eCite Digital Repository

Planning urban water system responses to megadrought


Verdon-Kidd, D and Beatty, R and Allen, K, Planning urban water system responses to megadrought, Water e-Journal, 4, (3) pp. 1-11. (2019) [Professional, Refereed Article]

Pending copyright assessment - Request a copy

DOI: doi:10.21139/wej.2019.020


Drought, the ‘creeping catastrophe’, has been a recurrent feature of many parts of southern and eastern Australia over the last three decades. Yet, Australia is no stranger to prolonged drought periods, with the 1930s-40s period and the turn of the 20th century also characterised by widespread drought. Indeed, each drought experience has provided water managers the opportunity to update and implement new drought management strategies. However, the length of the instrumental record (∼120 years at best) is inadequate to understand the full extent of drought risk in Australia and the question remains: are we actually planning for the worst drought possible? This deficiency can be somewhat overcome by using palaeoclimate archives of climate to extend the instrumental record. Importantly, such archives have revealed that climatologically similar regions to Australia have experienced megadroughts in the past (reduced rainfall periods lasting 20 years or more). However, the emerging risk of megadrought is yet to be quantified for our region. In response, this paper highlights how various palaeoclimate sources (in particular tree rings) can be used to update drought risk profiles and inform planning frameworks for drought response. We further emphasise that revised planning frameworks are required to examine the risks and options for mitigating those risks.

Item Details

Item Type:Professional, Refereed Article
Keywords:urban water, megadrought, palaeodrought, planning. tree-rings
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Physical geography and environmental geoscience
Research Field:Natural hazards
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management
Objective Field:Surface water quantification, allocation and impact of depletion
UTAS Author:Allen, K (Dr Kathy Allen)
ID Code:142797
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2021-02-11
Last Modified:2021-04-01

Repository Staff Only: item control page