An overview of our second fieldtrip

By Sally Rangecroft

Just over a month ago we landed back in South Africa for the second field season in Folovhodwe. The aim, the research team and the length of field season were all slightly different to before.


This field season had the aim to produce the main outputs for the CreativeDrought project: the stories from the community created through a series of interdisciplinary and interactive workshops held in Folovhodwe.

In the first field season we had spoken to community members about their past experiences with drought through narrative group interviews, as well as gaining insight knowledge about the catchment, the community, the water governance context and the water users and water sources in Folovhodwe.

This time, we held small workshops with the aim of encouraging participants to think about possible future droughts and exchange stories about the possible impacts, but more importantly, what actions they might be able to take or request to help them reduce some of those impacts. These were presented as three tasks for the workshops to complete: i) creating a story of the impacts of the future scenario drought event described to them; ii) exchanging ideas between two groups (of either a different occupation, or a different age generation) about what adaptation and preparation actions could be taken on the individual level, the community level or the governmental level; iii) with the final task being that they generate a new story involving some of their chosen adaptation and preparation strategies and how they might help during the future scenario drought event.

The idea behind the structure of these future drought narratives workshops was due to the focus on preparedness and adaptation. Although it is not possible to avoid drought, its impacts can be managed through preparedness planning (Edossa et al., 2014) (Figure below).

disaster management cycle

The disaster management cycle (Vicente-Serrano et al., 2012)


We invited the participants to imagine a drought event set in the future based on the storyline we delivered to them. The storyline, a description, was generated from the hydrological modelling results, and was different for each individual scenarios used. In the modelling side of the CreativeDrought project we investigated four different scenarios ready for the workshops:

1) Baseline run: represents present day using recent data from 1979-2013. This acts as a comparison for the future scenarios;

2) Warmer temperatures scenario: representing the expected average temperature increases for the region by 2050, +3 °C;

3) A larger irrigation scheme scenario: representing a doubling in the size of the irrigation scheme from present day in Folovhodwe, and an associated doubling of water being diverted from the river for it;

4) No dams scenario: representing a situation where the two dams in the catchment acting as water stores are not there anymore, something which could happen if they weren’t maintained.

Research team:

We returned with a larger field team to enable two workshops taking place simultaneously to include more participants. The original UK fieldwork team of Mel, Sally and Anne flew out, joined by CreativeDrought Co-Investigator Lindsey McEwen. Eugine joined from Zimbabwe, and our local contacts team doubled, with the return of Chimangi and Livhuwani and the addition of Ndivhuwo and Khutadzo.



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