EGU2020-19969, updated on 24 Jan 2023
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Perceiving and managing the 2018 & 2019 droughts in Europe: is there a need for macro-governance in Europe?

Veit Blauhut1, Claudia Teutschbein2, Mathias N. Andersen14, Manuela Brunner3, Carmelo Cammalleri4, Ksenija Cindrić Kalin5, David C. Finger6, Marijke Huysmans7, Kiril Manevski14, Marzena Osuch8, Renata J. Romanowicz8, Kerstin Stahl1, Michael Stoelzle1, Anne F. Van Loon9, Michelle T.H. Van Vliet10, Niko Wanders12, Jürgen Vogt4, Jean-Philippe Vidal11, and Patrick Williams13
Veit Blauhut et al.
  • 1University of Freiburg, Environmental Hydrological Systems, Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, Freiburg, Germany (
  • 2Dept. of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • 3Research Applications Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, United States
  • 4European Commission - Joint Research Centre, 21027 Ispra (VA), Italy
  • 5Department of Climatology, Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological service, Croatia
  • 6Sustainability Institute and Forum (SIF), Reykjavik University, Reykjavik, Iceland
  • 7Department of Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
  • 8Institute of Geophysics Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
  • 9School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  • 10Department of Physical Geography, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  • 11INRAE, RiverLy, Villeurbanne, France
  • 12Department of Physical Geography, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University
  • 13Hydraulics Section, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • 14Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University, Denmark

In recent years, the adverse effects of drought have been experienced and perceived more severely and frequently all over Europe. These impacts are a result of the drought hazard and the socio-economic and ecological vulnerability. Due to the heterogeneity of Europe’s hydro-climatology and its cultural, political, social and economic diversity , the socio-economic and ecological impacts vary not only with respect to the extent, duration and severity of the drought, but also with the characteristics of affected societies, economic sectors and ecosystems. 

The lack  of understanding the spatio-temporal differences in the drivers of drought risk hinders the successful mitigation of future impacts, and the design of suitable reactive and proactive drought action plans. Therefore, this study describes the European drought events of 2018 and 2019 beyond the hazard. The hypothesis to be proven is that similar hazard conditions result in different impacts due to national and sub-national differences in drought vulnerability, perception and drought-risk management. Based on research in 35 European countries, comparable national datasets on drought management and perception are established. For each of these countries, a uniform questionnaire was distributed to water management-related stakeholders at different administrative levels. A major focus of the questions was the perception and impacts of the recent droughts and current management strategies on a national and sub-national scale. The results of the questionnaires are also compared to country-scale profiles of past drought events for different drought types, i.e. meteorological, soil moisture, hydrological and vegetation drought, which were established based on information derived from the European Drought Observatory indicator system.

The results highlight a large diversity in the national perception of drought as a natural hazard and its impacts; but also a different spatial extent of 2018/2019 drought events At the same time,  existing drought management strategies are shown to increase national and sub-national resilience. The study, therefore, calls for international exchange and mutual learning to improve national and international drought governance and management.

How to cite: Blauhut, V., Teutschbein, C., Andersen, M. N., Brunner, M., Cammalleri, C., Cindrić Kalin, K., Finger, D. C., Huysmans, M., Manevski, K., Osuch, M., Romanowicz, R. J., Stahl, K., Stoelzle, M., Van Loon, A. F., Van Vliet, M. T. H., Wanders, N., Vogt, J., Vidal, J.-P., and Williams, P.: Perceiving and managing the 2018 & 2019 droughts in Europe: is there a need for macro-governance in Europe?, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-19969,, 2020.


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