Historic droughts inventory of drought references to water resources 1890-2015

Durant, Mason and Counsell, Christian (2020). Historic droughts inventory of drought references to water resources 1890-2015. [Data Collection]. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Service. 10.5255/UKDA-SN-853673

Historic Droughts was a four year (2014 – 2018), £1.5m project funded by the UK Research Councils, aiming to develop a cross-disciplinary understanding of past drought episodes that have affected the United Kingdom (UK), with a view to developing improved tools for managing droughts in future. Drought and water scarcity (DWS) events are significant threats to livelihoods and wellbeing in many countries, including the United Kingdom (UK). Parts of the UK are already water-stressed and are facing a wide range of pressures, including an expanding population and intensifying exploitation of increasingly limited water resources. In addition, many regions may become significantly drier in future due to environmental changes, all of which implies major challenges to water resource management. However, DWS events are not simply natural hazards. There are also a range of socio-economic and regulatory factors that may influence the course of droughts, such as water consumption practices and abstraction licensing regimes. Consequently, if DWS events are to be better managed, there is a need for a more detailed understanding of the links between hydrometeorological and social systems during droughts. With this research gap in mind, the Historic Droughts project aimed to develop an interdisciplinary understanding of drought from a range of different perspectives. Based on an analysis of information from a wide range of sectors (hydrometeorological, environmental, agricultural, regulatory, social and cultural), the project characterised and quantified the history of drought and water scarcity events since the late 19th century. The Historic Droughts project involved eight institutions across the UK: the British Geological Survey the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Cranfield University, the University of Exeter, HR Wallingford, Lancaster University, the Met Office, and the University of Oxford.

Data description (abstract)

The drought inventory of references to water resources provides extracts from sources related to water supply. The inventory focusses primarily on the impacts on and responses related to public water supply and demand. Each entry has been categorised based on the DPSIR (Drivers, Pressures, States, Impacts and Responses) type (Lange et al., 2017). Both short and long-term DPSIR were recorded, however the entries are predominately short-term. Entries were also categorised based on whether they are supply or demand based, and the type of impact or response. This dataset combines and geo-references information from multiple sources into one place, allowing interrogation of drought events and how droughts propagate through water supply systems. Consequently, this dataset provides a unique historical perspective of the interaction between water supply systems and episodes of drought and water scarcity.

Data creators:
Creator Name Affiliation ORCID (as URL)
Durant Mason HR Wallingford https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9928-6242
Counsell Christian HR Wallingford https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3474-2240
Sponsors: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Grant reference: NE/L010127/1
Topic classification: Natural environment
Science and technology
Keywords: droughts, water supply, catalogues, water shortages
Project title: Analysis of historic drought and water scarcity in the UK: a systems-based study of drivers, impacts and their interactions
Grant holders: Jamie Hannaford, Christian Counsell, Matthew Fry
Project dates:
1 April 20141 April 2019
Date published: 07 Oct 2019 11:41
Last modified: 27 Nov 2020 14:24

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