at the University of Nebraska. This book is just one of many manuscripts to which Deb has contributed her many talents and skills over the years. Ann's organizational skills are unsurpassed and have facilitated the book preparation process. She was also responsible for the final formatting of the manuscript for CRC Press. Their flexibility and sense of humor throughout this process have been most appreciated.

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