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All about drought resources


Drought can be a hidden hazard; flooding events hit the headlines quickly because of the speed and range of their occurrence and the impact they have on people’s lives but although slower to take hold, the effects and impacts of drought go far beyond summer hosepipe bans. In addition, there are times when drought may be perceived as a blessing if combined with hot weather. The DRY project found that a number of drought myths dominate people’s perceptions of drought in the UK.

When you navigate your way through these myths such as; ‘Britain is wet: droughts don’t happen’, ‘drought only occurs in the summer, when it’s hot’, ‘all drought finishes with heavy rainfall’ and ‘ droughts are short term problems’, it is possible to explore the impacts of drought that may be negative or positive and less expected. For example, the potato farmers who irrigated their crops in 1976 and made profits as a result.

Drought Risk and You (The DRY Utility) project has brought together stories and science to support better understanding across the different range of interests that have a ‘stake’ in drought. In the Historic Droughts projects, past droughts have been reconstructed from hydrological and impact perspectives, with extensive national online resources. In DRY, researchers have conducted extensive research specifically in seven catchment areas across the UK. These catchments are used in these six ‘All about drought’ resources as examples to enable students to explore their hydrology and the stories of people impacted by events here. This provides students with a far more holistic and synoptic approach to the issues surrounding drought.

Along with the opportunity to debate and explore the importance of perspective in response to such drought events, students are also able to apply their knowledge and understanding of hydrological systems and the factors that affect drainage basins and the people who live in them. This allows several key themes to be explored and skills integrated and applied across the curriculum.


The resources combine a range of teaching approaches and embed a series of critical thinking techniques in order to further develop students’ understanding of the subject matter.

Cross-curricular links are made to literacy, numeracy and ICT enabling the students to transfer their skills across the spectrum of subjects. The series of lessons offers opportunities for students to conduct further research, explore the numerous websites and use a range of resources such as choropleth maps to conduct their own investigation into previous drought events and begin to predict future ones from the trends. Each lesson is accompanied by an editable PowerPoint presentation and relevant worksheets. The lessons follow a natural sequence as listed here, but can also be delivered independently.


Is drought a global phenomenon?

A case study of UK drought 2010-2012: considering the cause and impacts of the drought

A case study of UK drought 2010-2012: investigating the responses

The 1976 Drought – was it all good?

The future of drought in the UK

Changing our thinking about drought


The six lessons have been co-written by the GA consultant Gemma Mawdsley and produced in collaboration with the DRY research team, ENDOWS, UWE, and About Drought.

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