Developing system robustness analysis for drought risk management: an application on a water supply reservoir
- 1Department of Flood and Drought Risk Analysis, Deltares, P.O. Box 17, 2600 MH, Delft, the Netherlands
- 2Twente Water Centre, Twente University, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE, Enschede, the Netherlands
- 3Institute for Water Resources, US Army Corps of Engineers, 7701 Telegraph Road, Casey Building, Alexandria, VA 22315, USA
- 4Tulsa District Office, US Army Corps of Engineers, 1645 S. 101st E. Ave., Tulsa, OK 74128, USA
Abstract. Droughts will likely become more frequent, greater in magnitude and longer in duration in the future due to climate change. Already in the present climate, a variety of drought events may occur with different exceedance frequencies. These frequencies are becoming more uncertain due to climate change. Many methods in support of drought risk management focus on providing insight into changing drought frequencies, and use water supply reliability as a key decision criterion. In contrast, robustness analysis focuses on providing insight into the full range of drought events and their impact on a system's functionality. This method has been developed for flood risk systems, but applications on drought risk systems are lacking. This paper aims to develop robustness analysis for drought risk systems, and illustrates the approach through a case study with a water supply reservoir and its users. We explore drought characterization and the assessment of a system's ability to deal with drought events, by quantifying the severity and socio-economic impact of a variety of drought events, both frequent and rare ones. Furthermore, we show the effect of three common drought management strategies (increasing supply, reducing demand and implementing hedging rules) on the robustness of the coupled water supply and socio-economic system. The case is inspired by Oologah Lake, a multipurpose reservoir in Oklahoma, United States. Results demonstrate that although demand reduction and supply increase may have a comparable effect on the supply reliability, demand reduction may be preferred from a robustness perspective. To prepare drought management plans for dealing with current and future droughts, it is thus recommended to test how alternative drought strategies contribute to a system's robustness rather than relying solely on water reliability as the decision criterion.