Suez depends on the Hackensack River Basin to supply drinking water for more than 1 million people in New York and New Jersey. The reservoir system consists of four reservoirs and multiple raw and finished water diversions that had been managed using operating rules developed in 1997. Since then, system demands and permit water allocation have changed, prompting the need to more effectively manage this critical resource.
The water industry has long relied on the concept of safe yield for reliability assessment and capacity planning. However, operators would never run their system to the safe yield for fear of running out of water, so rules are needed to reduce the risks. Operators often rely on storage-or elevation-based rule curves that lead to corrective action – like demand restrictions, cutbacks to downstream releases, or backup supplies-- but rule curves fail to account for the specific nature of individual droughts.
In a pilot study, Suez decided to adopt Dynamic Reservoir Operations (DRO), which rely on rules that change based on the state of the system and/or forecasted conditions, including rainfall and runoff, demands, and potential outages. They provide insight on the potential severity of the current drought and thus give operators a complete understanding of the risks to the water supply.
This presentation will describe the development and implementation of DRO using forecast-based operating rules for the Hackensack River Basin. DRO were put in place as a pilot in September 2014 and immediately demonstrated their value during extremely dry conditions that materialized in early 2015 and again in 2016. They allowed for data-driven decisions to improve the timing of drought response and made the system more resilient and cost-effective.
In addition, the forecasts have been shared with state environmental regulators. Regulators have recognized the use of DRO as state-of-the-art science with which to inform regional water policy and have been working with Suez to test their use. Based on the success of the pilot, Suez expanded the DRO to include all of its diversions, resulting in a complete transition from rule curves that had been in place for nearly 20 years to nine probability-based triggers. In this case, the triggers are based on an x% chance of reaching y% reservoir storage in the following z weeks, with each trigger resulting in corrective action to conserve storage. This is the largest system in the United States testing probability-based triggers for drought management. The use of DRO received an internal Innovation Award from Suez North America for its contribution to sustainable water management.
As a natural disaster, droughts are singular in many aspects such as causing non-structural damage, having slow onset which is difficult to determine and causing fatalities not directly but indirectly. For arid and semi-arid regions, drought is a vital phenomenon; particularly in closed basins where water resources are scarce to meet demands. Konya and Akarçay Basins of Turkey are closed basins which are susceptible to droughts at the ultimate level. The recent droughts that occurred in 2008 and 2013 had serious effects on socio-economic activities and environmental resources located at these basins. Moreover, in the near future, droughts are expected to be more severe and frequent because of the potential adverse effects of climate change.
In order to survive droughts with minimum damage, drought management must be planned by considering the scientific realities and results of drought studies which are supported by a determinant political will and coordination. In Turkey, science and policy were integrated in that manner to prepare drought management plans.
This study is aimed to share experiences achieved during the preparation of drought management plans in Turkey and discuss the essentials of preparation of a drought management plan process. These essentials include:
1. Including all of the stakeholders in the process from beginning to the end. Identifying their needs.
2. Producing and collecting reliable data about the study region and publishing the relevant data for the use of all stakeholders.
3. Considering possible changes in the future climate of the study area by utilizing climate models.
4. Analyzing past droughts and drought characteristics of the study area by using several drought indices.
5. Determination of water budget considering available surface and subsurface water resources by utilizing hydrological models.
6. Evaluation of sectorial needs by considering different water users. Identifying vulnerabilities and priorities.
7. Making use of all of the scientific information obtained, determination of necessary measures to mitigate droughts by clarifying the following questions,
a) At which state of drought the measure will be taken?
b) Who will take the measure?
c) How the measure will be taken?
8. Establishing a drought management model that all of the stakeholder institutions are involved to ensure efficient and well-coordinated management of droughts.
9. Publishing and implementing the plan.
10. Revision of the plan at regular periods, particularly after drought events.
The first step on the way of mitigating droughts includes analyzing past and potential future droughts. For this purpose, comprehensive drought studies were conducted for two different basins of Turkey which experienced severe droughts in the past. Drought analyses of these basins were conducted by using several drought indices. These analyses clearly indicates the drought periods and the areas mostly vulnerable to droughts. In order to determine the potential future droughts, climate change analyses were conducted by modelling the future climate conditions.
The impacts of droughts on different types of agricultural production, municipal waters, industry and ecosystems were determined by conducting comprehensive field studies. These sectorial studies enlightened the measures to be taken for drought mitigation purposes.
Due to the number of benefits it brings to communities at risk, ‘people- centred’ approaches to Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) are receiving an increasing attention across the international DRR community. In January 2015, unprecedented flooding in Malawi highlighted the extent of local vulnerability to natural hazards. The Lower Shire Valley is the most flood prone area of Malawi, with the highest poverty rate in the country and, as in the rest of the country, a high level of dependency on rain- fed agriculture. Floods that occur on an annual basis present a serious threat to livelihoods and perpetuate the disaster- poverty cycle. Current flood risk management strategies rely on international funds from donors, which tend to be used to facilitate Community- Based Flood risk management (CB-FRM) practices implemented by non- governmental organisations (NGOs). This paper provides a critical overview of CB- FRM in Malawi, identifies lessons learned with respect to challenges faced, and presents the evolution of approaches for enhancing its efficiency and sustainability. A research framework, involving data gathered through focus group discussions, surveys and visits during field work in April 2016, has been used to analyse the current CB- FRM approaches. Through an established, decentralised institutional disaster management structure in Malawi, key stakeholders (i.e. rural communities, local government and NGOs) were consulted. The findings of the study indicate that risk reduction activities in the Lower Shire Valley are implemented across different stages of the disaster management cycle (i.e. mitigation, preparedness, response, rehabilitation). Examples include community- led dike construction, early warning systems, economic empowerment through village savings schemes, and afforestation. Although disaster relief remains a prominent component of the process, increased emphasis on risk reduction and preparedness has been observed. And despite the stakeholders’ recognition that CB- FRM has the potential to enhance the community resilience to disaster, a number of challenges and areas for improvement have been identified. The main challenges involve the relatively poor quality of existing CB- FRM projects which often undermines their long- term sustainability, weak governance in terms of coordination and reporting mechanisms between government and NGOs, and the lack of integration of rich, local knowledge into projects and policies. Furthermore, despite the strong presence of NGOs and numerous initiatives, it appears that certain areas in the Lower Shire Valley have remained under- serviced, while redundancies (i.e. duplication of efforts) can be observed in other areas. It is felt that by revealing the current challenges experienced in CB- FRM practices and discussing possible improvements, this study will be helping in improving the development of future risk management approaches in the Lower Shire Valley. Recommendations are also made in relation to revisiting local disaster management policies which serve as a basis for the allocation of projects and the development of policies that integrate capacities and knowledge of communities at risk. Consequently, the study contributes to a growing discussion in the literature that encourages an understanding of the core elements for a potentially transferable ‘blueprint’ for effective community- based disaster risk reduction on an international scale.
Agriculture is the main water user worldwide, and hence the most affected sector during low water availability periods. Droughts are the main cause of economic losses in agriculture in many countries. Despite being a humid climate, droughts are a recurrent phenomenon in the UK. The purpose of this paper is to better understand how droughts have affected agriculture in the UK to improve decision making in the future and to increase the resilience of this sector to this natural hazard.
For doing this, a systematic literature review of the main sources of information related to the UK agricultural sector has been carried out for the most recent drought episodes (1975-76, 1988-92, 1995-97, 2003-06 and 2010-12). The information has been classified according to different criteria. Using a DPSIR framework (Drivers, Pressures, States, Impacts, Responses) the information has been categorized accordingly to facilitate its analysis afterwards. The analysis started with a set of a priori subcategories to identify relevant themes within each DPSIR category. During the literature review, new subcategories arose, which were subsequently included into the DPSIR framework. Conversely, some a priori subcategories were removed or merged with others, as needed. This method facilitated the process of aggregating all the individual pieces of information associated with a particular theme, and hence the interpretation of the qualitative data contained in the dataset. A generic DPSIR framework will be produced for the 1975-76 and the 2010-12 drought, showing the cause-effect relationships of the different subcategories, to assess how the different elements have changed over time. Besides, the information has been categorized spatially using three levels of NUTS (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics). Also, we distinguished between different type of agricultural activities (rainfed, irrigated, livestock, grass). From the dataset created with this information, a timeline based on the DPSIR analysis and a narrative for each drought event were constructed, facilitating the comparison between different drought periods and allowing the evaluation of the evolution of the impacts and responses based on changes in technology, cropping and irrigation techniques, regulation and information. Our findings were also validated with semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders (growers and water regulatory staff) in the driest region in the UK (Anglian region).
Our results show how the different drought events have impacted the agricultural sector, how farmers and regulators have responded to those impacts, and how the management of droughts in UK agriculture has evolved over time. This analysis will help to inform decision making in drought management in UK agriculture, and some of the lessons learnt can be extrapolated to other contexts. The analysis can be replicated elsewhere. Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and severity of extreme events, including droughts. Thus, all the efforts to improve our future preparedness and to reduce our exposure and vulnerability to drought are worthwhile.