Workshop Low flows and droughts



Drought is considered a major natural hazard affecting large areas and millions of people every year. It is a regularly recurring phenomenon with strong environmental and socio-economic impacts. The decade 1996-2005 was globally the warmest since systematic monitoring started in 1850. According to the latest information, global warming will continue and as a result the hydrological cycle is expected to intensify. The hydrological prospects for summer periods, however connected to uncertainties, indicate more frequent low flows and stream flow droughts in the Rhine basin. The recent occurrence of severe and prolonged drought conditions in various regions of Europe and throughout the world has again emphasized the need for in-depth research on the causes as well as the environmental and socio-economic impact of drought. Appropriate tools for drought alert, monitoring and assessment are urgently needed. Such information is essential to manage and implement adequate mitigation and adaptation strategies.


  • To exchange knowledge about historic low flow and drought periods.
  • To discuss local and regional analysis methods of low flow and drought indices and related processes.
  • To exchange knowledge about seasonal weather prediction and low flow forecasts.
  • To exchange knowledge about the influence of climate variability and climate change on future low flow and drought periods.
  • To discuss decision-making procedures, the role of stakeholders and the public.
  • To detect research deficits.

The International Commission for the Hydrology of the Rhine Basin (CHR) has invited scientists, decision makers and stakeholders in the field of low flow and drought management to discuss these issues during a two-day workshop.

Structure and workshop themes

The workshop was divided in three plenary working sessions:

Theme 1: Observed low flow and drought periods


At site and regional indices
Case studies
Data quality

Theme 2: Impact of climate change on low flow and drought


Recent developments in climate scenarios
Effects on the hydrological cycle
Effects on water user functions

Theme 3: Management and adaptation strategies


Seasonal predictions and real-time forecasts (incl. water temperature)
Prediction at ungauged sites
Risk and crisis management
The role of stakeholders and the public in decision-making procedures


The invitation to the event was issued by the International Commission for the Hydrology of the Rhine Basin (CHR) in cooperation with UNESCO IHP Paris and the German IHP/HWRP Secretariat.


Working language of the workshop was English.