International Drought Symposium

Drought shows its effects on a river

Drought symposium logo



The Water Science and Policy Center at the University of California, Riverside, held an International Drought Symposium that took place March 24-26, 2010, at the Marriott Hotel in Riverside. The main objective was to compare drought impacts and mitigation under various physical, economic, and institutional situations in these states, and to allow 'out of the box' approaches to be considered and adopted by the various countries.

The symposium brought senior disciplinary experts from Spain, Australia, South Africa, Mexico, and California — all drought-prone areas — to sit together and share scientific and policy aspects related to drought and its mitigation in each of these areas. The disciplines included were: economics, agronomy, hydrology, ecology, technology, policy, and water management.


Click HERE to see the symposium program.

Public Event

"A World with Less Water: Discussion on Drought Policy"

Because the topic of drought is of great interest to Southern Californians, a free public event —  "A World with Less Water: Discussion on Drought Policy" — was held on the last day of the symposium. Sponsored by the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy, this public event was advertised widely throughout the region. A panel made up of water policy makers discussed drought issues, answered questions from the audience, and provided a thoughtful discussion about what can be done to avoid and ameliorate drought, both in California and worldwide.

Presenting Teams

Click on each country's name to get information about the drought situation in that location and to see biographies of participating team members.


Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

California (U.S.)

Water Science and Policy Center, University of California, Riverside


Instituto Nacional de Ecologia

South Africa

Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy for Africa, University of Pretoria


Agrifood Research and Technology Center

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Michael J. HayesMichael J. Hayes is Director of the  National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC), University of Nebraska-Lincoln. NDMC has 23 faculty and staff working on local, tribal, state, national, and international drought- and water-related issues. Hayes has worked at the center since 1995, he was named director in August 2007. He is also an Associate Professor in UNL's School of Natural Resources , where his responsibilities include conducting research on the economic, environmental, and social impacts of drought; developing new drought monitoring and impact assessment methodologies; assisting with the development and review of drought plans; and helping to organize and conduct drought workshops and conferences. Hayes received a bachelor's degree in Meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and master's and doctoral degrees in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Missouri-Columbia.


"Lessons learned: Recent drought risk management experiences in the U.S."

Water is fundamental to life. Yet, as a resource, water is facing a complex series of challenges in terms of its quantity, quality, and management around the world and across the United States. Droughts play a major role in many of these challenges and recent droughts across many parts of the U.S. have highlighted specific lessons applicable for drought risk management. This presentation will explore some of these lessons faced by drought and water managers. These lessons focus on the understanding of drought as a natural hazard, as well as the identification of strategies to improve on the monitoring, mitigation, and planning for drought at local, regional, and national levels. Learning from these lessons will be paramount in the face of climate change with the nation and world facing ever-increasing water scarcity issues, which have serious implications for food security, ecosystem services, and many other sectors of society.

Daniel ConnellDaniel Connell is a research fellow with a joint appointment to the Australian National University's Water Initiative and Crawford School of Economics and Government. His recent book Water Politics in the Murray-Darling Basin examined the institutional arrangements in that region with a focus on basin-scale water planning and the evolving relationship between the increasingly dominant national government and the state governments that have controlled water management in the MDB for over a century. His current research focuses on multilevel water governance in Australia, South Africa, the U.S. Southwest, Spain/Portugal, India, and China.


"Rivers within their federal systems - Similar issues, different responses in the south-west United States, Mexico, southern Africa, Spain/Portugal and southern Australia."

Governance responses to recent extreme droughts in the Colorado, Guadiana, Orange/Vaal, Rio Grande and Murray-Darling systems will be the focus of this paper. The aim is to develop a comparative template to assess policy and management performance. Elements of the template will include dispute resolution and scarcity sharing procedures, planning and policy frameworks, decentralization processes, use of economic instruments such as water trading, involvement of non-government stakeholders, treatment of sustainability and environmental issues, monitoring and reporting procedures, management of compliance issues (involving both state/provincial governments and non government stakeholders), treatment of equity issues (particularly those involving first peoples), responses to emerging issues such as climate change and, more generally, the impact of their federal systems on water management.

Core Team Members

Dr. Jose Albiac, Agrifood Research and Technology Center (CITA), Government of Aragon, Spain.

Dr. Jeff Connor, The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Sustainable Ecosystems team, Glen Osmond SA, Australia.

Professor Ariel Dinar, Water Science and Policy Center (WSPC), University of California, Riverside, California.

Professor Rashid Hassan, Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy for Africa (CEEPA), University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Dr. Carlos Muñoz Piña, Instituto Nacional de Ecologia, Mexico City, Mexico.

Organizing Committee

University of California, Riverside:

Michael Allen, Sara Clausen, Ariel Dinar, Exequiel Ezecurra, Carol Lerner, Carol O'Brien, Kurt Schwabe, R.C. Sutton

University of California Water Resources Center:

Julie Drouyor, Christine French

For Further Information

Water Science and Policy Center
Department of Environmental Sciences
University of California, Riverside
900 University Avenue Riverside, CA 92521

Dr. Ariel Dinar, Director, telephone 951-827-4526, email ariel.dinar@ucr.edu
Ms. Carol O'Brien, Assistant to the Director, telephone 951-827-5116 x25116, email carol.obrien@ucr.edu


Click HERE to see the sponsors of the conference and of the country teams.


More Information

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