Region: Vlaanderen| Partner: Vlaamse Mileumaatschappij

Partner Vlaamse Milieumaatschappij works on setting up adequate instruments and strategies for drought management and adaption measures for agriculture, through development of an indicator set and integration into an existing model.

Project

Vlaamse Milieumaatschappij (BE) is responsible for the management of the environment, including water, in Flanders, Belgium. In the DROP project, the agency contributes to the DROP agriculture pilot. In Flanders, climate change is projected to cause more clustered rainfall, which also means longer periods of drought in summer. Making the right decisions at the right time to deal with this new problem of drought is only possible when the available tools also focus on drought conditions. Existing monitoring and modelling tools are largely focusing on high flows and need to be better equipped for supporting the management of low flows. The technical goal of this project measures is therefore to set-up adequate instruments and strategies for drought management and drought adaptation measures for agriculture in particular. An operational set of indicators will be developed and integrated into a new Flemish Hydrological Model. A use case will be selected to test new model concepts. Also a coordination platform with various users will be set up.

The VMM project focuses on:

Development of an operational toolbox with drought indicators for the monitoring and reporting of the drought situation. The indicators included in this toolbox describe the drought situation in different aspects of the water system: meteorological drought (Standardized Precipitation Index, ..), agricultural drought (Precipitation Deficit, Soil Moisture,…), hydrological drought (Standardized Streamflow Index, ..). As such, the toolbox allows to monitor the intensity, duration and spatial distribution of droughts in Flanders. Furthermore, also 10 day forecast of the drought situation has been implemented.

Improving the way the drought situation is reported through VMM’s different dissemination products:
•The monthly ‘status of the water system’ reports (toestandsrapporten), and published trough the webportal (www.waterinfo.be/default.aspx?path=NL/Rapporten/Publicaties), real-time indicators and further information.
•The publication in real-time of the  drought indicators on the webportal (in development) (www.waterinfo.be/default.aspx?path=NL/Thema/Droogte_Actueel)
•A ‘drought report’ describing the drought situation, which is published periodically during drought periods.

Furthermore, hydrologic models (SWAT: Soil and Water Assessment Tool) for assessing the impact of drought on the water system have been developed for two study areas: the project catchments of the Dommel and the Velpe rivers.  These models allow to assess the impact of a (observed or expected) drought on different aspects of the water system (soil moisture, river discharge,…) and crop yield  loss due to drought. Apart from gaining insight in the way drought affects the water system and crop production, these models can be used in support of the development of strategies to improve resilience against drought of both the water system and crop production.

The VMM DROP agriculture project is twinned with the project of the Water Authority Groot Salland (the Netherlands). Drought experts of both organizations participate in six exchanges during which potential measures are designed, discussed and evaluated. The governance team of the DROP project will visit the region twice to define and evaluate the regional governance setting for drought adaptation measures.

Contact

For more information about this partner, visit the website of the Vlaamse Milieumaatschappij www.vmm.be  and www.waterinfo.be.