Global Challenges Academy

Drought Resilience in China

Drought Resilience in Ecosystem Services and Rural Communities in China

  • Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
  • Partnered with: National Engineering Research Centre for Information Technology in Agriculture (NERCITA), China; National Disaster Reduction Centre of China (NDRCC), China
  • Region: China

Drought is a major hazard in low and middle-income countries. In many countries it is becoming a growing challenge as demand for water rises and the climate changes. Droughts have impacts on water supplies, crop growth and local ecosystems in rural and urban communities.

How we are meeting this challenge

  • Build an international network of researchers and end users from across a range of disciplines (including humanities and social sciences) to identify key research gaps.
  • Create a research plan for a large integrated research programme to build the resilience of rural communities in China to drought events.
  • Examine patterns of drought over the past 30 years to determine the relationships between drought impacts on crops, ecosystems, communities and the economy.
  • Through engagement with local people and stakeholders, provide a framework for understanding drought impacts on local communities, and for assessing and communicating the risks and benefits of potential solutions.

Who will benefit

Research on drought resilience led by Dr Rachel Gaulton is working with a number of key partners in China. The tools and methods developed in the project will be integrated into their existing risk assessment and impact assessment services. This will allow improved, evidence-based responses to drought events.  

Working with the National Engineering Research Centre for Information Technology in Agriculture (NERCITA), new methods of predicting drought impacts on crop production and monitoring the impacts of ongoing drought events on agriculture will be developed. Project partners will work closely with agricultural service providers in China to ensure such tools benefit Chinese farmers and the agricultural industry.  

The project will also work with local communities to enhance their understanding of drought hazards and potential solutions, and historical impacts of drought on their region. The research will result in a range of outputs with potential benefits for the Chinese economy, society and the environment. They include a fully integrated risk and impact assessment system for drought hazards and new insights into the drivers of drought in China. 

Research from the project aims to benefit: 

  • Chinese government institutions responsible for agriculture, environment and rural development
  • agricultural and geospatial service providers, including SMEs
  • local communities in China 

Wider society also stands to benefit from an improved understanding of the negative impacts of drought and the importance of evidence-based, community-focussed mitigation. 

Project team

  • Dr Rachel Gaulton, Newcastle University
  • Dr Cat Button, Newcastle University
  • Professor Lynn Frewer, Newcastle University
  • Dr Neil Macdonald, University of Liverpool
  • Professor Zhenhong Li, Newcastle University
  • Dr Claire Walsh, Newcastle University
  • Professor Philip Moore, Newcastle University
  • Dr James Taylor, Newcastle University
  • Dr Siquan Yang, NDRCC, China
  • Dr Mark Whittingham, Newcastle University
  • Dr Yang Guijun, Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences, China
  • Dr Nathan Forsythe, Newcastle University
  • Dr Greg O’Donnell, Newcastle University
  • National Engineering Research Centre for Information Technology in Agriculture (NERCITA), China
  • National Disaster Reduction Centre of China (NDRCC), China

Let's work together

If you're interested in working with us on a future research project, or would like to collaborate, email us today: global.challenges@ncl.ac.uk