Jordan Journal of Civil Engineering

Drought assessment of a data-scarced watershed - Quetta valley, Pakistan


Syed M. F. Abdullah; Syed Imran Ahmed; Farah Hasan; Etikaf Hussain; Shoaib Ahmed;


Pakistan continuously remains under the threat of drought as approximately 88% of its area falls under arid and semi-arid regions. The most affected province due to drought is Balochistan facing migration, scarcity, famine, and economic strain. The insufficiency of metrological and hydrological data in the area intensifies the problem because of the late or non-diagnosis of drought. Therefore, this study proposed a methodology to quantify the drought in a watershed with inadequate meteorological and hydrological data. This study aims to design a method to find the extent and duration of drought conditions for watersheds where only basic meteorological data is available. For this purpose, Quetta valley, Balochistan, Pakistan, is chosen as a study area. First, the hydrological components of water balance for the watershed are calibrated for 10 years using a distributed hydrological model MIKE-SHE. The modelling results and other observed meteorological data are then used to evaluate eight drought indices to assess the existence and extent of drought, including those which use the hydrologic parameters as input from MIKE-SHE. Reconnaissance drought and Palmer drought severity indices, which use detailed hydrologic parameters, are found to provide more accurate results coupled with early drought detection of historical events. The results showed that the proposed method could be effectively used to determine the secondary parameters from the hydrologic model, which in turn gives more realistic drought conditions for such regions.


meteorological drought indices, hydrologic modelling, MIKE SHE, drought, data scarced watershed