A Novel Idea for Groundwater Resource Management during Megadrought Events

Ameneh Mianabadi, Hashem Derakhshan, Kamran Davary, Seyed Majid Hasheminia*, Markus Hrachowitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Due to the effects of global climate change on duration, frequency and number of drought events, the occurrence of prolonged droughts, referred to as “megadroughts” (lasting for two decades or longer) will become more probable in the future. Thus, it is crucial for countries especially in arid and semi-arid regions of the world to develop appropriate preparedness plans for megadrought risk management. Since groundwater is the key water resource in these regions, it is important to reliably quantify the maximum sustainable extraction to ensure a sufficient groundwater reserve, i.e. the Strategic Groundwater Reserve, for a probable future megadrought event. For this purpose, a new concept of Probable Maximum Drought is proposed in this study, based on the concept of Probable Maximum Flood. As the spillways of large dams are designed based on the Probable Maximum Flood to minimize the probability of failure and the associated casualties and damages, the Probable Maximum Drought concept is proposed to estimate Strategic Groundwater Reserves to limit the consequences of prolonged droughts, including damage and threats to societal stability. This will allow water resources managers and policymakers to develop appropriate strategies to adapt and restrict development plans of a given region based on a sustainable megadrought risk management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1743-1755
Number of pages13
JournalWater Resources Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Coorigendum published on DOI: 10.1007/s11269-020-02686-2

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Climate change
  • Probable maximum drought
  • Strategic groundwater reserve
  • Sustainable water resources management


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