Flood and Drought Management Tools


DHI and International Water Association (IWA)


Funding from Global Environment Facility (GEF); Implemented (coordinated) by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); Executed by DHI and IWA

Problem Statement

Increasing floods and droughts due to climate change is driving a need for better planning and management of water resources at basin and local level

Case Study

Climate change (which alters weather and water patterns) and human activities aimed at meeting growing demands are influencing ecosystems. They are causing increased floods in some areas and shortages and droughts in others. These events have become increasingly common, more severe, and at the same time, less predictable.

There is a growing sense of urgency around the need to improve resilience within river basins, and for this to become a critical part of water management plans.

DHI and IWA are developing a computer software-based decision support system (DSS) which has tools to incorporate information about floods and droughts and likely climatic scenarios into planning across scales (e.g. Integrated Water Resources Management, Water Safety Plan, Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis / Strategic Action Programme). The tool is being tested and validated in 3 pilot basins (Volta, Lake Victoria and Chao Phraya). The tool will enable users to compile information and form models, indicators and existing planning approaches, so as to develop future planning scenarios that are robust, resilient and pragmatic.

Key Concepts

The DSS being developed will enable users to analyse information on current and projected futures which can be used to improve their planning around flood and drought management. For example, water utilities are mandated to provide a safe supply of water to their consumers and need to prepare and respond to the impacts of floods and droughts. The DSS will enable operators of utilities (and other uses) to generate projections of changes in climatic conditions that would result in a flood or drought event. This information can be used to develop a clear and well-thought-out action plan in the likelihood of such an event.


  • Development of a decision support system with methodologies and tools to support planning for climate impacts of floods and droughts
  • Validation and testing of DSS so that it is applicable at basin and water utility levels
  • Decision makers are sensitized to the relevance of information being provided through the DSS and how the outputs can be used in planning
  • Development of recommendations based on the outputs of the DSS that can be integrated into preparation and response plans to floods and droughts
  • Platform established through the DSS to link stakeholders from catchment to tap

Lessons Learned

  • Stakeholder input into development of DSS is essential to ensure usability and also application beyond the project timeline
  • Essential to build awareness among decision makers on how the outputs of the DSS can be used in decision making
  • Important to create ownership of the DSS and it’s outputs among key stakeholders through training but also empowering them to communicate and disseminate information
  • Strategic partnerships built with relevant institutions to further the project goals (Global Water Partnership, Nile Basin initiative, World Health Organisation)



Flood, Drought, Climate Change, Forecast, Management, Planning, DSS, stakeholders, IWA, DHI, UNEP, GEF


West Africa (Volta Basin - Burkina Faso and Ghana); East Africa (Lake Victoria Basin - Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania with some engagement with Rwanda and Burundi); Thailand (Chao Phraya Basin); Nile Basin; Danube Basin


Basin organizations and water utilities

About the Knowledge Platform

The Knowledge Platform is designed to promote and showcase an emerging set of approaches to water resources management that address climate change and other uncertainties — increasing the use of "bottom-up approaches" through building capacity towards implementation, informing relevant parties, engaging in discussion, and creating new networks. This is an ongoing project of the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA) funded by the World Bank Group.

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