Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2016MA450B

Adaptive Drought Vulnerability Index for Strategic Emergency Response (ADVISER) Model

Institute: Massachuseits
Year Established: 2016 Start Date: 2016-03-01 End Date: 2016-08-31
Total Federal Funds: $30,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $60,024

Principal Investigators: Sheree Pagsuyoin

Abstract: The proposed research aims to develop the conceptual framework for the Adaptive Drought Vulnerability Index for Strategic Emergency Response (ADVISER) Model, a visual and dynamic decision support tool for the adaptive mapping of regional vulnerabilities to increasing drought severity in Northeast United States. Specifically, the research aims to: (1) Develop a regional water input-output model (WIOM) to estimate the inoperability and economic losses that are incurred across interdependent sectors over time during prolonged periods of drought and increasing drought severity in Northeast US; (2) Formulate a rating system, in the form of vulnerability indices, to evaluate the impacts of varying drought severity on the economic and operational performance of interdependent economic sectors; (3) Integrate available drought-related databases with the WIOM [from (1)] and the vulnerability rating scale [from (2)] into a single platform – the ADVISER Model – that enables the visualization and dynamic spatial mapping of changes in drought vulnerabilities during the drought timeline; (4) Identify gaps in available data that will enable the identification of regional and sector-specific vulnerabilities to drought; (5) Evaluate the time-varying resilience of economic sectors across regions to different drought emergency mitigation strategies; and (6) Apply the WIOM and the vulnerability rating scale to a case study of Massachusetts to analyze drought vulnerabilities across sectors and identify gaps in existing drought response emergency programs. A recent report from the Climate Change Adaptation Council predicts that the changing climate will trigger more frequent extreme weather events in Massachusetts, including more intense and short-term drought periods. Some of the predicted scenarios are already being experienced in the state; for example, due to insufficient groundwater flow during longer dry periods, several towns in Massachusetts are considering using more expensive water treatment technologies like desalination to augment supply. More recent drought events have also forced towns to impose months-long bans on outdoor water use during the daytime. Droughts cause profound impacts on economies ranging from minor to catastrophic proportions. In water-scarce regions where competition for limited water exists, policymakers must formulate equitable water sharing strategies among constituents. These strategies have varying implications on the productivity and operation of economic sectors depending on their reliance on water availability. During drought events, it is crucial to identify the sector-specific resilience and vulnerabilities to different drought mitigation measures. In the proposed work we hypothesize that the integration of drought-related databases into the ADVISER Model will help identify unforeseen gaps in our current drought management programs, and will lead to better and targeted approaches for addressing region-specific drought emergencies. The dynamic feature of the ADVISER Model will allow policymakers to examine how the regional resilience to drought evolves over time in response to external factors (e.g., water reallocation) triggered by prolonged drought. The vulnerability rating system will also provide a quantitative metric for assessing the gaps between required and available resources for mitigating drought impacts. It can also form the basis for prioritization and provide key inputs in reinforcing national programs for drought emergency response.