A decision support system for drought characterization and management

A. Jain, L. E. Ormsbee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A decision support system has been developed for drought characterization and management. The purpose of the decision support system is to assist the operators and water managers of the water supply system of the City of Lexington, Kentucky. The motivation of this study was a severe drought that occurred in the state of Kentucky during the summer of 1988. The data derived from the City of Lexington, Kentucky and the Kentucky River Basin were employed in this study. The developed decision support system consists of three components: a water demand forecasting component, a streamflow forecasting component, and an integrated expert system component. The water demand and streamflow forecasting components of the decision support system predict the water consumption for the City of Lexington and the flow in Kentucky River at Lock 10 near Winchester, Kentucky, respectively. The lead time of the forecasting models was taken as five days as they were intended to be employed in developing a short-term drought management policy. Various modeling techniques ranging from regression and time series analysis to the relatively new technique of expert systems and artificial neural networks were explored for forecasting both water demand and streamflow. The integrated expert system component consists of five sub-components. Each sub-component entails developing a knowledge base for a specific purpose. The expert system component integrates all sub-components and characterizes the drought potential in the coming five days and recommends a drought management policy for the week to come. The developed decision support system is capable of running on a personal computer and provides a user-friendly platform for decision-makers to explore a wide range of drought management alternatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-140
Number of pages36
JournalCivil Engineering and Environmental Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Decisions
  • Droughts
  • Expert system
  • Water resources

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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