Regional drought monitoring for managing water security in South Asia

Drought is the most complex climate-related disaster issue in South Asia and has affected 1.46 billion people with an economic loss of over 7 billion USD in the last 56 years. South Asia is challenged with water, food, and energy security due to growing populations, incomes, resource degradation, and vulnerability to climate change. Monitoring of drought and associated agricultural production deficits using meteorological and agricultural indices is an essential component for drought preparedness. Remote sensing offers near real-time monitoring of drought conditions and IWMI’s has implemented South Asia Drought Monitoring System (SADMS) in 2014 as an online platform for drought early warning and support in drought declaration. This chapter explores the use of composite drought indices implemented in Google Earth Engine (GEE) and evaluates the crop yield variability during drought years. The study provides a rapid overview of drought-prone conditions that could enhance the present capabilities of early warning systems and enable science based policies for addressing water security in the agriculture sector and develop a drought response plan between water supply and demand, significantly increasing the vulnerability of regions to damaging impacts of drought events.