Date of this Version
Published in Water Resources Bulletin 22:3 (June 1986), pp. 425–438.
Federal and state governments in the United States and Australia have come to play a key role in attempts to mitigate the impact of drought. Government actions have usually taken the form of loans and grants to individual citizens, businesses, and municipalities experiencing the hardship of drought. Most of these actions have occurred in an environment of crisis management, rather than as a result of clearly stated policy objectives. Based on a review and evaluation of recent drought policy in the United States and Australia, recommendations are offered on ways to improve the United States’ approach. A national drought plan is suggested as an efficient mechanism through which these recommendations could be implemented. States should also become more actively involved in drought assessment and response, but these actions must be coordinated with federal actions.