Monitoring and Early Warning Systems for Droughts: Lessons from Floods
12 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2014 Last revised: 31 Aug 2015
Date Written: October 17, 2014
Floods and droughts are natural hazards that cause worldwide billions of dollars of damage and extensive human suffering. Managing flood and drought risks in an informed and effective way is of utmost importance to reduce damages and mitigate long-term impacts on development. The area of flood risk management, including the development of monitoring and early warning systems, has seen much progress in the past years. However, for drought risks governments often still have a reactive approach instead of a proactive risk management approach. This can be explained by the complex characteristics of droughts. For the development of drought monitoring and early warning systems several lessons can be learned from flood early warning systems. A main conclusion is that the systems need to connect with the decisions that decision makers are facing. This means that in addition to the usual monitoring of indicators for physical parameters, such as water levels, also socio-economic indicators need to be included: a drought or a flood is mainly a disaster because people are affected.
Keywords: floods, droughts, monitoring, forecasting, early warning, risk management
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