1st Edition

Drought, Risk Management, and Policy Decision-Making Under Uncertainty

Edited By Linda Courtenay Botterill, Geoff Cockfield Copyright 2013
    226 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    226 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Australia and the United States face very similar challenges in dealing with drought. Both countries cover a range of biophysical conditions, both are federations that provide considerable responsibility to state governments for water and land management, and both face the challenges in balancing rural industry and urban development, especially in relation to the allocation of water. Yet there are critical differences in their approaches to drought science and policy. Drought, Risk Management, and Policy: Decision Making under Uncertainty explores the complex relationship between scientific research and decision making with respect to drought in Australia and the United States.

    Risk Management, not Crisis Management

    Drawing on the work of respected academic researchers and policy practitioners, the book discusses the issues associated with decision making under uncertainty and the perspectives, needs, and expectations of scientists, policy makers, and resource users. Starting from the position that drought is a risk to be managed, it considers the implications of the predicted impacts of future climate change. The book also examines the policy responses to these challenges and the role of scientific input into the policy process. Contributors look at drought risk management in action and how end users in the community incorporate drought science into their decision making. The book concludes with lessons learned about science, policy, and managing uncertainty.

    Get Insight into the Relationship between Science and Policy—and How to Turn That into More Effective Decision Making

    Throughout, the contributors identify possible reasons for differences in the use and application of drought sciences and approach to policy between the two countries, offering valuable insight into the relationship between scientific advice and the policy process. They also highlight the challenges faced at the science–policy interface. Crossing international borders and disciplinary boundaries, this timely collection tackles drought policy development as part of the broader discussion about climate change. Although the focus is on Australia and the United States, many of the lessons learned are relevant for any country dealing with drought.

    Science, Policy, and Wicked Problems
    Linda Courtenay Botterill and Geoff Cockfield

    Section I Managing Risk

    Risk, Expertise, and Drought Management
    Geoff Cockfield

    The Science and Policy of Climate Variability and Climate Change: Intersections and Possibilities
    Geoff Cockfield and Stephen Dovers

    Drought, Climate Change, Farming, and Science: The Interaction of Four Privileged Topics
    Peter Hayman and Lauren Rickards

    Section II Science, Evidence, and Policy

    Scientists and Drought Policy: A US Insider’s Perspective
    Gene Whitney

    Institutionalising the Science–Policy Interface in Australia
    John Kerin and Linda Courtenay Botterill

    Scientific Research in the Drought Policy Process
    Roger Stone and Geoff Cockfield

    Reflections on Evidence-to-Policy Processes
    Daniela Stehlik

    The Promise and Challenge of Evidence-Based Policy Making
    Linda Courtenay Botterill

    Section III From Policy to Action

    Developing Early Warning and Drought Risk Reduction Strategies
    Chad A. McNutt, Michael J. Hayes, Lisa S. Darby, James P. Verdin, and Roger S. Pulwarty

    Ranchers in the United States, Scientific Information, and Drought Risk
    Cody L. Knutson and Tonya R. Haigh

    Drought Science and Policy: The Perspectives of Australian Farmers
    Geoff Cockfield

    Drought, Risk Management, and Policy: Lessons from the Drought Science–Policy Interface
    Linda Courtenay Botterill and Geoff Cockfield



    Dr. Linda Botterill is a professor in Australian public policy in the Faculty of Business, Government & Law at the University of Canberra. Her research interest is the policy development process, particularly the role of values in the policy process with a focus on rural policy. She is widely published in public policy and political science journals and is the author or coeditor of several books.

    Geoff Cockfield is a professor in politics and economics and a research associate in the Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchments at the University of Southern Queensland. Geoff worked in agricultural industries and rural journalism before starting an academic career. With Linda Botterill, he has edited a book on the National Party of Australia and produced a number of articles on agricultural policy in Australia.

    "Drought, Risk Management, and Policy: Decision Making under Uncertainty contributes in a substantial way to this discussion and the ensuing debate on the merits of national drought policy over the traditional crisis management approach. Linda Botterill and Geoff Cockfield are eminently qualified as editors of this volume through their extensive experience with the policy process in Australia and elsewhere. ... Together they have assembled a series of important contributions to the discussion of drought policy, comparing the experiences of Australia with the process that has unfolded in the United States over the past decade. ... it will certainly heighten awareness of the process of drought policy development as part of broader discussions on preparing for an uncertain future climate."
    —From the Series Editor’s Preface by Donald A. Wilhite, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA

    "This book shows how the changing role of scientific evidence and economic argument have made a real difference, but that entrenched attitudes to risk management have their own histories in influencing policy settings. The diverse expertise of the contributors provide breadth of coverage, and a valuable opportunity to learn from comparative studies."
    —Professor Brian Head, The University of Queensland, Australia

    "In this important and timely volume, the authors systematically unpick precisely why droughts are a problem (and to whom) then rigorously analyze what can and should be done (and by whom) to mitigate the impacts on society as a whole, and on particular sectors of interest. … reveals important - and often surprising - new insights into why, when, where and how governments can usefully and effectively intervene. As the authors note ‘the rhetoric of preparedness and self-sufficiency is not necessarily matched by policy and practice, with governments still using reactive and preferential measures, and farmers still expecting that.’"
    —Dr R Neil Byron, Former Commissioner, Productivity Commission of Australia, Canberra

    "The book will prove invaluable, not only for specialists in agricultural policy, but for anyone concerned with the public role in risk management, and with the broader debate over ‘wicked’ policy problems."
    —John Quiggin, The University of Queensland. Australia