Drought -- National Drought Mitigation Center


Date of this Version



Published in Drought: A Global Assessment, Vol. II, edited by Donald A. Wilhite, chap. 40, pp. 158–167 (London: Routledge, 2000).

Note: This chapter is reprinted from Journal of the American Water Resources Association, vol. 33, no. 5, October 1977, pp. 951–59.


Copyright © 2000 Donald A. Wilhite for the selection and editorial matter; individual chapters, the contributors.


Severe drought affected large portions of the United States during the winter, spring, and summer months of 1995–96. This event triggered a significant response effort by both state and federal government in the drought-stricken states of the Southwest and southern Great Plains. A federal interagency multistate drought task force was formed in late May. This task force, coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), organized a workshop (FEMA 1996a) in late June to evaluate and assess drought-relief pro-grams available from federal, state, and local agencies for the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Other federal agencies participating in this task force included the Department of Agriculture, Corps of Engineers, Department of Interior, and Small Business Administration. The goal of this task force was to develop “an overall strategy to mitigate the effects of this devastating situation” (FEMA 1996b). This strategy was intended to include both short- and long-term actions that could be applied in the drought region.