Water scarcity and drought are on the increase and expected to aggravate further due to climate change. Early actions are required to adapt to these changes. The transnational project ’Benefit of governance in DROught adaPtation (DROP)’ aimed to enhance the preparedness and resilience of Northwest European (NWE) regions to such periods of drought and water scarcity. The project existed from January 2013 to December 2015. The DROP project received European Regional Development Funding through INTERREG NWE IVb.
During the three years of the project we worked on increasing awareness about drought in Northwest-Europe, where drought is much less prominent than in Southern Europe, but nonetheless has a significant impact on Nature, Freshwater, and Agriculture. These three topics formed the three pilot projects of DROP. In each of these three pilots two of our practice partners were involved – all regional water authorities from Northwest-Europe – more specifically, from The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and United Kingdom. In these pilots the practice partners implemented measures for drought adaptation.
A second major strand of work in the DROP project was work conducted by our five scientific partners, the so-called ‘governance team’. They investigated the ‘governance setting’ of the six regions, in other words: the restrictive and stimulating conditions under which drought adaptation occurs. To this end, they developed and applied an instrument called the ‘governance assessment tool’: an elaborate toolkit in which a matrix of evaluative questions is employed. You can find out more about their work through their main output: ‘governance assessment guide’ (pdf, 1.5 MB). A great 3 minute introduction to governance assessment is the animated movie we made about it.
In 2016 Springer published a book about the governance assessment tool itself as well as the application on the six region of DROP. ‘Governance for Drought Resilience. Land and Water Drought Management in Europe’ (eds. H. Bressers, N. Bressers, C. Larrue) is open access available as eBook, on: http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319296692.
A special way of working we employed in DROP were the exchange visits. This was done in three groups of people:
The governance team visited all six regions twice, to collect data and present their findings and recommendations.
The ‘drought teams’ (3 teams, one per pilot, of drought experts of the regional water authorities themselves) visited their pilot partner’s region twice, to share experiences and learn from each other.
The ‘stakeholders’ (a group of local and regional stakeholders from each region) visited their pilot partner’s region once, to share experiences and learn from each other.
Water board Vechtstromen was the lead partner of the DROP-project, and as such responsible for the general project management. Furthermore, Vechtstromen was one of the six practice partners that carried out drought adaptation measures in their own area, in close collaboration with Nature pilot partner Somerset County Council. These measures were implemented under the name ‘Water Collectief Twente’, and more information about these measures can be found at: