A System-based Paradigm of Drought Analysis for Operational Management

G Tsakiris, I Nalbantis, H Vangelis, Boud Verbeiren, Marijke Huysmans, B Tychon, I Jacquemin, F Canters, S Vanderhaegen, G Engelen, Lien Poelmans, Piet De Becker, Okke Batelaan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    108 Citations (Scopus)


    Conventionally droughts are studied in terms of their dimensions (severity, duration and areal extent), without specifying the affected system. The paper presents an innovative system-based approach for drought analysis, which can lead to rational decisions for combating drought. Concepts of water scarcity (drought, water shortage, aridity and desertification) are viewed within the perspective of this new approach. The paper focuses also on operational water management in the presence of drought. Starting from the needs for such management, the affected system is defined and the related quantities are identified. Also, sub-systems are considered which allow the establishment of the link between specific variables and drought. Some drought characterisation methods are particularly suited for the systemic approach. Finally drought is considered as a natural hazard phenomenon and its consequences are discussed. Each physical sub-system can be improved by a variety of measures aiming at decreasing its vulnerability towards drought, so that the drought risk is mitigated. It is concluded that the clear definition of the affected system on the spatial and temporal scales can significantly contribute to the rational management for combating drought.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5281-5297
    Number of pages17
    JournalWater Resources Management
    Issue number15
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


    • Drought
    • Drought risk
    • System vulnerability
    • Systemic approach
    • Water scarcity
    • Water shortage


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