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  • Moving from crisis management to risk assessment for drought planning using Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and Standardized Groundwater Level Index (SWI): Case study of Marathwada, India
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Moving from crisis management to risk assessment for drought planning using Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and Standardized Groundwater Level Index (SWI): Case study of Marathwada, India

Source(s):  United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)

The growing demand for water resources is aggravating its scarcity across the world. It is used in a large spectrum of sectors ranging from domestic to industrial, agricultural and environmental activities. Additionally, water resources form a prime indicator of social and economic development for nations. Population explosion, industrialization, rapid urbanization, and mismanagement of resources has led to depletion of water resources often causing water stress leading to scarcity. Water scarcity compounded by droughts, affect both surface water and groundwater resources. This affects water quantity and quality of freshwater, thereby adversely impacting the economy, ecology, socio-cultural and political aspects. However, the vulnerability can be reduced considerably by effective development and implementation of mitigation strategies.

This study focuses on the drought conditions in India, since water problems are worsening in most parts of India especially in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra. Particularly Latur, a district in Marathwada region, has been confronting severe water shortage due to drying up of a major source of water i.e., Dhanegaon dam. For drought-prone regions, it is critical to understand its climatology and establish an integrated drought management system that incorporates climate, water supply and factors such as precipitation, temperature, soil moisture, groundwater levels, reservoir and lake levels. In the wake of the water crisis in this region, it has emerged that proper water management is necessary. Drought is categorised as meteorological drought, hydrological drought and agricultural drought. The occurrence of meteorological and hydrological drought is influenced by temperatures and rainfall characteristics. Agricultural drought is affected due to intensity, duration and distribution of rainy days during crop growing seasons.

The primary objective of the study is to develop an approach for early warning based on historical monthly precipitation data and groundwater level data. It is achieved using two indices, i.e., Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and Standardized water level Index (SWI). Further, trend analysis using Mann-Kendall’s test is applied to understand significant increase and decreases in the precipitation. It is evident from the study that a major part of the Marathwada region is prone to drought, either meteorological or hydrological. Lastly, the paper discusses policy and management strategies to mitigate the effects of meteorological and hydrological drought in the region.

This paper is a contribution to the 2019 edition of the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR 2019).

To cite this paper: 

Dhawale, R.; K. Paul, S. Moving from crisis management to risk assessment for drought planning using Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and Standardized Groundwater Level Index (SWI): Case study of Marathwada, India. Contributing Paper to GAR 2019



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  • Moving from crisis management to risk assessment for drought planning using Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and Standardized Groundwater Level Index (SWI): Case study of Marathwada, India
  • Publication date 2019
  • Author(s) Dhawale, Richa; K. Paul, Saikat
  • Number of pages 29 p.

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