"Many of the countries represented at the symposium were in the middle of a severe drought or were just finishing up having experienced one," Schwabe said. "This, coupled with the expectation that drought will become increasingly persistent, heralded the necessity for a book that would lead the way in integrating information about drought from a multitude of perspectives and experiences."
According to Schwabe, the best water management policy comes from being more informed about consequences.
"You can't address drought well without feedback from different perspectives," he said. "That's why a book like this helps. In it, we have explored issues from the perspectives of agronomists, hydrologists, ecologists, policy makers, economists, and water managers. Future policymakers will have this rich array of information to help them make the best decisions."
The book touches upon important issues in agronomy the study of crop management and discusses how improving the drought tolerance of crop varieties and managing soil systems can alleviate drought-induced rises in food prices and availabilities. A section on ecology investigates the effects of drought on ecosystems and habitat. The section on hydrology highlights trends in water supply changes over time and how drought exacerbates those trends, stresses the linkages between surface and groundwater supplies, and emphasizes the fact that drought affects both the quantity and quality of available water supplies.
From an economic and policy-related perspective, the book illustrates how the costs from drought can be reduced significantly with flexible policy instruments, including water trading and water banking, yet cautions that in most developed countries the water-supply augmentation strategies of the past are unlikely to be feasible; rather, more attention needs to be focused on water conservation, recycling, and water pricing.
|Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala|
University of California - Riverside