Droughts and water scarcity collectively represent a substantial threat to our natural environment, agricultural and industrial production, water supply infrastructure and societal well-being. The ‘risk’ of drought can be considered as the product of the probability of a drought occurring and the consequences of the drought. Read more Read less

However, our ability to characterise and understand their occurrence, duration and intensity, and to effectively implement management responses to minimise their impacts, is often inadequate or inappropriate. The drivers of drought and water scarcity, both meteorological and sectoral (for example, supply and demand balance, water storage, transfer and utility trends) are often considered in isolation with little attention given to integrated impacts or inter-dependencies. 

We also often ignore to how droughts influence the behaviour of complex hydrological, ecological, agricultural, social and economic systems. It is thus difficult to calculate the costs associated with stressing these systems, in order to make more informed management decisions regarding trade-offs between competing water demands under conditions of water scarcity or drought.

This short course considers the different definitions of drought and the derivation and application of selected drought risk metrics, the engineering and management measures available to reduce impact, and economic techniques for evaluating drought impacts and managing drought risk. The course focuses on impact and management responses in three key sectors, domestic (public water supply), agriculture (rainfed and irrigated cropping) and the environment (aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems).

At a glance

  • Dates
    • 14 - 16 Dec 2021
  • DurationThree days
  • LocationOnline and Cranfield Campus
  • Cost£870

Course structure

This course is delivered via a mixture of face-to-face, and online lectures

What you will learn

On successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  • Evaluate the relevance of the various definitions of drought, including meteorological, agricultural, hydrological and socio-economic, and the current policy drivers for managing water scarcity and drought risk,
  • Explain how to calculate and apply different drought indicators(metrics) including assessing their utility and limitations,
  • Critically evaluate and compare different approaches to assessing drought risk and water scarcity impacts within the domestic (public water supply), agriculture and environment sectors,
  • Evaluate alternate engineering and management strategies to mitigate drought risk at local (individual business) and catchment scales.

Core content

  • Introduction: terminology and definitions of drought and water scarcity; drought risk, and national policy frameworks for managing water scarcity and drought risk,
  • Drought metrics (Standardised Precipitation Index (SPI), SPEI, Drought Palmer Severity Index (DPSI), Potential Soil Moisture Deficit (PSMD) and their spatio-temporal relevance to different sectors,
  • Approaches to the assessment of drought risk and water scarcity impacts in domestic, agriculture and environment sectors,
  • Soft and hard engineering and management strategies to mitigate drought risk at local (individual business) and catchment scales,
  • Economic impacts of drought (cost – benefit evaluation) within different sectors.

Accommodation options and prices

This is a non-residential course. If you would like to book accommodation on campus, please contact Mitchell Hall or Cranfield Management Development Centre directly. Further information regarding our accommodation on campus can be found here.

Alternatively you may wish to make your own arrangements at a nearby hotel.

Location and travel

Cranfield University is situated in Bedfordshire close to the border with Buckinghamshire. The University is located almost midway between the towns of Bedford and Milton Keynes and is conveniently situated between junctions 13 and 14 of the M1.

London Luton, Stansted and Heathrow airports are 30, 90 and 90 minutes respectively by car, offering superb connections to and from just about anywhere in the world. 

Further location and travel details

Location address

Cranfield University
College Road
MK43 0AL

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.