Water Scarcity and Drought

A precipitation deficit combined with overexploitation of water resources can result in large scale water shortage and drought. Methods which employ strategic decision support in order balance water demand and water supply are being increasingly used throughout the world.

The challenge

The occurrence of rainfall-deficit periods (droughts) combined with the imbalances between water resources availability and high exploitation and consumption rates can jeopardize the water and food security of many regions worldwide. This is especially relevant in semiarid and subhumid regions (over 40% of the world’s population). Risks driven by these phenomena are expected to be intensified due to climate change and scenarios of population growth.
Reducing the vulnerability of regional and local economies by guiding more sustainable land-use and irrigation practices, alongside better water allocation strategies is at the cornerstone of the FutureWater’s approach in its attempt to promote a soft transition to more adaptive and resilient economies.

The FutureWater approach

  1. Providing Climate Risk and Vulnerability Assessments based on novel risk-based approaches (e.g. the bottom-up Decision Tree Framework supported by the World Bank) to identify the main drivers of water scarcity and their roles in generating socio-economic and environmental impacts. These analyses are extremely useful for informing on investments and advising on management and adaptation policies, and can be addressed at multiple spatial domains, from the farm and irrigation-district level to river basins and large regions.
  2. Developing Decision Support Systems which combine operational satellite-based and social-media monitoring tools, forecasting capabilities, hydrological and water allocation modelling, and the latest scientific knowledge on drought processes. FW’s Drought and Water Scarcity DSSs integrate all these components into one toolbox in order to optmize the processing of data in the cloud and subsequently interpret and present results in fast and efficient way that is accessible for the end-user.

Example projects