Date of this Version
Published in Natural Hazards Review, Vol. 15, No. 1 (February 1, 2014), pp 95-99. doi 10.1061/(ASCE)NH.1527-6996.0000094
Drought preparedness programs are considered a primary defense against drought hazards. This article investigates state drought programs in the western United States, including a review of drought plans and interviews with state drought officials. While nearly all states have developed drought plans and larger drought programs, the scope and depth of these programs vary widely. State programs and plans typically address monitoring, declaration and response, and communication and coordination. Yet few states conduct postdrought assessments or impact and risk assessments. Resources tend to be allocated more for drought response than mitigation. Officials emphasized not only the importance of available monitoring data, but also the need for improved information for monitoring and predicting drought. State drought officials recommended the following: (1) clear and relevant drought indicators and triggers; (2) frequent communication and coordination among state agencies, local governments, and stakeholders; (3) regularly updated drought plans; and (4) strong leadership that includes a full-time state drought coordinator.