Motivation - better prepared for drought

Despite damages caused by drought in the last decades and growing frequency and intensity of the phenomenon occurrence in the region, communities in the SE continued to react in the same way and were not aware of drought impacts in various sectors until extreme. DriDanube project elevated drought topic among the operational and sectoral agencies and promoted making the needed shift from recovery to protection, from crisis management to risk management. 
Video on DriDanube project and the tools it was developing to improve preparedness of the 
Danube region for drought and its capacity to manage drought-related risks.


Lead Partner: 
  • Slovenian Environment Agency (ARSO), Slovenia 
  • Earth Observation Data Centre for Water Resources Monitoring GmbH (EODC), Austria
  • Global Change Research Institute CAS (CzechGlobe), Czech Republic
  • Global Water Partnership Central and Eastern Europe (GWP CEE), Slovakia
  • Hungarian Meteorological Service (OMSZ), Hungary
  • Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), Austria
  • Szent Istvan University (SZIU), Hungary
  • National Meteorological Administration (NMA), Romania
  • Centre of Excellence for Space Sciences and Technologies (SPACE-SI), Slovenia 
  • Meteorological and Hydrological Service (DHMZ), Croatia
  • Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute (SHMU), Slovakia
  • Faculty of Agriculture, University of Novi Sad (FAUNS), Serbia
  • Republic Hydrometeorological Service of Serbia (RHMSS), Serbia
  • Institute of Hydrometeorology and Seismology (IHMS), Montenegro
  • Republic Hydrometeorological Service of Republic of Srpska (RHMZ RS), Bosnia and Hercegovina 
Associated Strategic Partners:
  • International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), Austria
  • Administration of the RS for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief (URSZR), Slovenia
  • The State Land Office (SLO), Czech Republic
  • Agricultural Station/Forecasting and Warning Service of Serbia in plant protection (PIS), Serbia
  • Environment Agency Austria (EAA), Austria
  • Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (BMLFUW), Austria
  • Ministry of Environment and Energy, Water management directorate (MZOIE), Croatia
  • Ministry of Agriculture (FM), Hungary

Result 1:  Drought Watch tool

Drought Watch is an open, web-vase tool that allows users to monitor drought conditions in near-real time over the Danube region through various drought indices on soil moisture and vegetation condition. The indices are based on remote-sensing and modelled data that cover the entire Danube region to ensure harmonised transboundary view. Datasets are provided daily, weekly or 10-daily and this way allow a regular insight into the current state of soil and vegetation across the Danube region. Individual national datasets can be integrated as well. With its feature of spatial and temporal view of each drought index, the tool can be used to analyse past droughts as well. It includes User Manual with a general overview of the tool, its features and functionalities. 

Drought Watch is designed in a user-friendly yet feature-rich manner such as, among others, obtaining index value, time series charts, basic statistics and data export for specific location. It was developed with national authorities and other drought-vulnerable organisations in mind to support them in their operational day-to-day work. 

On the following links you will find:

Result 2:  National Reporting Networks

This result presents a practical method for drought impact assessment that is carried out through establishing a national reporting network (NRN). It's purpose is to help deliver early awareness of (agricultural) drought damage in place. NRN consists of engaged individuals, mostly farmers and technicians with experience in agriculture and forestry, who weekly report their observations on the state of soil, damage to vegetation or even loss of yield on their specific location, throughout the season or the year. To report their observations, engaged reporters use a common online questionnaire, available for agriculture, fruit orchards or forestry, according to the type of reporter's interest. Once a week reporters' data are automatically processed into a drought impact map, aggregating data per administrative units.

NRNs present a valuable source of knowledge on actual state of vegetation, which can be affected due to drought or other causes. This way, NRNs validate and complement drought indices with on-field information to better characterise current conditions. Additionally, NRNs contribute to a systematic national-level collection of drought impacts on agricultural land, with its added value in regular collection of impacts data throughout the (dry) year rather than post-drought assessment. NRNs can be used as an alternative to other systems of drought impact assessment, such as application of drought indicators as proxy data or institutional drought impact assessment campaigns. Joining a NRN could also be a part of volunteering measures in introducing sustainable agriculture approach at national level. 

The NRN idea originates from a DriDanube partner CzechGlobe whose experience showed that the most effective way for an active NRN is to involve volunteering individuals with personal interest in drought and its impacts on the environment. When establishing their own NRN, project countries engaged agricultural advisers and experts from hydrometeorological services as well to ensure sustainability of drought impacts monitoring. 

On the following links you will find:

Result 3:  Harmonised drought risk assessment

Static drought risk maps explore characteristics of drought occurrence based on analyzing on one hand long-term climate data series, and on the other historic impact reports. They were prepared in a harmonised approach for the participating countries, thus enabling comparative risk assessment across 10 Danube countries. 

Rainless periods. This set of drought risk maps consider climatological aspect of drought occurrence (weather predisposition). Based on the analysis of precipitation regimes in 10 participating countries between 1961 and 2010, these maps show the duration of the longest expected rainless period during vegetation season (1 April to 30 September) for a given return period. In this assessment, a rainless period is defined as a period of more than 20 consecutive days with less than 3 mm of precipitation a day, and maps are produced for return periods of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 years. Historical period used for calculations was 1981-2010, and historical precipitation data were obtained mainly from CarpatClim and DanubeClim databases and additionally from national monitoring databases.

Crop yield loss. The complementary set of maps considers drought risk in terms of occurrence of impacts due to drought. In this approach, drought is defined through SPI index although methodology allows any other definition of drought to be applied. Based on combining meteorological data and data on historic records about impacts on crops, these maps indicate areas where drought risk for crop yield loss of main agricultural crops can be considered high, medium or low. Maps were prepared for different crops (maize, wheat, barley, oilseed rape) and different probability levels (5, 10, 20, 30 %). Here, drought risk is considered high if drought occurred often as a hazard in long-term period (1961-2010) and/or drought significantly reduced crop yield. Drought risk is considered low if drought events occurred rarely in the past and/or considerable negative impacts on crop yield due to drought could not be found. 

On the following links you will find:
Expected length of longest rainless period during vegetation season 
having a 5-year return period.
Colour-code drought risk map for estimated maize yield loss 
upon  20 % drought probability level.

Result 4:  Danube Drought Strategy

Danube Drought Strategy was prepared as a strategic document to provide support for the establishment of proactive drought management in any country. In order to replace costly and less effective mitigation measures, it primarily targets public bodies and competent organisations authorities for national drought planning to build country resilience to drought. 

An integral part of the Strategy is an optimal drought management model (ODMM), a conceptual scheme on how national institutions, organisations and other stakeholder subjected to drought can operationally work together prior to, during and after drought in a preventive manner in order to minimise drought stress and damage to the environment and society. The main aim of the proposed model is to clearly indicate the necessary actions and involved organisations at the relevant stage of drought - as to determine who is doing what and when. By enriching the protocol with specific activities to be carried out prior to the occurrence of drought or during its early stages, a country's response ceases being crisis-oriented and becomes proactive.

The concept of ODMM has been developed in a way that allows its adoption by any country regardless of its internal organisation of national authorities. In this sense, the Danube Drought Strategy provides practical template for proactive drought management. Due to its operational nature, the Strategy has the potential to become a drought management plan. It could also serve as a basis for national adaptation strategies.

On the following links you will find:

DriDanube project - Final outcomes

One of the main achievements of the project is the increased awareness about drought as a larger phenomenon that goes beyond a country level, and about the possibilities to detect it and respond during its early stages before it grows to an extreme situation. In almost three years, DriDanube partners have achieved significant results: a new monitoring system (Drought Watch) covering the whole Danube region was developed, a new network of over 800 active drought impact reporters was established, cross-border comparable drought risk maps were prepared, and Danube Drought Strategy with its optimal drought management model was created.
Video on project's final outcomes
and other achievements.
The DriDanube project was co-financed by European Union
through Interreg Danube Transnational Programme.