China’s regional vulnerability to drought and its mitigation strategies under climate change: data envelopment analysis and analytic hierarchy process integrated approach

  • Xiao-Chen Yuan
  • Qian Wang
  • Ke Wang
  • Bing Wang
  • Ju-Liang Jin
  • Yi-Ming WeiEmail author
Original Article


Climate change may make extreme droughts more frequent with heavy economic losses in China. Thus, this study aims to evaluate China’s regional vulnerability to drought and propose proper mitigation strategies for drought vulnerable areas. In this paper, an integrated index containing exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity is developed to measure regional vulnerability to drought, and it is calculated by the integrated approach which combines slacks-based measure (SBM) model in data envelopment analysis (DEA) with genetic algorithm-based analytic hierarchy process (AHP). Accordingly, 65 cities in Anhui, Henan, Jiangsu and Shandong provinces of China are chosen as the study area. The results show that Anhui and Henan are more vulnerable to drought, and the proportions of cities with inefficient resilience to drought in the two provinces are 64.7 % and 55.6 % respectively. Compared with coastal areas, the inland regions have more drought vulnerable cities. In addition, the cities in the south are less vulnerable to drought than those in the central and north regions. Meanwhile, we conclude that the integrated index can measure the efficiency of resilience to drought and reveal the causes of drought vulnerability. It also indicates that adequate investments in drought preparedness and promotion of water efficiency are the crucial ways for drought vulnerability reduction. Finally, this study proposes some policy recommendations to alleviate the impacts of drought under climate change.


Drought vulnerability Mitigation strategy Data envelopment analysis Analytic hierarchy process Genetic algorithm 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) under the Grant Nos. 71020107026, 71273081 and 51109052; National Basic Research Program of China under the Grant No. 2012CB955704; the early major infrastructure projects of the Ministry of Water Resources of China (Research on National Drought Zoning and Drought Disaster Risk Assessment); the Opening Foundation of Chengdu Institute of Plateau Meteorology, China Meteorological Administration under the Grant No. LPM2011002. We are also grateful to Prof Robert K. Dixon and the anonymous referees for helpful suggestions that improved this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiao-Chen Yuan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qian Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ke Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bing Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ju-Liang Jin
    • 1
    • 3
  • Yi-Ming Wei
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Center for Energy and Environmental Policy ResearchBeijing Institute of Technology (BIT)BeijingChina
  2. 2.School of Management and EconomicsBeijing Institute of TechnologyBeijingChina
  3. 3.School of Civil EngineeringHefei University of TechnologyHefeiChina

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