Drought -- National Drought Mitigation Center


Date of this Version



Published in Regional and State Water Resources Planning and Management, proceedings of a symposium held in San Antonio, Texas (October 1983), pp. 171–178


Copyright © 1983 American Water Resources Association. Used by permission


Government response to the mid-1970s drought in the United States is reviewed and evaluated with regard to the general “state of preparedness” and timeliness of federal and state actions. From this review it is apparent that to improve the response of government to future drought, it will be necessary to better define the role of state and federal government. Although federal government must assume responsibility for gathering and distributing general information about drought conditions, it is recommended that states must assume a greater role in collecting, analyzing, and disseminating, in a timely manner, properly packaged information about drought conditions and water supplies. For more reliable assessments of agricultural impacts, crop-specific drought indices are needed to determine probable impacts. Federal and state government should share in these developmental efforts. Drought response plans need to be formulated by state and federal government to improve our “state of preparedness.” Plans at both the federal and state levels should focus on organizational aspects of drought response. Federal assistance programs, tailored for drought-related impacts, must be available “on the shelf” to avoid delays in program formulation and congressional approval.