08 Jun 2023
 | 08 Jun 2023
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

HESS Opinions: Drought impacts as failed prospects

Germano G. Ribeiro Neto, Sarra Kchouk, Lieke A. Melsen, Louise Cavalcante, David W. Walker, Art Dewulf, Alexandre C. Costa, Eduardo S. P. R. Martins, and Pieter R. van Oel

Abstract. Human actions induce and modify droughts. Yet, there remain scientific gaps regarding how anthropogenic dynamics and hydrological processes are intrinsically entangled in drought evolution. This poses the challenge of developing ways to evaluate human behavior and its pattern of co-evolution with the hydrological cycle, mainly related to water use and landscape modifications. We propose that prospect theory explains the emergence of drought impacts, such as crop losses and water shortage, if they are considered as failed welfare expectations (“prospects”) due to water shortage. This behavioral economic theory is dominantly applied to explain decision-making processes under uncertainty. We argue that it can also contribute to explaining socio-hydrological phenomena such as reservoir effects. This new approach can contribute to bridging natural and social sciences perspectives for more integrated drought management that takes into account the local context

Germano G. Ribeiro Neto et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2023-136: opinion paper: drought impacts as failed prospects', Murugesu Sivapalan, 17 Jul 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Germano Ribeiro Neto, 31 Jul 2023
  • RC2: 'Review Ribeiro Neto et al.', Anne Van Loon, 21 Jul 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Germano Ribeiro Neto, 02 Aug 2023
      • RC3: 'Reply on AC2', Anne Van Loon, 03 Aug 2023
        • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Germano Ribeiro Neto, 14 Aug 2023

Germano G. Ribeiro Neto et al.

Germano G. Ribeiro Neto et al.


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Short summary
People induce and modify droughts. Yet, we don’t know exactly how relevant human and natural processes interact and how to evaluate co-evolution of people and water. Prospect theory can help us to explain the emergence of drought impacts leading to failed welfare expectations (“prospects”) due to water shortage. Our approach helps to explain sociohydrological phenomena such as reservoir effects and can contribute to integrated drought management taking into account the local context.