Drought -- National Drought Mitigation Center


Date of this Version



Hydro Review August 1993 pp. 136-148


The late 1980s and early 1990s will long be remembered for severe water shortages-a consequence of numerous consecutive years of drought over extensive portions of the U.S. In particular, many Americans will remember the 1988 drought for its wide-ranging economical, societal, and environmental effects. These effects went far beyond those normally associated with drought (i.e. , reductions in agricultural crop yields). Increased incidence of forest fires, curtailments in barge traffic on the Mississippi and other river systems, reduced recreational opportunities, higher energy use in response to much higher-than-normal temperatures, and mandatory restrictions on municipal water use are among the documented effects of the 1988 drought. Hydropower production, too, suffered during 1988 compared to long-term generation averages. All regions throughout the U.S. except the Plains states experienced reduced hydropower generation, as illustrated in Table 1.