The European Commission report on the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (2019) has shown once more: drought risk management is still not where it should be. Still, only few Member States have either set-up drought risk management plans or have otherwise covered the topic extensively within river basin management plans. At the same time, climate change increases the pressure to act on making Europe more resilient to droughts and water scarcity.
Appropriate acknowledgement of the importance of preventive drought risk management by Member States and the European Commission (EC) is needed, paired with respective concrete steps, such as:
- On EU-level: setting up a firm policy framework for drought risk management, providing improved guidance and support for its implementation, and paying sufficient attention to local features in assessing drought risk across Europe.
- At Member State level: increasing capacity to adequately respond to current and future drought risk, e.g. by enhancing the drought monitoring and forecasting infrastructure at basin level, to, among other, monitor and develop basin-specific drought indices that can complement regional stakeholder assessments; or by improving anticipatory operational drought risk management.
The research project IMPREX has developed innovative tools and approaches that support improved drought risk management at various administrative levels.