This project aims to improve drought preparedness in South Africa. An operational integrated early warning (real-time or near real-time) system for hydrological drought monitoring and prediction is developed, with the objective of providing catchment-based assessments for developing drought situations for South Africa. To be able to predict drought, it is essential to know its characteristics in hydrological systems. This requires identifying primary sources of hydrological (streamflow and groundwater) predictability and their relative influence on seasonal and annual hydrological predictability. Developing triggers for the early warning system would use a combination of indices to initiate specific and timely actions.  Developing such a system relies on carrying out integrated modelling which analysis some of the complexities involved in identifying and predicting drought as well as uses forecasted rainfall to predict the likelihood and impact of drought, including the impacts of the interaction of various systems (meteorological, hydrological and hydrogeological). It will also incorporate predicted rainfall from ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) to take into account the increased probability of a drought occurrence due to phenomenon such as El Nino.


Time Frames: Research commenced in April 2017, to be finalized in March 2020.

Funders: Water Research Commission (WRC)

Partners: Institute for Water Research, Rhodes University and Inkomati Catchment Management Agency

For further details: contact Piotr Wolski