Feb 19  Watkins

Understanding and Predicting Socioeconomic Drought in Central Texas 

David Watkins

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Droughts are unlike other natural hazards.  They develop slowly over large areas, with a wide range of response times for decisions to mitigate impacts.  Droughts also affect different water use sectors in varying ways, with some water users better able to mitigate risk than others, depending on their resource access (e.g., by switching to another source).  In responding to drought, individual water users and organizations may be constrained by past practices and current policies that are insufficiently flexible to allow the infusion of new information.  This project explores the dynamics and predictability of socioeconomic drought in central Texas, as defined primarily by surface reservoir storage levels.  In collaboration with the Lower Colorado River Authority, opportunities for (and challenges to) using new information, including soil moisture observations and seasonal hydroclimatic forecasts, are explored.