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Value of ENSO-Forecasted Drought Information for the Management of Water Resources of Small to Mid-Size Communities

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 59(6): 1733-1744. (doi: 10.13031/trans.59.11589) @2016
Authors:   Vaishali Sharda, Puneet Srivastava
Keywords:   Climate variability, Mitigation, Municipal, Saving, Stakeholder, Water availability, Water management.

Abstract. There have been great advances in climate forecasting ability in recent years. However, the use of this information in water management decision-making has been lacking. The temporal and spatial scales of forecasts and the difficulty of understanding forecast products have been cited as key reasons for the lack of use of these forecasts. The Community Water Deficit Index (CWDI) was previously developed as a tool to use El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) forecasts to forecast droughts in small to mid-sized communities of the southeastern U.S. This study investigated the monetary value and benefits of using CWDI as a seasonal drought forecasting technique. The efforts were focused on determining the usefulness of drought information for municipal water management, the usefulness of water restrictions imposed by municipal water management, and the extent to which advance knowledge of probabilistic drought forecasts mitigates negative impacts. The results indicate that water use restrictions are effective for coping with drought, and the benefits of using forecasts and water management adjustments should involve planning. It was also found that by using drought forecasts, and thus having a drought preparedness plan, communities can save both water and money.

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