Bettina Lange, Chris Decker and Kevin Grecksch presented the results of their research on drought and water scarcity in the UK as part of the MaRIUS Live event, held on 2 November in London.

The event showcased the main findings of the MaRIUS project including the key outputs available for use by both academic researchers and stakeholders. The event also highlighted the further work that is planned, and how interested parties can get involved.

Holden Wood Reservoir during drought. Photo: Robert Wade

Bettina Lange gave an introduction to the social science work undertaken in the project, including research on a developing governance space for drought. Kevin Grecksch highlighted findings from work exploring options for managing drought also based on interviews with water resource practitioners. Chris Decker presented the findings of a national scale, risk-based economic assessment of the impacts of drought.

The presentations and outputs of the event are available here.

Drought in the UK?

Following the 2010-2012 UK drought experience, a dedicated research program about Droughts & Water Scarcity was commissioned by the UK research councils, including the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), to investigate the risks and impacts of drought. The MaRIUS project specifically addressed the themes of Managing the Risks, Impacts and Uncertainties of drought and water scarcity. The project harnessed a research collaboration with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology at Wallingford, the Met Office, as well as Cranfield University, Bristol University and Oxford University. The project further benefited from the input of a steering group that included water resource practitioners from government, regulators and the water industry.

The MaRIUS project is innovative by covering both physical and social science topics including: drought governance, drought options and management, community modelling as well as the development of environmental competency groups that involve citizens in deliberation of drought risk. Moreover, the project includes analysis of climatic aspects of drought and the compilation of a synthetic ‘drought event library’, as well as an investigation of hydrological responses to drought both on a catchment and national scale, effects of drought on water quality including nutrient concentration in rivers and algal concentrations in reservoirs, and the effect of drought on land use. Moreover, the ramifications of drought for water resources in the Thames catchment and nationally were modelled. Last but not least, the MaRIUS project includes an analysis of the impact of drought on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, agriculture and farming, the economy, and on electricity production. The breadth and depth of the various research topics examined during the MaRIUS project thus enable to shed new light on nature-society interactions in the context of a changing climate, also in the UK.