24 Feb 2022
24 Feb 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Evolution of multivariate drought hazard, vulnerability and risk in India under climate change

Venkataswamy Sahana1 and Arpita Mondal1,2 Venkataswamy Sahana and Arpita Mondal
  • 1Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Powai, Mumbai 400076, India
  • 2Interdisciplinary Program in Climate Studies, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Powai, Mumbai 400076, India

Abstract. Changes in climate and socio-economic conditions pose major threat to water security, particularly in the densely-populated, agriculture-dependent and rapidly developing country of India. Therefore, for cogent mitigation and adaptation planning, it is important to assess the future evolution of drought hazard, vulnerability and risk. Earlier studies demonstrate projected drought risk over India on the basis of frequency analysis and/or hazard assessment alone. This study investigates and evaluates the change in projected drought risk combining vulnerability and hazard information at a country-wide scale for future climatic and socio-economic conditions. A multivariate standardized drought index (MSDI) accounting for concurrent deficits in precipitation and soil moisture is chosen to quantify droughts. Drought vulnerability assessment is carried out combining exposure, adaptive capacity and sensitivity indicators, using a robust multi-criteria decision-making method called the Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to an Ideal Solution (TOPSIS). In the worst-case scenario, though there is a projected decrease in the area under high or very high drought hazard classes in the country by approximately 7 %, presumably due to projected rise in precipitation, a 33 % rise in the areal extent of high or very high drought vulnerability classes is depicted. Regions of West Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, West Rajasthan and Odisha are found to be high risk under all scenarios. Bivariate choropleth analysis shows that the projected drought risk is majorly driven by change in drought vulnerability attributable to societal developments, rather than changes in drought hazard resulting from climatic conditions. The present study can aid policy makers, administrators and drought managers in developing decision support systems for efficient drought management.

Venkataswamy Sahana and Arpita Mondal

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2022-18', Marthe Wens, 08 Mar 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Arpita Mondal, 22 May 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2022-18', Anonymous Referee #2, 11 Apr 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Arpita Mondal, 22 May 2022

Venkataswamy Sahana and Arpita Mondal

Venkataswamy Sahana and Arpita Mondal


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Short summary
In an agriculture-dependent, densely-populated country such as India, drought risk projection is important to assess future water security. This study presents the first comprehensive drought risk assessment over India, integrating hazard and vulnerability information. Future drought risk is found to be more significantly driven by increased vulnerability resulting from societal developments rather than climate-induced changes in hazard. These findings can inform planning for drought resilience.