The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

Handbook of Drought Indicators and Indices has just been released

The Handbook of Drought Indicators and Indices has just been released by the WMO/GWP Integrated Drought Management Programme. The purpose of this handbook is to cover some of the most commonly used drought indicators/indices that are being applied across drought-prone regions, with the goal of advancing monitoring, early warning and information delivery systems in support of risk-based drought management policies and preparedness plans. These concepts and indicators/indices are outlined in what is considered to be a living document that will evolve and integrate new indicators and indices as they come to light and are applied in the future. The handbook is aimed at those who want to generate indicators and indices themselves, as well as for those who simply want to obtain and use products that are generated elsewhere. It is intended for use by general drought practitioners and aims to serve as a starting point, showing which indicators/indices are available and being put into practice around the world. In addition, the handbook has been designed with drought risk management processes in mind. However, this publication does not aim to recommend a ‘best’ set of indicators and indices. The choice of indicators/indices is based on the specific characteristics of droughts most closely associated with the impacts of concern to the stakeholders.

A PDF version of the handbook is available at

An interactive online version of the Handbook – a searchable database that includes the option to provide comments and additional resources on the indicators and indices – is available, aiming to make this publication a ‘living document’, which will be updated based on the experience of its readers.

The handbook is currently being translated to Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish. Read More...

AGWA Featured on NPR | Drought Sabotages Critical Hydroelectric Dams

The following is a copy of the article from "The Takeaway." The original article can be found at The interview with AGWA's Secretariat Coordinator begins at the 5-minute mark.

Venezuela's energy crisis is rippling through its economy. Dropping oil prices have cut into state funds, and a drought has critically diminished water levels at the massive Guri Dam, which is home to Venezuela's largest hydroelectric power station.

To cut back on energy demand, the government has imposed a two-day work week for all public sector workers, and schools have also been closed on Fridays.

Hannah Dreier is Venezuela correspondent for The Associated Press and was in Caracas when a new round of protests erupted on Tuesday. She discusses the energy crisis, and the subsequent unrest.

Hydroelectric power has reshaped economies all over the world, but as in Venezuela, many even recently completed dams face genuinely different conditions than their designers anticipated because of climate change.

Low water levels at the Kariba dam on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe are causing blackouts, and the Hoover Dam in the American southwest, which supplies Las Vegas with water, reached a new all-time low in April 2015.

In the face of droughts and changing weather patterns, can these expensive and prestigious projects still be viable? The Takeaway spoke with John Matthews, secretariat coordinator, Alliance for Global Water Adaptation, about what a sustainable dam could look like. Read More...