Drought, Risk Management, and Policy: Decision-Making Under Uncertainty

Linda Courtenay Botterill, Geoff Cockfield

January 28, 2013 by CRC Press
Reference - 226 Pages - 11 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781439876299 - CAT# K13542
Series: Drought and Water Crises


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  • Provides an interdisciplinary perspective on the interface between science and decision making
  • Provides comprehensive case studies of decision making under uncertainty in the United States and Australia
  • Illustrates the challenges of evidence-based policy-making with real-world examples and solutions
  • Highlights lessons learned, offering valuable insights for countries facing drought


Australia and the United States face very similar challenges in dealing with drought. Both countries cover a range of biophysical conditions, both are federations that provide considerable responsibility to state governments for water and land management, and both face the challenges in balancing rural industry and urban development, especially in relation to the allocation of water. Yet there are critical differences in their approaches to drought science and policy. Drought, Risk Management, and Policy: Decision Making under Uncertainty explores the complex relationship between scientific research and decision making with respect to drought in Australia and the United States.

Risk Management, not Crisis Management

Drawing on the work of respected academic researchers and policy practitioners, the book discusses the issues associated with decision making under uncertainty and the perspectives, needs, and expectations of scientists, policy makers, and resource users. Starting from the position that drought is a risk to be managed, it considers the implications of the predicted impacts of future climate change. The book also examines the policy responses to these challenges and the role of scientific input into the policy process. Contributors look at drought risk management in action and how end users in the community incorporate drought science into their decision making. The book concludes with lessons learned about science, policy, and managing uncertainty.

Get Insight into the Relationship between Science and Policy—and How to Turn That into More Effective Decision Making

Throughout, the contributors identify possible reasons for differences in the use and application of drought sciences and approach to policy between the two countries, offering valuable insight into the relationship between scientific advice and the policy process. They also highlight the challenges faced at the science–policy interface. Crossing international borders and disciplinary boundaries, this timely collection tackles drought policy development as part of the broader discussion about climate change. Although the focus is on Australia and the United States, many of the lessons learned are relevant for any country dealing with drought.

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