Drought -- National Drought Mitigation Center


Date of this Version



Published in Natural Hazards 64:1 (2012), pp. 139–151. doi: 10.1007/s11069-012-0231-4


Copyright © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Used by permission.


This paper explores the value of triggers and declarations in the management of drought, bringing together two disciplinary perspectives, those of the public policy scholar and the climate scientist. These two perspectives highlight the complexity of the development and use of triggers in drought risk management by drawing on the experience of the United States, which has the most sophisticated system of drought triggers in the world, and that of Australia that has the most developed and longest standing national drought policy based on principles of risk management. The paper explores the advantages and disadvantages of triggers in managing drought, concluding that triggers are useful risk management tools at the individual level but become problematic and can lead to perverse outcomes when linked to some forms of government support programs.