Direct and indirect economic impacts of drought in the agri-food sector in the Ebro River basin (Spain)
Abstract. The economic evaluation of drought impacts is essential in order to define efficient and sustainable management and mitigation strategies. The aim of this study is to evaluate the economic impacts of a drought event on the agricultural sector and measure how they are transmitted from primary production to industrial output and related employment. We fit econometric models to determine the magnitude of the economic loss attributable to water storage. The direct impacts of drought on agricultural productivity are measured through a direct attribution model. Indirect impacts on agricultural employment and the agri-food industry are evaluated through a nested indirect attribution model. The transmission of water scarcity effects from agricultural production to macroeconomic variables is measured through chained elasticities. The models allow for differentiating the impacts deriving from water scarcity from other sources of economic losses. Results show that the importance of drought impacts are less relevant at the macroeconomic level, but are more significant for those activities directly dependent on water abstractions and precipitation. From a management perspective, implications of these findings are important to develop effective mitigation strategies to reduce drought risk exposure.