Hear what it was like to live through the 1976 drought from the people who were there, take in the dramatic experiences of firefighters battling wildfires in the UK and watch videos that break down the misconceptions about water shortage and drought in the UK, featuring people on the frontline of its impacts today.

Communications experts on the About Drought programme have produced a series of informative and evocative videos and podcasts which bring the research to life for all ages and audiences. This page brings together videos from programme events and webinars, and provides links to projects’ YouTube channels.

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View all AboutDrought videos via our YouTube playlist.

Myth-busting videos

A real challenge to communicating the urgent need to change our behaviour around water use – whether you are a water company, managing a waterway or creating policy – is the inbuilt misconception in the UK that it’s always wet and rainy, that drought is only an issue in other parts of the world.

About Drought series of Drought Myth Busting videos debunks popular misconceptions – such as ‘Droughts Only Happen In Summer’ and ‘Britain Is Wet: Droughts Don’t Happen Here’ – through interviews on location with people on the frontline of water shortages, such as father and daughter dairy farmers David and Fran Herdman as well as About Drought experts. These are available on the About Drought YouTube channel.

Drought myths #1. Britain is wet: droughts don’t happen here

The drought myth “Britain is wet: droughts don’t happen here” is busted by Professor Len Shaffrey (University of Reading), David and Fran Herdman (dairy farmers) and Dr Rebecca Pearce (University of Exeter).

Drought myths #2. Droughts only happen in the summer

The drought myth “Droughts only happen in the summer” is busted by Jamie Hannaford (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology), Andrew McKenzie (British Geological Survey) and Andrew Tucker (Thames Water).

Drought myths #3. Water is infinite and free

The drought myth “Water is infinite and free” is busted by Rob Scarrott (South West Water), Luci Gorell Barnes (UWE Bristol) and Professor Lindsey McEwen (UWE Bristol).

About Drought Science News Video Documentaries

About Drought’s ‘audience first’ approach extended to an innovative ‘news documentary’ style of short films and podcasts, produced by national broadcast journalists to capture the interest of the general public as well as our stakeholders, particularly those tasked with drought communications.

We engaged news journalists to film on location and carry out interviews at our About Drought Showcase in March 2018 and the MaRIUS Workshop in 2017. We asked them to take the same approach as they would to a TV news assignment, picking out the angles they found most newsworthy and selecting their own interviewees and questions.

About Drought Showcase 2018 Highlights

MaRIUS Workshop Highlights

About Drought Webinars

A rich resource of presentations from across MaRIUS events, featuring other elements of the About Drought research programme, are available to view on the MaRIUS YouTube channel.

Webinars covering the impact of drought on groundwater, water efficiency, historic hydrological droughts, drought forecasting, hydrological modelling of drought and low flows, a guide to outputs from the programme, community modelling, drought communications, water quality modelling in the River Trent, reconstructed flow data, and the hydrological status in the UK in August 2018, are available to view here.

DRY’s research capturing communities’ own stories of water, shortages and drought, creating a story bank, developing a song from people’s experiences, storytelling for research and promoting water efficient behaviour also features in a series of videos published on YouTube.

About Drought – sharing our new resources

Sally Stevens from the Institute for Environmental Analytics describes the “About Drought” initiative that is raising awareness of the wealth of data, insights, new findings, and resources that have been created in the Drought and Water Scarcity Research Programme.

Jamie Hannaford – The UK’s Hydrological Status in August 2018

In this video Jamie Hannaford from the Centre for Ecology and hydrology talks about the heatwave conditions experienced over the UK in summer of 2018, and examines available data to see the impact on river flow, groundwater, and other water resources.

The Hydrological Summary can be found here:
UK Hydrological Status Update – early August 2018

Katie Smith – Reconstructed Flow Data

In this video Katie Smith from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology talks about the work that has been undertaken to rescue historic hydrometerological data back to the mid 1800s, which has then been used to hindcast river flows using the GR4J hydrological models.
Katie describes the work done, explores the results and shows where everybody can access the flow data online.

Matt Fry – outputs from the Drought and Water Scarcity Programme

Matt Fry from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology summarises the outputs and datasets generated by the Drought and Water Scarcity Programme, and what is in development. All this new information and data are available for use.

Paul Whitehead – Water quality modelling in the River Trent

Paul Whitehead of Oxford University describes the research conducted by himself and Gianbattista Bussi to determine the impact of drought on water quality in the UK’s River Trent, which provides water for the power stations in the catchment.

Catharina Landstrom – Community Modelling

In this short video Catharina Landström describes the work she is leading on community modelling. This involves taking models and outputs from water quality and water resources research undertaken in the Drought and Water Scarcity Programme, and collaborating with the organisation Thames 21 to make a useful tool that gives information of interest to local people. The goal is to use the tool to help people better understand their water environment in London.

Gemma Coxon – Hydrological Modelling of Drought and Low Flows

Gemma Coxon of the University of Bristol summarises the work she is doing with fellow researchers in terms of the hydrological modelling of drought and water scarcity in the UK. Gemma talks about the different hydrological models being used; the intercomparison analysis being done to determine the relative model performance for different situations across 110 common catchments, and what might be recommended for use in particular situations.

Len Shaffrey – Drought Forecasting

Len Shaffrey of the University of Reading gives an introduction to the progress of improving the skill of UK drought forecasts, on monthly to seasonal timescales. Improved forecasts would be exceptionally valuable for effective drought management and for minimising the negative impacts of droughts.

Len summarises the research being undertaken in the IMPETUS project, part of the UK Drought and Water Scarcity Programme, that brings together scientists from the meteorological, land surface, surface water and groundwater communities and social scientists from the water demand and forecast usability communities.

Lucy Barker – Historic Hydrological Droughts

Lucy Barker of the Centre for Hydrology and Ecology talks about historic hydrological droughts (1891 to 2015), and the ‘Drought Explorer’ tool. Historic droughts are useful as an understanding of their variability and impacts help us understand what may happen now and in the future, helping inform better planning and future resilience. The tool allows everyone to explore historic hydrological droughts in the UK for 303 modelled catchments.

Kevin Grecksch – Water Efficiency

Kevin Grecksch of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Oxford, summarises his research on “Communities, innovation and corporate water” that looks to develop an in-depth understanding of a range of water companies’ water efficiency campaigns with water users in public sector organization settings, such as tenants in housing association accommodation and staff working in hospitals, councils and schools. The research objective is to understand what aspects of these schemes tie them to a specific organizational and geographical context, and which aspects make these schemes more widely applicable, and therefore candidates for a ‘best practice’ approach that could be rolled out to a wider range of organizations. Public sector organizations can contribute to development of collective community social norms that value water and contribute to efficiency savings.

ENDOWS Introduction 20171213

Watch this webinar to get an introduction to a project within the UK Drought and Water Scarcity Programme, ie ENDOWS: ENgaging diverse stakeholders and publics with outputs from the UK DrOught and Water Scarcity programme.

Project YouTube channels

Drought and Water Scarcity Programme on YouTube


You can view all of the presentations from the MaRIUS LIVE conference, which took place in November 2017.


Visit the DRY project YouTube channel.


Dr Len Shaffrey talks about the research taking place in the IMPETUS project to improve our capability of predicting droughts.