Risk Mitigation, Preparedness & Response

Risk Mitigation, Preparedness & Response

IDMP Guidelines and tools

Drought mitigation, preparedness and response comprise the appropriate measures and actions aimed at reducing the vulnerability to drought and reducing the impacts of droughts. The goal of the pillar on drought mitigation, preparedness and response is to determine appropriate mitigation and response actions aimed at risk reduction, the identification of appropriate triggers to phase in and phase out mitigation actions, particularly short-term actions, during drought onset and termination and, finally, to identify agencies or ministries or organizations to develop and implement mitigation actions. 

The measures can be subdivided into long-term, medium-term or short-term options. Long-term measures are normally included in the development strategies of the concerned sectors; hence, revisiting these strategies to ensure their alignment with drought risk management is an important step when developing a National Drought Management Policy. Medium-term measures are implemented in a timely manner, prior, during and after drought, based on triggers provided by monitoring and Early Warning Systems (Pillar 1).  Emergency response measures are implemented if a severe drought occurs with a view to responding to basic needs of the population affected, while contributing to long-term development.

From: WMO/GWP 2018 (not yet published)

IDMP National Drought Mitigation Plan Survey

In 2018 a survey was conducted by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to assess countries’ advances in drought management planning. All 28 responding countries stated that they had some kind of drought preparedness plan and 18 countries indicated they had drought policies in place. This survey was taken further by IDMP in 2019 by a targeted web search on publicly available information about mitigation measures mentioned in drought plans and policies in the countries that had participated in the 2018 survey.


The above graph shows the 12 main groups of mitigation actions that countries mentioned and the number of times each group of mitigation actions was mentioned. The mitigation measure groups were tentatively split into proactive (left) and reactive (right) measures, indicated by different background shading.

More information on survey scope, method and results can be found here.

Examples for Mitigation Measures

The UNCCD Drought Tool Box offers a collection of Mitigation Strategies and Technologies. Additionally, the list below provides some examples of drought preparedness, response and recovery measures that could be included in a National Drought Policy or Plan. The compilation is not exhaustive and should be adapted to local needs as well as integrated with community knowledge (Source: M Bazza, FAO).

Water resources
Enhancing supply
  • Storage capacity increase
  • Water transfers
  • Locating new potential resources
  • Aqueducts and canals
  • Groundwater recharge
  • Small scale water collection/harvesting
  • Adjusting legal and institutional framework
  • Artificial precipitation
  • Desalination of brackish & saline
  • Water treatment & reuse of wastewater/recycling
Improving demand management (in all sectors/uses)
  • Reducing use
  • Reducing losses
  • Reviewing water allocation
  • Monitoring, metering, forecasting
  • Conjunctive use (surface-groundwater)
  • Reviewing education curricula
  • Adopting/reviewing water tariffs
  • Adjusting legal & institutional framework
  • Voluntary insurance, pricing and economic incentives
Agricultural water management (complying with water resources strategy/plan)
  • Irrigation expansion if/where possible
  • Improving demand management (more efficient systems)
    • water loss reduction
    • irrigation scheme modernization/conversion to more efficient systems
    • shift to less water-demanding crops and cropping systems
    • research of drought tolerant crops/species/genotypes
    • adjusting cropping calendars to avoid heat stress
    • use of non-conventional water resources
    • deficit irrigation, supplementary irrigation
    • conjunctive use of surface and groundwater
    • soil water conservation practices
    • adopting/reviewing water tariffs
Crop production
  • Breeding for drought tolerance species & adaptation to short season
  • Cultural practices and techniques for conservation agriculture
    • Proper fertilization
    • No-till/reduced tillage systems
    • Crop rotation/cropping systems
    • Seeding rate/density
    • Weeding/adapted pest management
    • Mulching/adapted soil preparation
    • Strip farming
    • Crop insurance
  • Drinking supplies
  • Balancing livestock in irrigated areas
  • Managing pasture and range supportive capacity
  • Use of indigenous breeds of feed and fodder
  • Genotypes of mammals / low water use
  • Early information for pastoralists
  • Forage reserves
  • Non conventional fodder sources
Other sectors
Municipal water
Food security
Forest/rangeland fires
Ecosystem services/ biodiversity
Supply augmentation (all/specified sectors)
  • Mixing fresh & low quality waters
  • Exploiting high-cost waters
  • Adjusting legal and institutional framework
  • Locating new standby resources (for emergency)
  • Providing permits to exploit additional resources
  • Providing drilling equipment
Demand management (all/specified sectors)
  • Restricting agricultural uses (rationing, subjecting certain crops to stress, …)
  • Restricting municipal uses (lawn irrigation, …)
  • Reviewing operations of reservoirs
  • Diverting water from given uses
  • Over-drafting aquifers (temporarily)
  • Reviewing water tariffs
  • Rationing water supply
  • Sensitising and awareness campaign
  • Adjusting legal and institutional framework
  • Negotiating transfer between sectors
  • Dual distribution networks for drinking water supply
  • Adopting carry-over storage
  • Conjunctive use
Measures other than supply and demand
  • Temporary reallocation of water (on basis of assigned use priority)
  • Decreasing transport and distribution costs
  • Banning/restricting uses
  • Providing emergency supplies
  • Elaborating set-aside regulations
  • Inventory private wells, negotiate purchase of water rights for public use
  • Elaborate regulations on water markets
  • Assess vulnerability & advise water users
  • Elaborate alert procedures
Crop Production
  • Supplementary irrigation where water can be mobilized and made available on short-term basis
  • Soil water conservation practices
  • Early warning, information and advice to farmers
  • Review of fertilization program
  • Soil mulching and crop shading
  • Reducing crop density
  • Weeding
Livestock, range and pasture lands
  • Early warning/advice to herders
  • Destocking/incentives for owners to reduce
  • Review available feed and reduce animal numbers
  • Livestock transfer where/when possible
  • Watering points/ water hauling sources
  • Locating potential sites of water for emergency
  • Constituting feed stocks
  • Adjusting water salinity to tolerable levels
  • Rapid inventory of grazing potential
  • Protective (natural) shelters
  • Alternative feed (by-products, less and unpalatable shrubs, …)
  • Supplementary, substitute feeds
  • Drinking water supply (humans, livestock, wildlife)
  • Insurance compensation
  • Public aid to compensate loss of revenue
  • Tax relief (reduction or delay of payment deadline)
  • Rehabilitation/recovery programs
  • Food programs
  • Feed programs
  • Fire control programs
  • Resolving conflicts
  • Postponing payment of credits
  • Implement set-aside regulations
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