Katyal A, Petrisor IG. 2012. Innovative sustainable drought management strategy incorporating forensic techniques and policy framework. Environ Foren 13(2):122–139.
The ever-growing human population and the changing food habits of the expanding middle class in emerging economies with more and more advanced technological needs, along with foreseeable changes in climate (global warming) due to intensified human activity may exacerbate the occurrence and magnitude of droughts all over the world. Both this generation and future generations are left vulnerable to droughts that could have serious global consequences. Droughts are already an integral part of global climate variability, but their impact can be mitigated significantly by proactive risk management planning and preparedness emphasizing increase in water supplies with appropriate reduction in demands, strengthening regulatory framework, education, emergency responses and community rehabilitation services. Sustainable mitigation initiatives are needed to protect life and manage risks and damages to property, agriculture, industries, ecological biodiversity and natural resources. Forensic applications can help in many ways, for example, to understand interaction between components of hydrologic cycle, to determine their origin and history, in land use classification, to locate recharge areas, and in the management of water quality, as well as to determine the time of release, to identify the sources of pollution and dominant ongoing biochemical reactions, to resolve disputes, and to synthesize missing historic data that are so critical in the planning for worst droughts. Weather forecasting capabilities can reduce uncertainties and help in drought preparedness and mitigation strategies. This article reviews global weather pattern and interactions as well as coupled ocean-land-atmosphere phenomenon (El Niño Southern Oscillation and/or La Niña [ENSO] ENSO) causing interannual global climate variability, drought preparedness planning and policies, and mitigation strategies to conserve water, enhance water use efficiencies, to promote sustainable socioeconomic development, and to preserve values of natural resources. Potential applications of classic and emerging forensic fingerprinting techniques and materials to enhance and harness diverse sources of water and address growing water needs now and in the future are also discussed. Finally, an innovative sustainable drought management strategy is proposed.