Date of this Version
Published in Drought and Drought Mitigation in Europe, edited by Jürgen V. Vogt and Francesca Somma, pp. 119–131 (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000).
Since 1986, the United States has experienced numerous droughts causing billions of dollars in losses in many economic, social, and environmental sectors. To lessen the risks associated with drought, governments at all levels have taken greater interest in drought planning, with the greatest progress coming at the state level. However, state plans, and recent actions taken by states in response to drought, have been largely reactive, emphasizing short-term actions over long-term planning. The National Drought Mitigation Center’s program is directed toward helping governments and others lessen societal vulnerability to drought. The NDMC provides a national drought information clearinghouse; assists state, federal, and regional entities in drought planning; advises on policy issues; and interacts with scientists on an international level. The establishment of the National Drought Policy Commission by the U.S. Congress in 1997 indicates a new commitment to a national drought policy that emphasizes risk management, but the accomplishment of this commission is uncertain at this time.