Do users benefit from additional information in support of operational drought management decisions in the Ebro basin?

Linés, Clara; Iglesias, Ana; Garrote, Luis; Sotés, Vicente; Werner, Micha

We follow a user-based approach to examine how information supports operational drought management decisions in the Ebro basin and how these can benefit from additional information such as from remote sensing data. First we consulted decision-makers at basin, irrigation district and farmer scale to investigate the drought-related decisions they make and the information they use to support their decisions. This allowed us to identify the courses of action available to the farmers and water managers, and to analyse their choices as a function of the information they have available to them. Based on the findings of the consultation, a decision model representing the interrelated decisions of the irrigation association and the farmers was built. The purpose of the model is to quantify the effect of additional information on the decisions made. The modelled decisions, which consider the allocation of water, are determined by the expected availability of water during the irrigation season. This is currently informed primarily by observed reservoir level data. The decision model was then extended to include additional information on snow cover from remote sensing. The additional information was found to contribute to better decisions in the simulation and ultimately higher benefits for the farmers. However, the ratio between the cost of planting and the market value of the crop proved to be a critical aspect in determining the best course of action to be taken and the value of the (additional) information. Risk-averse farmers were found to benefit least from the additional information, while less risk-averse farmers stand to benefit most as the additional information helps them take better informed decisions when weighing their options.

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Linés, Clara / Iglesias, Ana / Garrote, Luis / et al: Do users benefit from additional information in support of operational drought management decisions in the Ebro basin?. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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