Incorporating Streamflow Forecasts with Aggregate Drought Indices for the Management of Water Supply
Streamflow forecasts and common drought indicators were evaluated for suitability to inform drought mitigation actions for the city of Baltimore's water supply system. Preliminary streamflow forecasts developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Mid-Atlantic River Forecast Center (MARFC) were incorporated with other key drought indices, including the standardized precipitation index, days of storage remaining (DSR) index, and Palmer drought severity index in an aggregate drought index to classify drought severity and to trigger drought mitigation actions. Aggregate drought indices were evaluated in the drought action response tool, a simulation model created for this research. Results show that the combined forecast and drought indicators improve water supply operations, allowing the Baltimore system to maintain reliable supply and preserve storage throughout periods of drought. The DSR metric constructed from MARFC forecasts is recommended for incorporation into the city of Baltimore's drought management plan to facilitate proactive drought response.