Insight into the current drought situation


Since May, a Drought Portal has been available that provides an overview of the current drought situation in the high sandy areas of the Netherlands. The portal was developed as part of the ‘Drought in sandy areas’ project in collaboration with KnowH2O and StellaSpark.

Recent years in the Netherlands have been dry, resulting in problems for agriculture, nature and drinking water supplies. As part of the ‘Drought in sandy areas’ project, we looked at the effects of drought and possible measures. There are different types of drought, such as meteorological, soil moisture and hydrological drought. A proper assessment of the drought situation is important to understand all these types.

The Drought Portal brings together current data about precipitation, soil moisture, groundwater levels and discharges in the high sandy areas. KNMI data are used for precipitation. Soil moisture is measured at a number of locations with sensors installed as part of the project. Data about groundwater levels and discharges come from partners in the drought project and water authorities in the relevant areas.

In addition to the current situation, an indication of the drought situation is given in the portal for precipitation, precipitation surplus and groundwater levels. No drought indicator has been calculated yet for soil moisture and discharges. We use standardised drought indicators: SPI (precipitation), SPEI (precipitation surplus) and SGI (groundwater). That allows a good comparison of different locations. For groundwater, simulated time series are added to the available measurement series to put the current situation in a historical perspective.

Overview of Drought Portal showing groundwater index on 19-5-2021.