Drought Management Planning Policy: From Europe to Spain
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DroughtWater scarcityDrought management planEuropean UnionSpain
Hervás-Gámez, C.; Delgado Ramos, F. Drought Management Planning Policy: From Europe to Spain. Sustainability 2019, 11, 1862; doi:10.3390/su11071862.
Climate change is anticipated to exacerbate the frequency, the intensity, and the duration of droughts, especially in Mediterranean countries. This might lead to more serious water scarcity episodes and fierce competition among water users. Are we really prepared to deal efficiently with droughts and water scarcity events? This paper sheds light on this question by reviewing the evolution of European drought management planning policy, recently developed scientific and technical advances, technical guidance documents, and an extensive number of journal papers. More specifically, Spain presents an ideal context to assess how drought risk has been historically addressed because this country has periodically suffered the impacts of intense droughts and water scarcity episodes, and has developed a long track record in water legislation, hydrological planning, and drought risk management strategies. The most recent Drought Management Plans (DMPs) were approved in December 2018. These include an innovative common diagnosis system that distinguishes droughts and water scarcity situations in terms of indicators, triggers, phases, and actions. We can conclude that DMP should be a live and active document able to integrate updated knowledge. The DMP needs also to set out a clear strategy in terms of water use priorities, drought monitoring systems, and measures in each river basin in order to avoid generalist approaches and possible misinterpretation of the DMP that could lead to increase existing and future conflicts.