Webinar: Developing an Interactive Web-Application to Aid Drought Decision-Making in Maharashtra State, India (Thursday 25th June 2020 1300 hrs BST/1730 hrs IST)

Indian Activity Lead Name: 

Dr. Rajendra Prasad Pandey

Indian Activity Lead Organization: 

National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee

UK Activity Lead Name: 

Dr. Simon Parry & Mr. Thomas Chitson

UK Activity Lead Organisation: 

UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology


The IUKWC hosted a webinar series between May - September 2020 to share the excellent work that is being done by Indian and UK scientists in the area of water security. Third in series, this webinar was attended by 115 people from about 25 institutions mainly across India and the UK. The webinar recieved an overwhelmingly positive feedback with respect to generating a new knowledge base amongst the audience in the subject area. The audience especially appreciated the efforts uindertaken to manage increasing risk of droughts in India.



The Manual for Drought Management is an important document that outlines the Indian Government’s guidelines to declaring drought. The manual gives guidance on how a combination of drought indicators can be selected to declare drought, and thereby unlock relief payments for affected farmers. At UKCEH, a web-application has been developed that allows users to explore the drought declaration methods outlined in Manual for Drought Management and how they are applied within the Maharashtra State, in a user-friendly and interactive environment. It aims to highlight sensitivities in the drought declaration process, and how the user’s decisions can affect the severity and timing of declared drought events.

In this webinar, the attendees heard one of the key contributors to the manual, Dr. Rajendra Pandey, who explained how the manual was written to aid policy-makers across India. The developers of the tool, Dr Simon Parry and Mr Thomas Chiston, then provided a demonstration of the web-application and highlighted the decisions that the Manual for Drought Management allows water-managers to choose from, and how these affect the declaration of drought.

This work has been conducted through a work package of the SUNRISE programme led by UKCEH, which is aiming to improve livelihoods and well-being through development of research into environmental risk, reliability of food supply and improving environmental quality. SUNRISE has seen collaboration between UKCEH and partner organisations in India, helping to develop hydro-climate services for improved water resource management and flood and drought forecasting. Further developments of the programme include an investigation into the alignment between drought indices described in the Manual for Drought Management, and observed drought in rainfall datasets. The project is an Indo-UK collaboration between UKCEH and the National Institute of Hydrology.

The target audience for this webinar were both drought policy-makers and water-managers who implement the guidelines described in the Manual for Drought Management. The web-application has been designed for these groups to be the primary user-base. Researchers in the field of drought management were also interested in the topic, and how the web-application will be used for future drought research.

Presenter’s Bio

Dr Rajendra Prasad Pandey: One of the most senior figures in Indian drought forecasting and monitoring. In his role as Scientist ‘G’ at the National Institute of Hydrology, he helped to develop the Manual for Drought Management.

Dr Simon Parry: Drought management and forecasting expert at UKCEH, with over 10 years of experience in his field. He has led numerous projects focussed on drought characteristics, spatio-temporal evolution and termination.

Mr Thomas Chitson: Early career researcher at UKCEH who has developed a Shiny App to visualise drought declaration in the Maharashtra State. His primary area of research is in drought-declaration. He holds an MSc Applied Meteorology and Climatology (2018) and a BSc Physics (2017) from the University of Birmingham.

Activity Date Calender: 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

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