Analysis of Drought Factors Affecting the Economy

Authored by: Bapon S.H.M. Fakhruddin , Saeid Eslamian

Handbook of Drought and Water Scarcity

Print publication date:  July  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781498731027
eBook ISBN: 9781315404219
Adobe ISBN:


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A drought can broadly be defined as a natural hazard that results in deficient water precipitation. There are hundreds of referenced definitions for drought, as a reduction in rainfall affects a particular ecosystem, a water reservoir, or a socioeconomic community differently. Droughts are a global- and location-based natural disaster that impact the economy in an adverse manner. Climate change enhances the likelihood of droughts and the impacts are severe on any economy. In recent years, droughts have been occurring frequently. A large percentage of the population is already vulnerable to a range of natural hazards, with increasing climate variability and climate change expected to aggravate the situation even further by causing more frequent and intense droughts. As a result, a drought early warning system based on seasonal climate forecasts and drought hydrology has been receiving much attention. This chapter discusses a case study from the Philippines and Indonesia based on a program that makes practical use of ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) forecasts in designing drought risk management strategies for climate-sensitive activities, particularly agriculture and water resources. The program was intended to enable societies deal with climate variability and offered an opportunity to educate the public and policy makers about long-term climate change and drought risk and mitigation options. To design a drought early warning system required a study of past El Niño and La Niña events in Indonesia and the Philippines, their impacts, the institutional responses to those events, and an analysis of global climate models. The study revealed that while countries needed timely, usable climate information to manage resources effectively and reduce drought risks, localized and usable climate information was not available to resource managers to help them take appropriate decisions. A customized drought early warning system offered a platform for managing drought risk taking current climate variability into account. Partnerships were made across relevant agencies and sectors that helped raise awareness about the potential for addressing drought risk through the use of climate information of different timescales. The key achievements in both countries were instrumental in establishing institutional mechanisms that connect the hydrometeorological communities and risk management institutions and societies; a pool of meteorologists were formed and trained to provide tailored climate information for drought risk management; the development of institutional and community-level dissemination channels in demonstration sites were built primarily through climate field schools, climate forums, and community-level workshops. Drought forecast applications for disaster mitigation that can save lives and produce tangible economic benefits were internalized and owned by local governments involved in the program.

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