Assessment of regional drought risk under climate change using bivariate frequency analysis

  • Jisoo Yu
  • Si-Jung Choi
  • Hyun-Han Kwon
  • Tae-Woong KimEmail author
Original Paper


Since water supply failure is one of the primary impacts of drought, drought risk should be quantified in the context of a lack of available water. To assess the drought risk, water supply system performance indices such as reliability, resiliency, and vulnerability are usually introduced as they correspond to primary drought characteristics, i.e., frequency, duration, and magnitude. In this study, we developed a drought risk index (DRI) through weighted averaging the performance indices derived using bivariate drought frequency analysis. We suggested two types of DRI: observed DRI (DRI_O) and designed DRI (DRI_D). DRI_O was calculated using an observed (or synthesized) time series of water shortages. DRI_D was estimated from the bivariate drought frequency curves, which are the probabilistic magnitudes of water shortages corresponding to a particular duration. The historical maximum drought event that represents the maximum DRI_O has generally been used as the target security level. However, we could establish a practically applicable target security level considering that the future water supply failure risk is represented by DRI_D. We defined regional drought safety criteria in this study by comparing DRI_O and DRI_D. Application of the criteria to the Nakdong river basin in South Korea showed that W1 (Byeongseongcheon) and W4 (Hyeongsangang) had the lowest and highest drought risk, respectively, and the drought safety criteria showed an average range of 5–20 years.


Bivariate frequency analysis Climate change Drought risk Water shortage 



This work was supported by Grants from the Water Management Research Program (18AWMP-B083066-05) and the National Research Foundation (NRF-2016R1D1A1A09918872) of the Korean government.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringHanyang UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Hydro Science and Engineering Research InstituteKorea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building TechnologyGoyangRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of Civil EngineeringChonbuk National UniversityJeonjuRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringHanyang UniversityAnsanRepublic of Korea

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