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The India-UK Water Centre convened a 3-day workshop on Advancing Drought Monitoring, Prediction, and Management Capabilities in Lancaster, UK, from 18th to 20th September 2018.
Droughts cause extensive human and economic loss through adverse impacts on food, water, and energy supplies. Climate change will further intensify these impacts. The impacts from droughts vary spatially and temporally with the state of the system. This leads to difficulties in precisely and consistently defining and characterizing droughts. However, since droughts develop slowly, they allow time to monitor climate and system states in near real-time, for example, through remote sensing-derived indicators.
Many such indicators are being developed and mapped periodically by various Research Groups across the world. Often, the indicators are arbitrary, based on disciplinary expertise and data access. Drought prediction and management also suffer from ambiguities arising from multiple models and approaches. As a result, drought policy and management have remained largely reactive, and guided more by immediate needs of relief than by research-derived knowledge. Research-based knowledge on drought monitoring, prediction, and management has great potential for reducing the extent and impact of droughts and in building drought resilience.
It is more critical than ever, particularly in drought vulnerable economies like India, that an integrated drought management approach is developed to enhance water security.
This workshop aimed to bring together in one platform key actors engaged independently in the three domains of drought monitoring, prediction and management to leverage cutting-edge drought science to inform new approaches to meet society's needs for drought planning and management. Specifically, this workshop aimed to:
- Assess the state-of-art of the science of drought monitoring, prediction and management globally and in India, with special focus on remote sensing-based approaches.
- Identify gaps between research knowledge and operational requirements for drought policy and management;
- Discuss options to develop a road map for advancing operational capabilities for drought policy, monitoring, prediction and management in India.
The workshop attracted a diverse group of senior, early-career and doctoral researchers, from hydrologists, meteorologists, to agricultural scientists, and climate modellers representing both India and the UK science. A total of 15 talks and 15 posters were presented, over 4 sessions with ample time for discussions after each session, as well as networking between sessions. A social visit to the Lancaster Castle followed by a networking dinner was also arranged, and a presentation was made by a member of the Research Development Team at Lancaster University on current funding that could be exploited to further research in this area. The workshop closed after a full day of discussions based on the PESTEL framework, to bring out the challenges that are facing drought monitoring, prediction and management in the context of highly heterogenous political, social, environmental, technological, legal, and economic settings in the Indian sub-continent.