Date of this Version
Past attempts to manage drought and its impacts through a reactive, crisis management approach have been ineffective, poorly coordinated, and untimely, as illustrated by the hydro- illogical cycle in Figure 1. The crisis management approach has been followed in both developed and developing countries. Because of the ineffectiveness of this approach, greater interest has evolved in recent years in the adoption of a more proactive risk-based management approach in some countries (see Chapter 6). Other countries are striving to obtain a higher level of preparedness through development of national action programs that are part of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) or as part of separate national initiatives. In part, these actions directly result from the occurrence of recent severe drought episodes that have persisted for several consecutive years or frequent episodes that have occurred in succession with short respites for recovery between events. Global warming, with its threat of an increased frequency of drought events in the future, has also caused greater anxiety about the absence of preparation for drought, which is a normal part of climate. Other factors that have contributed to this trend toward improved drought preparedness and policy development are spiraling costs or impacts associated with drought, complexity of impacts on sectors well beyond agriculture, increasing social and environmental effects, and rising water conflicts between users.