, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 881-897

Assessment of Hydrological Drought Revisited

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Abstract

A variety of indices for characterising hydrological drought have been devised which, in general, are data demanding and computationally intensive. On the contrary, for meteorological droughts very simple and effective indices such as the Standardised Precipitation Index (SPI) have been used. A methodology for characterising the severity of hydrological droughts is proposed which uses an index analogous to SPI, the Streamflow Drought Index (SDI). Cumulative streamflow is used for overlapping periods of 3, 6, 9 and 12 months within each hydrological year. Drought states are defined which form a non-stationary Markov chain. Prediction of hydrological drought based on precipitation is also investigated. The methodology is validated using reliable data from the Evinos river basin (Greece). It can be easily applied within a Drought Watch System in river basins with significant storage works and can cope with the lack of streamflow data.