DriDanube news

"DriDanube – Drought Risk in the Danube Region" project that began its almost-3-year implementation in January 2017 aims at increasing capacity of Danube region to manage drought-related risk. It is built upon process started within Integrated Drought Management Programme for Central and Eastern Europe (IDMP CEE) and is a continuation of work done in the region by Drought Management Centre for Southeastern Europe (DMCSEE).

More information about the project are available on its official website.

DriDanube leaflet - start of the project

Find updates on project achievements and its outputs published below.

• DriDanube project - Let's talk about drought
Despite damages caused by drought in the last decades and growing frequency and intensity of the phenomenon occurrence in the region, people continue to react the same way and are not aware of its impacts on various sectors. So let’s talk about drought NOW and make the needed shift from recovery to protection, from crisis management to risk management.

DriDanube project and the tools it is developing to improve preparedness of the Danube region for drought and its capacity to manage drought-related risks are presented in this VIDEO (follow the link).

You are invited to see also other videos and interviews on DriDanube project and its aim to increase the capacity of the region to manage drought in project's video section.   

• Drought 2018 - DriDanube watch
On the occasion of WDCD 2018, DriDanube project has begun following drought development in the region also through the eyes of its newly developed tools: Drought User Service with integrated drought indices such as SWI, NDVI, SWB and others will help us observe drought with remote sensing, while maps of drought impacts on vegetation and soil, prepared with data from on-field reporters within national reporting networks in DriDanube countries will regularly help us gain much-needed information on state of most common agricultural crops, fruits trees and forests in the region throughout vegetation season.

Based on information obtained from these two tools, short bulletins will be published bi-weekly in Drought 2018 watch section on project's official website.

• Result 1 – Drought Watch
One of the four main outcomes of the DriDanube project is a drought user service named Drought Watch, an open web-based tool for improved drought monitoring. It allows users to monitor drought conditions in near-real time over the Danube region through various drought indices on soil moisture and conditions of vegetation.

Included drought indices are based on remote-sensing data and modelled data that cover the entire Danube region. Datasets are provided daily, weekly or 10-daily and therefore allow a regular insight into the current state of soil and vegetation across the Danube region. It also allows integration of specific national datasets. Through enabled spatial as well as temporal view of each included drought index, Drought Watch allows users to both monitor present (drought) conditions as well as analyse past droughts.

Along with drought indices, Drought Watch displays also weekly-reported drought impacts on vegetation as well as static maps of drought risk over participating countries. It also includes User Manual which gives a general overview about the tool and an extensive description about 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 can find:
- more about the project partners who have developed it.
- a short video on how Drought User Service works.
- Drought User Service tutorial.

• Result 2 – National Reporting Networks
Second of DriDanube results 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.

Questionnaire contains 10-13 simple single-choice questions: first few focus on estimating soil moisture in the topsoil based on a simple fingerprint assessment, while the remaining questions focus on observing impact on vegetation on reporter's specific location through estimating the potential yield decline (or observed decline, after harvest) in comparison to the last 3 years.
Once a week, reporters' dta are automatically processed into a drought impact map, aggregating data per administrative units NUT3 or LAU1. Drought impacts are regularly shown also in Drought Watch through a 5-level intensity scale, allowing cross-boder comparison across the involved countries (picture below).

NRNs present a valuable source of knowledge on actual state of vegetation, which can be affected due to either drought but also other causes. This way, NRNs validate and complement drought indices with info on drought impacts on the field and therefore help to better characterise current drought conditions. At the same time, NRNs greatly 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 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.

NRNs have so far been established in 10 Danube countries: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. 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. Involved countries also have agricultural advisers and experts from meteorological services engaged in their NRNs. Such an approach on establishing NRN ensures sustainability of drought impacts monitoring.

At the end of DriDanube project, network of active reporters in the region counted around 1000 reporters and is still growing.

On the following links you can find:
- why drought impact assessment (by CzechGlobe).
- how to kick-start with NRN and how to manage it.
- other useful material on NRNs (files starting with number "2").

• Result 3 - Harmonised drought risk assessment
Another product within Drought Watch tool, also developed in the DriDanube project, are static drought risk maps that explore spatial characteristics of drought occurrence based on analysing long-term climate data series and historic impacts reports. They were prepared in a harmonized approach for participating countries and thus enable comparative risk assessment across 10 Danube countries.

Rainless periods. One set of drought risk maps considers the climatological aspect of drought occurrence. Based on the analysis of precipitation regimes in 10 DriDanube countries in years 1961-2010, these maps show the duration of the longest expected rainless period during vegetation season (between 1 April and 30 September) under a given return period (check on Drought Watch --> Static products --> Rainless Period Duration). In this assessment, a rainless period is defined as a period of more than 20 consecutive days with less than 3 mm of rainfall per day. Historical period used for calculation is 30 years long, from 1981 through 2010, while historical data on precipitations were obtained from databases CarpatClim and DanubeClim, and national databases of observed data for some countries. This set of drought risk maps can be used as an alternative to traditional drought indicators to identify dry periods.

Crop yield loss. The other, 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 with data on historic records about impacts on crops, these maps indicate the areas where drought risk for crop yield loss for 4 main agricultural crops can be considered high, medium or low (figure below). The static drought risk maps are available for maize, wheat, barley and oilseed rape for different probability levels of drought (5, 10, 20, 30 %). Risk level is considered as high if drought occurred often as a hazard in a long-term period (1961-2010) and/or drought significantly reduced crop yield, while 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 can find:
- more about this method in a simple article or graphical presentation.
- other useful material about drought risk maps (files starting with number "3").

• Result 4 - Strategic document on drought management at national level
The last of the four DriDanube project results presents a strategic document for improved drought response at national level. Danube Drought Strategy was prepared to provide support for the establishment of proactive drought management in any country. In order to replace costly and less effective post-relief measures, it primarily targets public bodies and competent authorities responsible 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 stakeholders subjected to drought can work together prior to, during and after drought, in order to minimise the damage to the environment and to secure essential water supply across the country. The main aim of the proposed drought management model is to clearly indicate the necessary actions and the responsible institutions that should take those actions in each respective 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 approach stops 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 a practical template for proactive drought management. Due to its operational nature, this Strategy has the potential to become a drought management plan. Furthermore, it could also serve as a basis for national adaptation strategies.

On the following links you can find:
- more about the Danube Drought Strategy in a simple article,
- Summary for policy makers and all Annex files to the Strategy (files starting with number "4").

• DriDanube project - Final video
One of the main achievements of the DriDanube project is the increased awareness about drought as a larger phenomenon that goes beyond the national level, and about the possibilities to detect it during its early stages before it grows to an extreme situation. In almost 3 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.

We invite you to watch the video below to find out more about these outcome and other achievements.

Hopefully they can be of utmost usefulness and help in operational work also in countries outside the DriDanube consortium.

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