EDORA - European Drought Observatory for Resilience and Adaptation

EDORANEWS - Newsletter #1 July 2022

Welcome to the first EDORA newsletter! 

Every 6 months, the newsletter informs on the progress in the EDORA project. Please feel free to contact us in case you need more information or to provide feedbacks.

Background:  Water is essential for the functioning of society and the maintenance of critical ecological services. Many sectors and systems, such as ecosystems, agriculture, water supply, power generation, waterborne transportation, amongst many others, are fully or largely dependent on it. Droughts affect the functioning of these systems and can cause irreparable losses. During the summers of 2018 and 2019, prolonged heat and dryness exposed farmers, households, and ecosystems across Europe to severe impacts : among these, the drastic interruptions of navigation on major rivers, irrigation restrictions and reduced electricity supply were registered in Europe,and raised concerns about the potential increase in the severity and frequency of drought events in connection to climate change.

High dependency on water, coupled with inefficient or lack of drought mitigation and management practices, as well as lack of institutional frameworks increases the vulnerability of water users to drought hazards, thus increasing drought risk substantially. Comprehensive information on how droughts affect these sectors in a homogeneous way is a critical need for developing informed drought management and adaptation plans.

There is nowadays a wealth of information about how droughts affect the hydrological cycle, but the complexity of their impacts on the environment and on society makes it difficult to develop holistic tools that allow decision-makers to have at hand information on how droughts will affect the various systems concerned. So far, data on drought impacts have mostly been used for research, i.e., to understand events or to find best linkages to hazard indices that can be monitored.

The creation of tools and platforms for risk visualisation and communication based on user needs, together with relevant stakeholders, is just as important as the risk assessment itself. This is especially true in the case of people-centered strategies at the end-user interface, the so-called "last mile", where increased inclusiveness and alignment with the end-user are essential.

Scope:  To overcome these gaps, EDORA foresees 1) the development and implementation of a drought impact database, 2) a system-specific and combined/integrated drought risk assessment methodology and 3) a drought risk atlas.

Who The tasks will be carried out by the team of 5 partners, all of them belonging to renowned European and international institutions:

CIMA Research Foundation (Italy)

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (Germany)

Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

CzechGlobe (Czech Republic)

United Nations University  (Germany, headquartered in Japan)

The composition of the consortium includes several research groups, either at (inter)national research institutes, or at universities. CIMA is the project coordinator, is leading the development of the Drought risk Atlas and communication activities, ALU-FR is leading the development and implementation of the Drought Impact Database. IVM is leading the development of and implementation of a drought risk assessment methodology and UNU is leading the gap analysis and the development of conceptual tools (impact chains). All partners transversally are involved in all tasks.

For more information click here


One of the first activities of the project aimed to identify gaps and lessons learned in the field of drought risk and impact assessments in the different systems of the 27 countries of the European Union (EU27). This was achieved by collecting conceptual and methodological gaps identified in recent high-profile reports and publications, and then by assessing their status in European applications by means of a structural review of peer-reviewed articles and of EU-based projects financed by the European Commission (EC) and related to drought risk and impacts.

Overall, the systematic review revealed a landscape of drought risk information concentrated regionally (the Southern European countries) and sectorially (agricultural applications), but with emerging trends of geographic and thematic diversity. While overall the majority of the studies (112) is located in one of the eight Southern European countries, Western and Eastern European countries have significant representation, while the coverage of northern European countries appears more episodic.

Agriculture is the main sector addressed (55%), followed by forestry (21%) and public water supply (15%). However, a tendency towards increased diversification appears in recent years. Additionally, a gap persists in the use of standardized methodologies to assess the effective economic costs of droughts.

Fig 1. Sectorial impact/risk studies per country of application


On 16 th and 17 th June the kick-off meeting of the EU Drought Observatory Network was organized and held at the JRC in Ispra, Italy. Bringing together drought experts from member states, EU and UN institutions, the meeting was dedicated to exchange on state-of-the-art methodologies and recent information about drought risk and impacts in the EU, with the aim of supporting EU drought observatories.

The meeting was also an opportunity to collect information and experiences of interest for the EDORA project. Three expert consultations were organized: the first focused on the identification of drivers of vulnerability and risk for different sectors and systems, to support the creation of conceptual tools; the second dealt with indicators options and data availability to implement the risk analysis for the different sectors affected by drought; the third one,  investigated the relevancy of information to be included in the European Drought Impact Database (EDID) under preparation.

The experts provided an overview of the state of play of drought observatories in the EU, both from a scientific and technical point of view as well as from an operational point of view. Short- and medium-term challenges and development needs have been identified and discussed, setting out the scope and roadmap of the network.

EDORA is funded by European Commission.

No 09200200.A092005/2021/862347/ENV.C.1 – Lot 1 “Development and implementation of a drought impact database, a drought risk assessment methodology and a drought risk atlas”

The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) only and should not be considered as representative of the European Commission’s official position.