After nearly a century of ad hoc drought management, the United States needs
a new paradigm centered on risk management.
BY DONALD A. WILHITE
o the casual observer, it may appear that in the past drought. This drought also coin-
five years, drought has been a more common visitor cided with the formation of the
to the American landscape. Drought conditions rav- National Drought Policy Commis-
aged the southwestern and south-central states dur- sion, a partnership between fed-
ing 1995 and 1996, raising havoc in many economic eral agencies and nonfederal rep-
sectors. It also caused serious environmental and so- resentatives from tribal, munici-
cial hardships. Drought has persisted in each year pal, and other interest groups. The
since, affecting most areas in the country on at least one occasion and Congress and the president
several regions for three or more consecutive years. charged the commission with de-
From the policy perspective, the most significant droughts may have termining a new direction for
been the episode of 1995 and 1996, which sparked a series of initia- drought management in the
tives, and the 1999 drought, which struck the eastern United States. United States–one emphasizing
risk management over crisis man-
Extending from New England Although drought conditions agement.
through most of the Southeast, are common in the eastern United
this last drought persisted for States, the intensity, duration, and Too Little, Too Late
nearly 12 months from mid-1998 spatial extent of this event caused rought is normal in vir-
through late summer 1999, and great concern. This drought cap- tually all portions of
garnered considerable attention tured the attention of the major the United States. It is
because of its wide-ranging and news media in the drought-affected a recurring, inevitable
complex impacts on agriculture, area, and they questioned whether feature of climate. The Federal
forestry, water supply, and tour- this region and the nation were ad- Emergency Management Agency
ism and recreation. equately prepared for extreme (FEMA) estimates average annual
20 s FORUM for Applied Research and Public Policy
losses because of drought in the tematically addresses these con- agers—need a better understand-
United States to be $6 billion to straints, whether perceived or real. ing of the phenomenon before try-
$8 billion, more than for any other Scientists and professional or- ing to establish plans that reduce
natural hazard. 1 Yet the United ganizations have issued numerous vulnerability for future genera-
States, as well as most other na- calls for action to develop a na- tions. 5
tions, is ill-prepared to deal with tional drought policy, but these Drought is different from other
the consequences of drought. have produced little in the way of natural hazards such as floods,
Historically, our nation’s ap- progress. Yet, thanks to the Na- earthquakes, and tornadoes, which
proach to drought management tional Drought Policy Act of 19983 occur swiftly and with clearly
has been to offer relief to the and the subsequent report issued visible results. All droughts origi-
affected area. These emergency re- by the National Drought Policy nate from a significant reduction in
sponse programs are for the most
part too little, too late. More im-
portantly, drought relief does little Drought is the Rodney Dangerfield of natural
if anything to reduce the vulnerabil-
ity of the affected area to future hazards; it doesn’t get the respect that other
drought events. On the contrary,
considerable evidence suggests that
government relief actually increases natural hazards do.
vulnerability to future events by in-
creasing the recipients’ dependence Commission to Congress and the precipitation extended over a season
on government and by encouraging president, we now can develop a or longer. Humans can exacerbate
resource managers to maintain the coherent national policy that em- drought, however, by over-allocat-
very strategies that place industry, phasizes drought preparedness and ing water supplies so demand may
utilities, the community, and indi- mitigation. 4 We are at a critical greatly exceed supply in water-short
viduals at risk. Improving drought crossroads for drought policy. Will years. Poor land management prac-
management will require a new para- we continue down the road of cri- tices such as overgrazing can also de-
digm, one that encourages prepared- sis management or move toward grade the productivity of the natu-
ness and mitigation by applying the risk management? ral landscape, thus increasing vul-
principles of risk management. nerability to drought.
The lack of progress in drought Profiles of Drought Many definitions of drought ex-
preparedness is often blamed on rought may be one of ist, reflecting the different climatic
constraints that are fallacious, no the most complex and characteristics between regions and
longer exist, or represent only a least understood of all the wide range of impacts that can
minor deterrent to improved natural hazards, af- occur on various economic sectors
drought management. 2 The argu- fecting more people than any other and the environment.
ment goes that drought is unpre- hazard. It is a normal feature of Droughts are commonly classi-
dictable; that it is hard to moni- climate and its recurrence is inevi- fied as meteorological, agricultural,
tor because it develops slowly; that table. Confusion about its charac- and hydrological. Meteorological
data on climate and water supply teristics, however, has meant that drought occurs when there is a sig-
are inadequate; that information effective management in most parts nificant deficiency of precipitation
delivery systems are inadequate; of the world has received short compared with what is normal or
that a lack of coordination exists shrift. Drought, in fact, is the expected over some extended pe-
between and within government Rodney Dangerfield of natural riod of time. Agricultural drought
agencies responsible for monitor- hazards; that is, it doesn’t get the results when deficiencies in pre-
ing drought, managing water sup- respect that other natural hazards cipitation lead to a reduction in
ply, and planning for and respond- do, given the magnitude of its soil moisture that retards plant
ing to drought; and that suitable impacts. Scientists, policymakers, growth and development and, ul-
planning methodologies are un- and decision makers—including timately, yield. Hydrological
available. Drought planning sys- farmers and natural resource man- drought, on the other hand, oc-
Spring 2001 s 21
curs when an extended precipita- periods of water shortage because and extreme drought affected more
tion shortfall affects surface and of large investments in water stor- than 25 percent of the country in
subsurface water supply, which is age and transmission facilities. Pre- 27 of the past 100 years. During
measured by monitoring stream cisely because the eastern states the drought of 1934, more than
flow, reservoir and lake levels, and have fewer droughts, the region is 60 percent of the 48 contiguous
groundwater. generally less prepared to mitigate states experienced severe or extreme
Hydrological droughts are usu- and respond to its effects. drought conditions.
ally out of phase with meteorologi- Drought differs from other
cal and agricultural droughts since natural hazards in several critical Human Component
a time lapse occurs between defi- ways, which complicates monitor- any people consider
ciencies in precipitation and the ing, impact assessment, mitiga- drought to be largely
a natural or phys-
ical event. In reality,
Drought, like other natural hazards, has both a drought, like other natural haz-
ards, has both a natural and a so-
natural and a social component, and human activity cial component, and human activ-
ity can either mitigate or worsen
the physical effects. Of course, we
can either mitigate or worsen the physical effects. can’t change the weather, or me-
teorological drought, which oc-
lowering of reservoirs or ground- tion, and response. First, drought curs through persistent large-scale
water. In addition, water in hydro- is a slow-onset, creeping, natural disruptions in the global circula-
logical storage systems such as res- hazard, so it’s hard to determine tion pattern of the atmosphere.
ervoirs and rivers is often used for when it begins and ends. Its ef- But we can change some of the
multiple and competing purposes fects often accumulate slowly over social factors that determine our
such as drinking water, power gen- a considerable period of time and vulnerability to drought.
eration, flood control, irrigation, may linger for years after the event Our population is not only in-
and recreation. Competition for is over. Scientists and policymakers creasing but also shifting from
water in these storage systems es- continue to debate the criteria for humid to more arid climates—
calates during drought, increasing declaring an end to a drought. such as from the Northeast and
conflicts among water users. Second, the absence of a precise Midwest to the Sunbelt and the
No wonder there’s a lack of and universally accepted definition western states—and from rural to
progress in drought management. of drought adds to the confusion urban settings. Urban growth
If scientists can’t agree on what about whether or not a drought strains limited water supplies and
drought is, or how severe it is, how exists and, if it does, its degree of water supply systems, especially
can policymakers know when to severity. Realistically, definitions during periods of peak demand.
act? A meteorologist, agronomist, of drought must be specific to re- An increasingly urbanized popu-
and hydrologist may well pro- gions and impacts. lation is also increasing conflict
vide three distinctly different re- Third, drought does not affect between agricultural and urban
sponses to the question, are we in buildings, roads, and other struc- water users, a trend that will only
a drought? More important, they tures, and it is more geographically be exacerbated in the future.
may all be correct. widespread than other natural haz- As the population increases, so
Droughts occur more frequently ards. does pressure on natural resources.
in the West and usually last longer These peculiar characteristics of To improve drought management,
there, but the droughts of 1998 drought make quantifying its im- we need to use natural resources
through 2000 have demonstrated pacts and providing disaster relief in a more sustainable manner. This
the vulnerability of eastern states far more difficult than for other will require a partnership between
to severe and extended periods of natural hazards. The National individuals and government. Fur-
low rainfall. Yet the West is cur- Drought Mitigation Center, how- ther complicating the picture, in
rently better equipped to manage ever, recently determined that for the future the effects of drought
water supplies during extended the 48 contiguous states, severe will fall harder on some economic
22 s FORUM for Applied Research and Public Policy
sectors, population groups, and re- range planning during a non- plans largely focused on response
gions. Greater awareness of our drought period could have averted efforts; today the trend is for states
environment and the need to pre- or reduced the risk. to place greater emphasis on miti-
serve and restore environmental Should society subsidize poor gation as the fundamental element
quality is placing greater pressure land and water managers or reward of a drought plan. Enhancing
on all of us to be better stewards those who plan ahead or adopt ap- monitoring and early warning sys-
of natural and biological resources. propriate management practices? tems and conducting comprehen-
One thing is certain: continu- Risk management is aimed at the sive risk assessments of vulnerable
ing to address the effects of latter—crisis management, the population groups, economic sec-
drought in a reactive, crisis-man- former. The implementation of a tors, and areas are key components
agement mode will do little to re- national drought policy in Austra- of the planning process.
duce the impacts of these events
in the future. In fact, this approach
has been shown to increase vulner-
If the government continues to bail out the people
ability to drought in the long term
because it increases dependence on most affected by drought, they will have no
government, which, in turn, de-
creases self-reliance. If the govern-
ment continues to bail out the incentive to protect the natural resource base.
people most affected by drought,
they will have no incentive to lia in 1992 changed that nation’s Other mitigation strategies in-
adopt methods to protect the natu- approach to drought management. clude public education, conflict
ral resource base. (See “Water Policy Adrift” in this is- resolution actions among water
In arid and semi-arid Australia, sue of FORUM.) We should learn users, and measures that augment
the best land managers have from their experience. supply and manage demand.
learned that foresight and plan- Texas, for example, is developing
ning can lessen the devastating ef- Mitigating Disaster a statewide drought plan that in-
fects of inevitable long dry spells. n the absence of a coherent cludes a requirement for local com-
By applying appropriate farm national drought-manage- munities to develop drought plans.
management practices, farmers can ment strategy, an increasing Georgia’s drought plan will in-
reduce many of the risks associated number of states have clude a state framework with a se-
with drought, thus minimizing stepped in to fill the void, creating ries of more specific regional plans,
their losses. 6 Drought relief in their own drought plans during the such as for the metro Atlanta area
Australia is now provided only past two decades. 7 In 1982, only and the Flint River basin.
during exceptional drought con- three states had drought plans in Utah and Nebraska have revised
ditions. In the United States, how- place. By 2000, 30 states had de- their plans to further emphasize
ever, the recipients of drought re- veloped plans and six states were at mitigation, and Colorado is in the
lief are typically those who do not various stages of developing a plan. revision process. New Mexico,
implement appropriate manage- The basic goal of state drought which first developed a drought
ment strategies when faced with plans should be to improve the ef- plan in 1998, now has mitigation
impending drought or those who fectiveness of preparedness and re- as the primary ingredient of its
manage the land resource in sponse efforts by enhancing moni- plan. Texas, Hawaii, and Georgia
nonsustainable ways by overgraz- toring and early warning, risk and are following a similar course. As
ing, planting inappropriate crops, impact assessment, and mitigation states gain more experience with
applying inappropriate tillage and response. drought planning and mitigation
practices, or storing inadequate re- Plans should also contain pro- actions, the trend toward mitiga-
serves of fodder for livestock. Ur- visions to improve coordination tion is expected to continue.
ban areas may seek federal or state within agencies of state govern- Initially, states were slow to de-
grants or loans when water sup- ment and between local and fed- velop drought plans because the
plies are at risk when, in fact, long- eral government. Initially, drought planning process was unfamiliar.
Spring 2001 s 23
With the development of drought age. All of these actions can help and consistent with the goals of
planning models and the availabil- to improve public awareness of the sustainable development.
ity of a greater number of plans importance of water management Drought policy should empha-
for comparison, drought planning and the value of protecting our size risk management through the
has become a less mysterious pro- limited water resources. application of preparedness and
cess. 8 As states initiate the plan- mitigation. In advance of drought,
ning process, they first study the Leading the Way planning needs to be encouraged
drought plans of other states to ith the tremendous at all levels of government, moni-
compare methodology and orga- advances in drought toring and early warning systems
nizational structure. planning at the state must be integrated and improved,
The rapid adoption of drought level in recent years, risk assessments should be con-
plans is also a clear indication of it should come as no surprise that ducted, and mitigation actions
their benefits. Drought plans pro- states have been extremely frus- and programs should be identified
and implemented. These actions
will increase the level of readiness
Unlike other natural disasters, there is no lead and improve operational and in-
stitutional capabilities for respond-
federal agency for drought programs. ing to a drought. Mitigation—
short-term and long-term actions,
programs, or policies imple-
vide the framework for improved trated with the lack of progress at mented during and in advance of
coordination within and between the federal level. Early into the drought—reduces the degree of
levels of government. Compre- 1995-1996 drought, the lack of risk to human life, property, and
hensive, integrated early warning leadership and coordination at the productivity.
and monitoring systems enhance federal level quickly became obvi- Emergency response, however,
the delivery of information to de- ous, as attempts to access drought will always be a part of drought
cision makers at all levels. Many assistance programs were unsuc- management since we cannot
states now use the Internet to dis- cessful because federal programs avoid or reduce all potential im-
seminate information to decision had been discontinued, were pacts through mitigation pro-
makers as well as to businesses, underfunded, or in some cases had grams. In addition, it is probable
farmers, the banks that provide not received appropriations from that a future drought will exceed
loans to farmers, and individual Congress. the drought of record and, there-
homeowners. These websites Unlike other natural disasters fore, the capacity of a region to
provide current information on where Federal Emergency Manage- respond.
drought severity, water-use re- ment Agency (FEMA) provides Emergency response should be
strictions, water conservation rec- leadership and coordinates federal used sparingly, however, and only
ommendations, key contacts with- response efforts, there is no lead in a way that supports long-term
in state and federal agencies, and federal agency for drought pro- goals and objectives.
other timely information. grams. This failure of leadership A national drought policy should
Through drought plans, the continued in later droughts. Re- also reduce risk by developing
risks associated with drought can cent initiatives toward developing better awareness and understanding
be better defined and addressed a national drought policy are the of the hazard and the underlying
with active mitigation and re- direct result of those frustrations. causes of societal vulnerability. A
sponse programs. The planning A national drought policy risk-management approach pro-
process also allows the numerous should establish a clear set of prin- motes improved forecasts as well as
stakeholders to be involved early ciples to govern the management integrated monitoring and early
and often in plan development. of drought and its impacts. The warning systems, encourages pre-
This increases the probability that policy should be consistent and paredness plans and mitigation
conflicts between water users will equitable for all regions, popula- programs at various levels of gov-
not escalate during times of short- tion groups, and economic sectors ernment, and supports a safety net
24 s FORUM for Applied Research and Public Policy
of emergency response programs the severe impacts of drought in Fourth, states strongly requested
that ensure timely and targeted 1996, FEMA was directed to chair that a single federal agency be ap-
relief. a multi-state task force to address pointed to coordinate drought pre-
the drought situation in the South- paredness and response.
Sense of Urgency west and southern Great Plains The drought of 1996 also spurred
alls for action on drought states. The purpose of the task development of a drought task force
policy and plan develop- force was to coordinate the federal under the leadership of the West-
ment in the United States response to problems in the ern Governors’ Association. Formed
date back to at least the drought-stricken region by iden- in June 1996 as a result of a resolu-
late 1970s. Today, the federal tifying needs, applicable pro- tion offered by Governor Gary
government’s failure to adequately grams, and program barriers. The Johnson of New Mexico, the task
address the spiraling impacts of task force was also directed to sug- force emphasized the importance
drought has provoked a growing
number of calls for action.
Clearly, the traditional, reactive, Clearly, the traditional, reactive, crisis
crisis management approach,
which has relied on ad hoc inter- management approach isn’t working.
agency committees that are
quickly disbanded following the
end of a drought, isn’t working. gest ways to improve drought man- of a comprehensive, integrated
The lessons—the successes and agement through short- and long- drought response.
failures—of these responses have term national actions. The task force made several im-
quickly been forgotten, and the The final report contained sev- portant recommendations. First, a
failures are simply repeated with eral important long-term recom- national drought policy is needed
the next event. mendations. to integrate actions and responsi-
In response, a number of state First, the task force called for the bilities among all levels of govern-
organizations, scientific panels, development of a national drought ment. The policy should empha-
and federal agencies—including policy based on the philosophy of size preparedness, response, and
the Western Governors’ Policy Of- cooperation with state and local mitigation measures.
fice, General Accounting Office, stakeholders. This policy should Second, states should develop
National Academy of Sciences, include a national climate and contingency plans to provide early
Great Lakes Commission, Inter- drought monitoring system to pro- warning of drought to stakehold-
state Council on Water Policy, U.S. vide early warning of the onset and ers, short- and long-term mitiga-
Environmental Protection Agency, severity of drought to federal, tion and response programs, along
American Meteorological Society, state, and local officials. with triggers for the start-up and
Office of Technology Assessment, Second, the task force suggested shut-down of these programs.
FEMA, Western Governors’ Asso- that a regional forum be created Third, a regional drought coor-
ciation, and Western Water Policy to assess regional needs and re- dinating council should be created
Review Advisory Commission— sources, identify critical areas and to develop sustainable policy,
have issued calls for action. 9 The interests, provide reliable and monitor drought conditions, as-
diversity of these stakeholders il- timely information, and coordinate sess state-level responses, identify
lustrates the extent of drought’s state actions. impacts and issues for resolution,
impact on the economy and envi- Third, the task force asked and work in partnership with the
ronment and the growing concern FEMA to include drought as one federal government to address
over the ineffectiveness of prior of the natural hazards addressed drought-related needs.
response efforts to address the in the National Mitigation Strat- Fourth, a federal interagency
complex, spiraling impacts of egy, given the substantial costs as- coordinating group should be es-
drought in a timely and equitable sociated with its occurrence and tablished with a designated lead
fashion. the numerous opportunities avail- agency for drought coordination
More recently, in response to able to mitigate its effects. with states and regional agencies.
Spring 2001 s 25
The FEMA and Western Gov- tional climate-monitoring system entists and managers to enhance
ernors’ Association reports have in support of that policy, as well observation networks, monitoring,
spurred a number of important as to develop state drought miti- prediction, information delivery,
policy initiatives. In early 1997, gation plans. Although impacts and applied research, as well as
FEMA, Western Governors’ Asso- of drought occur mainly at the lo- foster public understanding of and
ciation, the Small Business Ad- cal, state, and regional level, this preparedness for drought;
ministration, and the U.S. depart- study concluded that it was im- s Develop and incorporate com-
ments of Agriculture, Interior, and perative for the federal government prehensive insurance and financial
Commerce signed a memorandum to provide the leadership necessary strategies into drought prepared-
of understanding calling for a part- to improve the way the nation ness plans;
s Maintain a safety net of emer-
gency relief that emphasizes sound
A national drought policy is needed to integrate stewardship of natural resources
and self-help; and
s Coordinate drought programs
actions and responsibilities among all levels of
and resources effectively and effi-
ciently and in a customer-oriented
The National Drought Policy
nership among federal, state, lo- prepares for and responds to Commission further recommended
cal, and tribal governments to re- drought. creation of a long-term National
duce drought impacts in the west- The severe drought of 1996 and Drought Council composed of fed-
ern United States. This MOU the initiatives it inspired also led eral and nonfederal members to
resulted in the following actions: Senator Pete Domenici and Con- implement the recommendations of
s The formation of the Western gressman Joe Skeen of New Mexico the commission. The commission
Drought Coordination Council to to introduce the National Drought further recommended that Congress
address the recommendations of Policy Act of 1998 in Congress. This designate the secretary of Agricul-
the western governors; bill created the National Drought ture as co-chair of the Council, with
s The designation of the USDA as Policy Commission to “provide a nonfederal co-chair to be elected
the lead federal agency for drought, advice and recommendations on by the nonfederal council members.
to carry out the objectives of the creation of an integrated, coordi- In late 2000, Secretary of Agricul-
MOU; and nated Federal policy designed to ture Dan Glickman established an
s The establishment by USDA of prepare for and respond to serious interim National Drought Council,
a federal interagency drought co- drought emergencies.” pending action on a permanent
ordinating group. In a report submitted to Con- council by the U.S. Congress.
Concurrently, the Western Wa- gress and the president in May The true legacy of the 1995-
ter Policy Review Advisory Com- 2000, the National Drought 1996 drought is not likely to be
mission, created by the Western Policy Commission recommended its economic, environmental, and
Water Policy Act of 1992, reexam- that the United States establish a social impacts, but rather the
ined western water policy. 10 One national drought policy emphasiz- policy initiatives that occurred in
of the reports published by the ing preparedness. The goals of this the post-drought period. These
commission summarized recom- policy would be to: initiatives appear to be changing
mendations from recent studies on s Incorporate planning, imple- the way droughts are viewed, and
drought management that should mentation of plans and mitigation they may change the way droughts
be incorporated in future attempts measures, risk management, re- are managed in the United States.
to integrate drought management source stewardship, environmen- The real question is whether these
and water policy in the West. 11 tal considerations, and public edu- changes will result in permanent
The consensus of these studies cation as key elements of an and substantive modifications in
emphasized the need to create a effective national drought policy; the way government entities deal
national drought policy and a na- s Improve collaboration among sci- with drought.
26 s FORUM for Applied Research and Public Policy
Cloudy Future partnerships” have become com- a series of wet years. Changing the
rought is a normal part monplace. Nevertheless, the men- momentum of the past will be dif-
of climate for essen- tality of most state and federal ficult, but it is critical for the sci-
tially all regions of the government agencies remains re- entific community and the public
United States. Like- sponse oriented. to hold policymakers to this com-
wise, drought relief has become a Existing institutional inertia of mitment. s
common feature of the national federal emergency response pro-
landscape. Shaped over the course grams and the expectations of the Donald A. Wilhite is director of
of the past century and a half, this recipients of assistance programs, the National Drought Mitigation
relief occurs primarily under a di- however, encourage drought man- Center and the International
verse, complex, confusing, and agement to remain in a reactive, Drought Information Center and a
poorly coordinated ensemble of crisis-management mode. It is not professor in the School of Natural
federal programs. It is reactive and yet apparent whether federal and Resource Sciences at the University
does little to lessen the risks asso- state policymakers clearly under- of Nebraska, in Lincoln.
ciated with future droughts. It is stand the scope of the changes that
becoming increasingly clear that will be required to invoke the new
current land and water-supply paradigm of risk management.
management practices are not sus- When drought occurs, especially 1. Federal Emergency Management Agency,
tainable in the long term, espe- in election years, drought relief is National Mitigation Strategy (Washington,
cially given the variability of cli- one method that members of Con- DC: FEMA, 1995), p. 2.
mate and the increasing demand gress use to send money home to 2. Donald A. Wilhite and William E.
on natural resources. their constituents. Easterling, eds., Planning for Drought: Toward
Although state and federal at- The true test of whether we are a Reduction of Societal Vulnerability (Boulder,
tention to improving drought making progress will be if Congress CO: Westview Press, 1987), pp. 533-565.
management in the United States and the administration enthusias- 3. National Drought Policy Act of 1998, 105
has been copious in recent years, tically embrace the recommenda- U.S.C. § 105-199 (1998).
including the National Drought tions of the National Drought 4. National Drought Policy Commission,
Policy Act of 1998, little change Policy Commission and other Preparing for Drought in the 21st Century
in practice is visible to date, espe- groups, provide adequate funding (Washington, DC: NDPC, 2000), p. 48.
cially at the federal level. Federal to support commission goals and 5. Donald A. Wilhite, ed., Drought: A
response to drought conditions in recommendations, and direct fed- Global Assessment (London, UK: Routledge
1999 and 2000 was reactive and eral agencies to modify existing Publishers, 2000), vol. 1-2, p. 700.
short-term in scope—in other policies and programs to empha- 6. Bruce O’Meagher, M. Stafford Smith, and
words, business as usual. To fill the size mitigation and preparedness. David H. White, “Approaches to Integrated
vacuum, states have continued to If they do, they will shift funding Drought Risk Management: Australia’s National
be the most progressive actors in from crisis to risk management and Drought Policy,” in Wilhite, Drought: A Global
drought management, a trend implement the new paradigm. Assessment, pp 114-128.
that began in the early to mid- Only time will determine the 7. Donald A. Wilhite, “State Actions to
1980s. Regardless of progress by dedication of the nation to this Mitigate Drought: Lessons Learned,” Journal
states, improved drought manage- new approach to drought manage- of the American Water Resources Association
ment requires an integrated ap- ment. A continuation of wide- 33(5) (1997), pp. 961-968.
proach between and within levels spread, severe drought in the next 8. Donald A. Wilhite, “Planning for Drought:
of government. few years would certainly engen- Moving from Crisis to Risk Management,”
True, federal agencies are now der greater support for this new Journal of the American Water Resources
speaking the new language of paradigm and help us continue Association 36(4) (2000), pp. 697-710.
drought management, and phrases down the path to risk manage- 9. Western Governors’ Policy Office,
like “improved coordination and ment. The political will to change Managing Resource Scarcity: Lessons from the
cooperation,” “increased emphasis the way we manage drought ap- Mid-seventies Drought (Denver, CO: Institute
on mitigation and preparedness,” pears to be genuine but may for Policy Research, 1978), p. 78; General
and “building nonfederal/federal evaporate quickly if we experience Accounting Office, Federal Responses to the
Spring 2001 s 27
1976-77 Drought: What Should Be Done Next; 1991), p. 39; J.B. Smith and D. Tirpak, eds., Force Findings (Washington, DC: FEMA, 1996),
(Washington, DC: GAO, 1979), p. 29; National The Potential Effects of Global Climate Change p. 31; Western Water Policy Review Advisory
Academy of Sciences, The National Climate on the United States, EPA-230-05-89-050 Commission, Water in the West: Challenge for
Program: Early Achievements and Future (Washington, DC: EPA, 1989), p. 411; the Next Century (Washington, DC: National
Directions (Washington, DC: NAS, 1986), American Meteorological Society, AMS Technical Information Service, 1998), pp. 5-10.
p. 55; Great Lakes Commission, A Guidebook Statement on Meteorological Drought (Boston, 10. Western Water Policy Review Act of
to Drought Management and Water Level MA: AMS, 1997), pp. 847-849; U.S. Congress, 1992, 102 U.S.C. § 102-575 (1992).
Change in the Great Lakes (Ann Arbor, MI: Office of Technology Assessment, Preparing 11. Donald A. Wilhite, Improving Drought
Great Lakes Commission, 1990), p. 61; Inter- for an Uncertain Climate , OTA-0-567 (Wash- Management in the West (Washington, DC:
state Council on Water Policy, Statement of ington, DC: OTA, 1993), v. 1, pp. 250-257; National Technical Information Service,
Policy 1991-92 (Washington, DC: ICWP, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 1997), p. 46.
Drought of 1996: Multi-State Drought Task
28 s FORUM for Applied Research and Public Policy