Report back from Drought & Water Scarcity Conference

Drought and Water Scarcity: addressing current and future challenges, International Conference

View presentations below

This international event was held at Pembroke College, University of Oxford over 20-21 March 2019.

Speakers from around the world gathered to present and discuss their research on drought and water scarcity.  There was an impressive range of data, topics, in-depth knowledge and communication insights which demonstrated the breadth and interdisciplinary nature of research into drought and water scarcity.

Delegates heard that drought and water scarcity are expected to become more severe due to the influence of climate change and pressure on water resources from economic and demographic changes.  The impacts of this affects hydrology, agriculture and farming, industry and communities.  Water and the lack of water effects every aspects of society and the environment, and the lack of water has profound consequences.

You can see the full programme here.

A number of the oral and poster presenters have kindly given permission to share their work.  You can access the presentations by clicking on the links below.

 

Presentations available to view

 

Amanda Fencl, University of California, Davis – “Interconnections between Research on Groundwater, Drought and Climate Change

Anne van Loon, Birmingham University – “Drought in the Anthropocene: vulnerability & resilience

Antonia Liguori, Loughborough University – “Learning around ‘storying water’ to build an evidence base to support better decision-making in UK drought risk management

Ayilobeni Kikon, National Institute of Technology Karnataka – “Application of Optimized Machine Learning Technique in Drought Forecasting Using SPI

Caroline King, CEH; co-authored with Daniel Tsegai, Programme Officer, UNCCD Secretariat – “A review of methods for drought impact and vulnerability assessment

Cedric Laize, TBI & GeoData Institute – “Relationship between a drought-oriented streamflow index and a series of riverine biological indicators

Christopher Nankervis, Weather Logistics Ltd – “Use of Copernicus seasonal climate forecast model data to improve the accuracy of long-term forecasts: the UK Summer Rainfall Insights project.”

Daniela Anghileri, University of Southampton – “Strengthening research capabilities for addressing water and food security challenges in sub-Saharan Africa

Emma Cross, Environment Agency – “The 2018 heatwave; its impacts on people and the environment in Thames Area

Elizabeth Brock, Met Office; Katherine Smart, Anglian Water – “Re-analysis of historical events using up to date extreme value techniques, to determine the return period of historical and stochastic droughts, with particular reference to ‘severe’ or 1 in 200 year return period events

Feyera A. Hirpa, Ellen Dyer, Rob Hope, Daniel O. Olago, Simon J. Dadson, University of Oxford – “Finding sustainable water futures in the Turkwel River basin, Kenya under climate change and variability

Fiona Lobley, Environment Agency – “2018 dry weather and its impacts; looking ahead to 2019

Frederick Otu-Larbi, Lancaster University – “Modelling the effects of drought stress on photosynthesis and latent heat fluxes.

Granville Davies and Miranda Foster, Yorkshire Water – “Water resources in Yorkshire, UK in 2018: drought management, perception and communication

Harry West, University of the West of England, Bristol – “Examining spatial variations in the utility of SPI as a 3-month-ahead environmental drought indicator

Henny van Lanen, Wageningen University & Research – “The 2018 NW European Drought: warnings from an extreme event

Katherine Smart, Anglian Water; Elizabeth Brock, Met Office – “Re-analysis of historical events using up to date extreme value techniques, to determine the return period of historical and stochastic droughts, with particular reference to ‘severe’ or 1 in 200 year return period events

Kerstin Stahl, Freiburg – “Customizing drought indices to improve drought impact monitoring and prediction

Kevin Grecksch, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford – “Achieving water efficiency through social norms in the public sector

Len Shaffrey, NCAS, University of Reading – “Has climate change increased the chance of events like the 1976 North West European drought occurring?”

Lucy Barker, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology – “How severe were historic hydrological droughts in the UK? Insights from a systematic characterisation and ranking of events back to 1891

Mark Smith, Hydro-Logic Services (International) Ltd – “Recent trends in water resources planning and management, and the rising importance of planning processes in reflecting the ‘consequences’ of relevance and interest to customers and stakeholders

Massimiliano Pasqui, CNR – “A customizable drought monitoring and seasonal forecasting service to support different users’ needs

Matt Fry, CEH – “The Historic Droughts Inventory: an accessible archive of past drought impact information for the UK from diverse documentary sources

Miranda Foster and Granville Davies, Yorkshire Water – “Water resources in Yorkshire, UK in 2018: drought management, perception and communication

Mike Morecroft, Natural England – “Drought impacts on the natural environment and lessons for climate change adaptation

Nikos Mastrantonas, CEH – “Drought Libraries for enhanced resilience in long term water resource planning in the UK

Paul Whitehead, University of Oxford – “Impacts of climate change on water quality affecting upland and lowland rivers, wetlands and delta systems

Peter Anthony Cook, NCAS-Climate, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading – “Variations in the West African Monsoon from reanalysis and model results

Peter Kettlewell, Harper Adams University – “Mitigating drought impact on crop yield by applying film-forming polymers

Rob Wilby, Loughborough – “Challenging the mantra of wetter-winters, drier summers in the UK

Ruth Langridge, University of California, Santa Cruz – “Groundwater management in planning for drought: experience from California, USA

Sandra Santos, Wageningen University – “Improving institutional frameworks integrating local initiatives from communities exposed to drought and water scarcity in Ecuador

Stephen McGuire, SEPA – “Assessing the impacts of water scarcity in Northeast Scotland through the summer of 2018.”

Wiza Mphande, Harper Adams University – “Elucidating Drought Mitigation with Antitranspirants in Spring Wheat

 

Water-saving media campaign entries are a splash hit!

Innovative media campaign ideas aimed at Millennials from Falmouth University students Chiara and David
Drought status shower icons designed by Chiara and David (Falmouth University)
Chiara & David’s shower icons in forecast (Falmouth University)

“The results span both social media and traditional media platforms, embracing the humorous side of water-saving and aiming to draw in a new, younger audience with different attitudes to consumption and waste”

By Dr Rebecca Pearce
Research Fellow at University of Exeter, who was the social science coordinator for About Drought

What’s the secret to persuading Millennials to change their habits and save water when drought looms? Who better to come up with effective answers than students from the School of Communication Design at Falmouth University?

The results are an inspiring range of peer-to-peer dynamic ideas and three will be showcased to delegates at this week’s Drought & Water Scarcity Conference at University of Oxford’s Pembroke College.

Having visited Falmouth in December 2018 to brief students extensively, I wasn’t sure how much of what I had said or presented to them would engage their creativity but they clearly listened carefully, carried out a substantial amount of work, and have come up with some great concepts. They have done a really excellent job and I would have liked to be able to showcase more of the results.

The quality is so high that I believe there may be some key players among the water companies and regulators that will have specific interests in some of the proposed approaches.

Posters to encourage water-saving behaviour in Millenials by Dannie & Max (Falmouth University)

I asked the students to shake-up the way we talk about drought and water-saving. Challenged to create a media campaign to raise awareness of water scarcity, drought, or a water-saving product, the results span both social media and traditional media platforms, embracing the humorous side of water-saving and aiming to draw in a new, younger audience with different attitudes to consumption and waste. They have clearly understood that I wanted a new narrative and approach to drought and water scarcity and they really delivered on this, having undertaken their own market research to fully understand their audiences.

Poster to encourage water-saving behaviour in Millenials by Watson and Cox (Falmouth University)
Poster to encourage water-saving behaviour in Millenials by Watson and Cox (Falmouth University)

Much of the work is based on humour rather than education or negative approaches such as rationing and threatening hosepipe bans. As the students pointed out, Millennials use a lot of water, few have gardens and hosepipes, and most don’t pay for their water directly as they either live at home, where parents pay, or in shared accommodation with bills included. They have no idea of the cost of water or the impact of using too much and therefore our current approach to water-saving campaigns will cease to be effective as baby boomers decline in number.

Innovative ideas include:

  • A Spotify Drought Playlist of 3-minute songs to shower to
  • Water-saving superheroes who feature in a series of funny and effective YouTube & TV adverts
  • A public installation of a glass shower cube which projects a water-saving superhero inside – viewers see the benefits of switching off whilst soaping up
  • A drought severity traffic light system applicable to weather forecasts, weather apps and water bills
  • Social media water-saving challenges
  • A water-saving week in June with plenty of neat ideas to make people sign-up to be water-savers and show-off their water-saving habits on Instagram etc. Popular online green influencers would be approached to get involved
  • Ambient stickers for sinks and toilet floors, with associated poster campaign showing things that Millennials save for, going down the drain as they waste water
Spotify playlist to encourage 3 minute showers by Dannie & Max (Falmouth University)
Spotify playlist to encourage 3 minute showers by Dannie & Max (Falmouth University)

If you are joining us at the Drought and Water Scarcity Conference on March 20-21 (2019) you can see a display of work by the students on the 1st floor, in the Andrew Pitt room. The students would love to hear from anyone interested in taking forward any of the campaign ideas commercially. It would be great if this competition could provide them with a springboard into a rewarding and creative career.

DRY (Drought Risk & You) Final Conference July 3rd

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

Location: UWE Bristol Exhibition and Conference Centre, Filton Rd, Stoke Gifford, Bristol BS34 8QZ

Register: Click here

Interdisciplinary explorations in ‘DRY Thinking’ – bringing together stories and science for better decision-making in UK Drought Risk Management

Come and join the ongoing conversation at the final event for DRY (Drought Risk & You) part of About Drought, the UK’s £12m drought and water scarcity research programme.

Drought in the UK is a pervasive, creeping and hidden risk.  How can ‘the hidden’ be revealed and how can science and stories work together, in this process, to support better decision-making in UK drought risk management?

This conference is the next stage in an ongoing dialogue, not only between different disciplines, but also but between researchers and stakeholders.

Over the past five years, DRY has worked with diverse sectors in seven catchments in England, Scotland and Wales – co-researching droughts past and scenario-ing droughts future, with strong attention to thinking about adaptive solutions and behaviours. DRY has explored how science and narrative can be brought together, in different ways and on different scales, to support statutory and non-statutory decision-making of a wide range of stakeholders, the general public and communities.

Core to this research has been a series of ‘creative experiments’, exploring how science can be used as a stimulus for stories and stories as a stimulus for science.  This has included creative scenario-ing of possible drought futures and explorations in how drought might be visualised using science interweaved with storying.

DRY’s interdisciplinary team has involved drought risk scientists (hydrologists, ecologists, agronomists) working with hazard geographers, social science researchers in health and business, along with those working in media and memory, and applied storytelling.

This conference shares themes researched within the DRY project, including how we might:

  • Rethink ‘drought data’ – its hybridity and variations in scale
  • Explore drought values and perceptions that influence behaviours
  • Scenario future drought working with science and narrative
  • Exploring drought cultures within the UK
  • Develop ‘DRY Thinking’ as a process – Drought Risk and You

The conference will be accompanied by the DRY Exhibition, showcasing resources generated by the DRY process, including the DRY Story Bank, the DRY Utility and DRY Action Learning Resources (e.g. around UK Drought Myths in engagement).

Organised by Professor Lindsey McEwen (UWE, Bristol), Emma Weitkamp (UWE, Bristol), Joanne Garde-Hansen (University of Warwick), Antonia Liguori (Loughborough University), Mike Wilson (Loughborough University) and the DRY consortium

For any further information, please email: DRY@uwe.ac.uk