2019 international conference: Drought and Water Scarcity: addressing current and future challenges

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

This 2-day international conference was held at Pembroke College, University of Oxford over 20-21 March 2019, and organised by the UK Drought & Water Scarcity Research Programme (About Drought).

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

Working with the UK Environment Agency’s National Framework

In 2018, the MaRIUS project’s water research modelling project has started working with the Environment Agency’s National Framework team.  We built a model using the simulation and optimization platform called WATHNET, which covers the more water distribution of England, and worked in collaboration with Atkins to produce the 2016 pivotal Water UK Long Term Planning Framework report.  We are now expanding our model to cover more areas and to explore the impact of drought and climate change on water resources in the future.  We are working alongside the National Framework to help answer some if their questions about long term resilience for a range of future scenarios.

Read more about it here

MaRIUS LIVE: our showcase event!

We held our Showcase Event on 2 November 2017 to set out the findings of the MaRIUS research, and what outputs are available.  This event profiled the research findings on the effect and impacts of droughts and water scarcity in the UK,  what outputs are available for use; what further work that is planned, and how interested parties can get involved.

The span of the MaRIUS project is large and covers physical and social science topics including: drought governance; drought options and management; community responses and environmental competency. It includes climatic aspects of drought and the derivation of a synthetic ‘drought event library’; hydrological responses both on a catchment and national scale; effects on water quality including nutrient concentration in rivers and algal concentrations in reservoirs, and effect of land use change; the ramifications on water resources on the Thames catchment and also nationally. It includes the impact of drought and water scarcity on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems; agriculture and farming; the economy; and on electricity production.

The event was very successful and provided a key opportunity for stakeholders and researchers to meet and discuss the effect and impact of drought and water scarcity in the UK and what research outputs are available for the whole community.

Outputs from the conference

Videos of all the presentations can be found here: see below for an itemised list.

Information presented on the day can be found here, which include the following:

Conference info

  • Slides shown during the event
  • Information to delegates, including the agenda, speaker bio, summary of their research and findings
  • Questions asked by the audience, using the Slido online tool – these are currently being answered and answers will appear at the link soon
  • Delegate list

Research info

  • Overview diagram showing the MaRIUS research topics and how they integrate
  • Drought Scarcity management – report of a scenario workshop focusing on water company drought options
  • Drought Primer – a report setting out how drought is governed in the England and Wales
  • Environmental Company Group Report

You can find out more about the findings of the MaRIUS project here.

List of Videos from the MaRIUS LIVE mini conference 

Full Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5AXsp8rsqeD3CwkqDgPBquIMYrF-ia8w

Video Content Direct link
0 An overview of the MaRIUS project, using footage from the project’s showcase event on 2 November 2017, which set out the results and findings of the impact of drought and water scarcity in the UK. https://youtu.be/ll4NZ5gxzOk
1 Helen Gavin, University of Oxford, welcomes people to the MaRIUS LIVE event: a mini conference (2 Nov 2017) that showcases the breadth of work and findings of the MaRIUS project, which examines the Risks and Impacts of Drought and Water Scarcity in the UK. https://youtu.be/cQMrwPe4jQk
2 Trevor Bishop, Director, Ofwat, gives the opening address for the MaRIUS LIVE conference.  His talk sets out the importance of this research in the current regulatory and policy landscape. https://youtu.be/NX2udZIjEKQ
3 Jim Hall sets the stage for the meeting, outlining the purpose of workshop and providing a summary overview of the MaRIUS project, within the NERC Drought and Water Scarcity Programme. https://youtu.be/ecicGf6uCsU
4 Bettina Lange introduces the social science work undertaken in the project. https://youtu.be/fP8n4L-usD8
5 Kevin Grecksch outlines findings from work exploring Drought Management Options and from interviews with water resource practitioners. https://youtu.be/3pwxv2vZ_J8
6 Catharina Landström outlines the research focusing on community involvement on the local geographical scale. She will summarise the outcomes of a transdisciplinary Environmental Competency Group activity examining water management in the River Kennet. https://youtu.be/ap4SgP4Eop4
7 Q&A discussion session following the social science presentations https://youtu.be/iiBSVCrCNWE
8 Helen Gavin introduced the drought and water scarcity physical science research undertaken in the MaRIUS project. https://youtu.be/h8fPcqaPmJE
9 Richard Jones outlines the climate datasets and ‘drought event set’ generated by the project for use. https://youtu.be/BBEgIbqm_so
10 Thorsten Wagner summarises the findings of catchment scale drought modelling. https://youtu.be/8Hjm3RoAOMg
11 Vicky Bell outlines CEH’s findings on the effect of drought on hydrology at a national scale, using the CEH national gridded hydrological model ‘Grid-to-Grid’. https://youtu.be/sKPViCOf2sY
12 Gemma Coxon summarises the results gained from Bristol University’s hydrological model ‘Dynamic TOPMODEL’ for national scale hydrological drought modelling. https://youtu.be/wxmcydntVhw
13 Paul Whitehead addresses the effects of drought on water quality processes. https://youtu.be/U3nxOjVWuLU
14 Helen Gavin presents slides showing the research of Alex Elliott, CEH, on the effect of drought and reservoir drawdown on  algal growth under drought scenarios.  Alex was unwell at the time of the meeting. https://youtu.be/NrzUfpw8Fj0
15 Mohammad MortazaviNaeini, University of Oxford, covers research on water resource modelling on a catchment and a national scale. Some of this work has contributed to Water UK’s 2017 Water Resources Long-Term Planning Framework project. https://youtu.be/wdl8tpysdy4
16 Q&A discussion session following the physical science presentations https://youtu.be/6yWepLi1Nmk
17 Ian Holman provides an overview of the research done to assess the impacts of water scarcity. https://youtu.be/36zhmh1jbqk
18 Pam Berry presents the research findings of the research team examining the impact of drought and water scarcity on both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. https://youtu.be/2STSc6OROPk
19 Dolores Rey covers the impacts on agriculture and irrigation benefits, plus the adaptation response of farmers to drought. https://youtu.be/-9ebJVZCUuM
20 Chris Decker presents the findings of a national scale economic assessment of drought. https://youtu.be/lQ5rVmJombk
21 Jim Hall presents slides showing the research of himself and colleague Ed Byers, on the water need of energy generation and the potential impacts of low flows. https://youtu.be/oxQrEcIoL4s
22 Q&A discussion session following the impact research presentations https://youtu.be/IydW6i7M8hI
23 Q&A discussion session with all research speakers, covering social and physical science https://youtu.be/XsaDVPNJupk
24 Jamie Hannaford outlines the next phase of the Drought and Water Scarcity Programme, “ENDOWS” and how you can get involved. https://youtu.be/sxHM-nzIQWk
25 Jim Hall, University of Oxford, summarises the research of the MaRIUS project into the effect of drought and water scarcity in the UK, and closes the meeting. https://youtu.be/eiH4Qrc2HIk

International Symposia

The MaRIUS project is proud to have held the last of its trio of International Symposia.  The Symposium, “Drought Science and Management” took place on 27 September 2016, at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and featured a mix of oral & poster presentations.

The MaRIUS project has now hosted three international Symposia to bring together practitioners working on aspects of drought and water scarcity from across the world.  These Symposia have been public focused, and open to everyone.

The events have been very successful, attracting a large audience each year, and have helped disseminate work on drought and water scarcity across many different related topics by academic researchers, governmental regulators, and companies, to a wide audience.

The first MaRIUS inspired Drought Symposium, Drought Risk in the context of change, was held on Monday 22nd September 2014 at Magdalen College, Oxford.

The second Drought Symposium, Drought Risk and Decision Making, was held on Tuesday 8th September 2015 at Exeter College, Oxford.

The third Drought Symposium, Drought Science and Management, was held on Tuesday 27th September 2016 at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. 

Click here for a summary of each of the three events, with links to the presentations and podcasts where available.


Environmental Competency Groups

Within the MaRIUS project, Sarah Whatmore and Catharina Landström have developed further the concept of an Environmental Competency Group , building on their work on this methodology from past projects.

In order to spread news about the methodology and promote its uptake, they have created a web resource of materials to help individuals re-examine local environmental problems. Click here to find out more.