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Breaking the Breaking the Hydro Hydro - - illogical illogical ...

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  • 1. Breaking the Hydro-illogical Cycle: Progress or Status Quo for Drought Management in the U.S.? Donald A. Wilhite, Director School of Natural Resources Breaking the Hydro-illogical Cycle: An Institutional Challenge Crisis Managemen t
  • 2. Breaking the Hydro-illogical Cycle • Accepting drought as a normal part of climate. Breaking the Hydro-illogical Cycle • Accepting drought as a normal part of climate. • Adopting a pro-active (preparedness) vs. reactive (crisis management) approach for drought management. • Understanding drought impacts as an indicator of vulnerability. – Vulnerability assessment is a crucial element of drought planning.
  • 3. Drought impacts today are more complex since more economic sectors are affected, creating more conflicts between water users. Breaking the Hydro-illogical Cycle • Accepting drought as a normal part of climate. • Adopting a pro-active (preparedness) vs. reactive (crisis management) approach for drought management. • Understanding drought impacts as an indicator of vulnerability. – Vulnerability assessment is a crucial element of drought planning. • Understanding society as dynamic—each drought event is different and superimposed over existing societal characteristics. – Impacts reflect changing vulnerabilities; the need for adaptation and mitigation.
  • 4. Population Growth (% change, 1990-2000) The Cycle of Disaster Management Adopting a new paradigm for drought management!
  • 5. Progress Towards Drought Risk Management in the U.S. • Widespread drought conditions/serious and diverse impacts—late 1980s to early 1990s. Progress Towards Drought Risk Management in the U.S. • Widespread drought conditions/serious and diverse impacts—late 1980s to early 1990s. • Formation of the National Drought Mitigation Center in 1995. – Catalyst for change – Program emphasis Vulnerability Reduction • Improved monitoring and awareness • Risk/vulnerability assessment • Mitigation planning and policy development • National Drought Policy Act, 1998. • National Drought Policy Commission Report, 2000.
  • 6. Progress Towards Drought Risk Management in the U.S. • National Drought Preparedness Act – Introduced in U.S. Congress in 2001, 2003, and 2005. • Concept of National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) proposed in 2004. • Passage of the NIDIS bill by Congress, 2006. • Continued widespread, severe drought to present has kept drought as a national focus. • Climatic trends in west (warming, reduced snowpack, water scarcity). • IPCC 2007 report—more frequent, severe droughts of longer duration. Moving towards a more risk- based management approach • Components of effective drought planning – Monitoring, comprehensive and integrated early warning systems, and effective/timely delivery systems. – Risk assessment to identify vulnerable groups, sectors, and regions – Mitigation measures identified and implemented. – Policy development to drive behavioral change at all levels. • Elements for success – Awareness—public and political – Political will/support – Stakeholder recognition of the need for change.
  • 7. Support for RISK-BASED DROUGHT MITIGATION PLANNING . . . . Federal Regional State/Local/ Tribal has been from the BOTTOM UP!
  • 8. Response Mitigation Increasing need for more reliable seasonal forecasts/outlooks Increasing need for timely, reliable climate/water supply assessments Increasing need for higher resolution analysis for policy/decision support
  • 9. Progress has been impressive . . . . more products on the way! Drought Monitoring at the Continental Scale
  • 10. Assessing and Archiving Impacts The progression to drought mitigation planning . . . . . Demand for mitigation planning Development of new monitoring tools a synergistic relationship!!
  • 11. 2004 2007 National Integrated Drought Information System NIDIS (social factors) Widely adopted as the new paradigm for drought management.
  • 12. Drought Management in the U.S.: Next Steps! • NIDIS provides an opportunity to improve our drought early warning system, linking federal, state, and local efforts, it also provides the opportunity to: – Build greater resilience to drought through improve planning and adaptation. • More emphasis on drought mitigation planning. • Federal government needs to provide leadership/incentives. – Increase emphasis on risk management to lessen the need for reactive, costly response measures. • Mitigation is more cost-effective than emergency response. – Form a coherent national drought policy that ultimately reduces societal vulnerability. – Manage for climate variability and change! Thanks! dwilhite2@unl.edu School of Natural Resources snr.unl.edu ©2009 The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska. All rights reserved.