Unravelling the history of droughts in the UK

Oxford Univeristy is a partner in a cross-disciplinary research project on historic droughts and water scarcity funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council’s programme on ‘UK Droughts and Water Scarcity’.

The project, led by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, will characterise and quantify the hydrometeorological, environmental, agricultural, policy and resource management, and social and cultural history of droughts and water scarcity in the UK since the late 19th century.

The research aims to identify interactions between natural and social systems in the production and management of droughts over the historic record. A major research outcome will be the first droughts inventory for the UK – an evidence base that will provide a common reference for policy makers, regulators, water supply companies, and UK business.

Drs Bettina Lange and Chris Decker, based at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford University, will analyse the history of regulating water scarcity and its economic impacts in the UK, drawing on case studies of key historic droughts.

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