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The 1997–98 El Niño event has certainly raised the public’s level of awareness of the impact of climate on society. Although the concern in the United States has focused more on mitigating the potential effects of floods, not all regions of the country are dealing with water surplus situations. An emerging drought in Montana and parts of some surrounding states has caught the attention of scientists and policy makers in recent months. Worldwide, droughts in Central America, Mexico, Brazil, Hawaii, some Pacific island nations, Indonesia, Australia, southern Africa, and elsewhere have attracted the attention of scientists, policy makers, and the media.
Now, as El Niño has lessened in intensity, the threat of La Niña is upon us. Concerns are increasing that the drought in Mexico and parts of the southern United States may intensify and spread into surrounding states in the Southwest. The National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) is currently working with the U.S./Mexico International Boundary Water Commission and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to organize an August training workshop on drought contingency planning to address shortand long-term issues of drought in the border states region. This workshop will be similar to regional workshops the NDMC organized in 1997–98. Since the last issue of Drought Network News, the NDMC has conducted workshops in South Carolina for the Southeast region and in Kentucky for the Midwest and Northeast regions. In additional to the usual mix of participants from local, state, and federal agencies attending these workshops, we have also had representatives from Taiwan, Mexico, Hungary, Korea, and Australia as participants.