Drought -- National Drought Mitigation Center


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of the American Water Resources Association 33:5 (October 1997), pp. 951–959.


Copyright © 1997 American Water Resources Association. Used by permission.


A number of studies conducted since the late 1970s have evaluated state and federal responses to drought in the United States. Each of these studies identified a number of key issues and impedi-ments that needed to be addressed to improve the nation’s ability to cope with and prepare for future episodes of drought. A content analysis of these studies was performed to identify common threads in their recommendations. The premise of this analysis was that the series of drought years that oc-curred between 1986 and 1992 and recurred between 1994 and 1996 increased awareness of our na-tion’s continuing and apparent growing vulnerability to drought. This awareness has led to greater consensus among principal constituents and stakeholders, and also a greater sense of urgency to implement actions now to lessen vulnerability. The results of this analysis revealed that several themes recur: create an integrated national drought policy and plan; develop an integrated national climate monitoring (drought watch) system; incorporate drought in FEMA’s National Mitigation Strategy; conduct post-drought audits of response efforts; establish regional drought forums; and encourage development of state drought mitigation plans.