Community and Regional Planning Program


Date of this Version

Fall 11-30-2020


A PROFESSIONAL PROJECT Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Community and Regional Planning. Lincoln, Nebraska, November 2020.

Advisory Committee: Professor Zhenghong Tang (Chair), Professor Yunwoo Nam, Professor Dan Piatkowski

Client: National Drought Mitigation Center: Kelly Helm Smith (Assistant Director and Communication Coordinator)

Copyright (c) 2020 RaeAnna Hartsgrove


Drought is a lingering and costly disaster and can cause billions of dollars of damage throughout the United States. Drought produces social, economic, and environmental impacts which makes it become a disaster. Due to the long-lasting and intense effects, drought research is needed to understand weather and climate more efficiently so that preparedness, mitigation, response recovery, and resilience is more effective. Policies that include drought mitigation are shown to reduce the likelihood that drought become disasters. The National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) has been working on a new web-based tool to identify which plans in a state address key aspects of drought planning. The goal is to incorporate comprehensive drought planning in existing drought, water, multi-hazard, and climate plans. How are plans addressing drought and risks associate with it? How can we tell states are addressing these comprehensively? Is more experience with drought a lead motivator for comprehensive planning? Does a state’s tax base link to a more comprehensive planning approach? Using selected criteria inspired by James Schwab to view how states are addressing drought in their plans, interviews from key state drought planners, how often states are in a drought, and state tax revenues, we concluded that there is limited to moderate support that increased drought exposure is correlated with a greater comprehensive score and that a state’s tax base is not determined to lead to improved planning. We found that a state’s experience with drought is a lead motivator for state agencies to create drought plans and incorporate drought within other planning documents. It is recommended that if NDMC continues with the web-based tool and uses this approach to show each state’s comprehensive planning efforts that they update plans often enough so that planners can view their progress and efforts in drought planning.

Advisory Committee: Professor Zhenghong Tang (Chair), Professor Yunwoo Nam, Professor Dan Piatkowski