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20th May 2022

Understanding the social factors influencing resilience to drought exposure in Scotland

Social factors influencing resilience to drought exposure in Scotland- Photographs courtesy of: Carol Taylor, The James Hutton Institute. Julian Scot and CREW Stock images.

Climate change poses an increasing risk of drought hazards in Scotland, with those depending on Private Water Supplies particularly exposed to water scarcity. Underlying social circumstances need to be acknowledged in drought resilience policy. This project was a CREW policy fellowship aimed to improve the understanding of the social factors influencing resilience to drought exposure in Scotland in order to inform Scottish water policy. For that, the CREW policy fellows undertook a systematic international literature review on the personal, social, environmental, and institutional conversion factors that interact to either enhance or reduce people’s vulnerability to drought. Improving communication around drought hazards can help mitigate the impact these factors have on vulnerability. To help tailor communication and improve resilience for people on Private Water Supplies and more broadly for people across Scotland, these factors were aligned with three areas of drought communication: drought forecasting, drought preparedness, and drought response. A key challenge for Scotland is the national messaging around climate change impacts to water resources. Policy implications that would help improve public messaging to target these conversion factors were identified and policy recommendations made.