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The Institute of Meteorology and Water Management, National Research Institute
Tamara Tokarczyk   

The Institute of Meteorology and Water Management, National Research Institute, ul. Podleśna 61, 01-673 Warszawa
Publication date: 2019-04-30
Acta Sci. Pol. Formatio Circumiectus 2018;17(3):217–229
Awareness of the potential threat of significant natural hazards necessitates the introduction of appropriate procedures allowing for effective and systematic actions aimed at eliminating, or at least partially mitigating the effects of such events. Due to the nature of drought and the complex process of its development, the cause and effect approach is widely used in assessing droughts. Naturally, this leads to the treatment of drought in terms of risk, which is defined as a derivative of hazards and consequences. Thus formulated definition of drought leads, in a broader context, to endeavours at minimizing the effects and reducing the size of losses, taking into account the prioritization of activities. An active drought risk management policy is necessary to achieve the safety of water resources in the face of current climate threats and expected further changes. The aim of this work is to present the original concept of drought risk assessment for the needs of strategic risk management as an integrated approach to the implementation of the drought management plan. Risk management is crucial and necessary to effectively reducing the effects of drought in a sustainable manner, in the context of meeting the needs of the population, the environment, and the economy. Risk management is a continuous process, consisting of logically arranged, consecutive events, actions, decisions and approvals, repeated cyclically in the course of monitoring the achieved results and implementing optional adaptations to the observed and forecasted changes. The risk management system presented in the work creates an organizational, methodical and functional framework, the implementation of which in the form of structural and IT solutions may be a tool for effective operation of plans aimed at counteracting the effects of drought on the level of particular water regions and river catchments. The proposed approach, based on strategic management in pursuit of sustainable assurance of water safety for social and natural systems, ensures durability of services of freshwater ecosystems responsible for maintaining biodiversity, maintaining life processes and regeneration of the environment, as well as providing people with economic benefits. The integrated SPI-SRI index of coexistence of moisture conditions was used to assess the risk of drought. The aforementioned index made it possible to determine the likelihood of a drought in probabilistic terms, including the phase of atmospheric and hydrological drought in a given basin, which is a key element in drought risk assessment. The estimated return period of the threat of dry or very dry meteorological conditions leading to hydrological drought in the Nysa Kłodzka catchment was calculated as once every 7.2 years, and in the Prosna catchment, once every 8 years. This information can be used in planning actions aimed at minimizing the effects of drought, and in water management (for instance, on reservoirs) aimed at reducing these effects.